Pervasive Media and Eudaimonia: Transdisciplinary Research by Practice
De Montfort University
As mobile technologies and prolific digital media saturate and intrude upon daily reality for many people, this research practice provides an alternative pathway in which creative engagement with pervasive media offers a holistic experience of oneself in relation to the people, place and technologies of our time. This thesis introduces the concept of eudaimonia as creative well-being, in relation to pervasive media. The dual meaning of eudaimonia as an individual’s own right path of flourishing and as the good-daimon, muse or guardian who guides and inspires the action of walking such a path, highlights the tensions implicit in the work. Tensions that embrace user and author, inside and outside, urban and rural, movement and stillness – until a common ground of symmathesy occurs. Taking a transdisciplinary approach to this phenomenological enquiry, the work of community arts facilitation is brought into dialogue with Grove’s Clean toolkit, originally developed in the field of clinical psychology. The thesis is presented as a phenomenological text with online creative portfolio and appendices. Other artists’ works are described subjectively as part of the practice-based method. Research findings are presented in relation to themes of Space, Presence, Community and Iteration from which emerge the framework of creative practice and the researcher’s conceptual model of Anthroposensory Sculpture. Four public art projects were delivered with diverse communities, landscapes and foci of attention, from which a framework of creative practice is revealed that supports eudaimonic engagement with personal and collective, metaphoric and geographic landscape: Soundlines (2009-10, North Somerset, UK), Experimental Walks (2010-14, UK and Canada), Hunter Gatherer (2010-11, Yorkshire Dales, UK), Living Voices (2011-13 Wiltshire, UK). Through the Experimental Walks project, a Colour Grid methodology developed, that invites sensory noticing and notation, subsequently produced as iPhone app Hunter Gatherer (2011). This research which will be of value to researchers and practitioners seeking to understand engagement of people with place, media and technology. Pioneering in its use of Clean as an arts methodology, this research adds to a growing interest in Clean methodology for research. The thesis contributes to ongoing debates about how to build a more caring society in which each individual can flourish; as such it will be of interest to others exploring the multiple dimensions of well-being and the use of emergent platforms for digital media and art.