How do people think about the marks they make in the environment? Do they think about the deep future of places? How do people think about places in general? Is it possible to communicate the emotional experience of a place in a sensory encounter? What roles do empathy and ritual play in the communication of important topics in climate change and land use? Can the functional activities of geologic forces translate into new tools for mark making? How do emotions and perception shape our experience of the earth? How does a place evoke emotional responses?
To answer these questions, I produce work through a research-driven approach that re-frames the natural world as a tool for active engagement. I work to set up scenarios for viewers to engage with an object (sometimes it is their own body) or a system (like the supply chain) in ways that encourage an oscillation between participation and spectatorship. By participating, viewers think through an action in order to understand and respond to the work. Systematic documentation, contextualization, and deep engagement provide viewers new ways to experience the natural world.
RYAN DEWEY’s work is socially engaged and focused on illuminating the hidden costs of modern society to help people connect to nature in new ways. Alongside his personal environmental practice, DEWEY is founder and principal of Geologic Cognition Society (GeoCog.org), an experience design collaborative conducting research and creating site-specific experiences, workshops, and installations that push people’s buttons to get fresh emotional responses to the natural world. He is the author of the upcoming book Hack the Experience: Tools for Artists from Cognitive Science (LINK)(Punctum Books, in press), a book focused on helping artists manipulate the connection between spatial organization, sensory attention, emotions and social behavior. He has published in KERB, MONU, and Archinect on topics of urban design, landscape design, and spatial-emotional design. His installation work has shown at SPACES (Cleveland), the Cleveland MiniMaker Faire, and at living history festivals. His anthropocene-oriented work focuses on the movement of natural materials through supply chains and has presented in places including the American Association of Geographers, the British Society for Geomorphology, Edible Geography, the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, SPACES, and as a successfully funded project on Kickstarter.