sublime laura hopes

Laura Hopes

Bearing the Sublime - what purpose can the sublime serve in the age of the anthropocene? (Plymouth University) 2017 -

My artistic practice generates physical, intuitive and often collaborative layered and multi-faceted explorations of place. Through performative explorations of sites, chosen for their potential representation of the ‘industrial sublime’ and activations of their history, you and I, as activator, audience or observer can come to a more intimate and embodied knowledge of place.


If traditional century readings and aesthetics of the sublime appeal to western mankind’s desire to feel small or insignificant, or powerful and contemplative, they still place mankind at a distance: separate from the immense indifference of nature, at the mercy of this vengeful force, or removed from the quotidian grime of industry, above it all. In this reading, the sublime indicates a quasi-colonial landscape redolent of Conrad’s Heart of darkness or a landscape to be subjugated.


If, however, we locate the sublime within expanding notions of the Anthropocene (including the Capital-ocene, Plantation-ocene or the Anthrobscene); within this post-human milieu we see that any recognition of a sublime moment must also reckon with the entanglement of humans with other species, technology and the environment.


I am interested in radical and provocative re-interpretations of place and the use of stories to generate playful interventions that illuminate terrifying themes. I contest liminal spaces between proximity and distance, observation and inhabitation. I explore, activate and focus not on a politely distanced spectatorship of the sublime, but on my blinded, immersed experience of the world as hyperobject. I aim to demonstrate that the vulnerability and precarity engendered by this experience can generate a powerful embodied knowledge of the post-human condition.


Supervision Team: Dr Geoff Cox (Director of Studies), Dr Thomas Baugh, Heidi Morstang