Visiting lecturer Anne Marie Cullhane, makes work about ecological identity, and the relationship between humans and nature, and defines herself as an artist who does not stick to any one practice. Her work establishes a connection with the natural world, she is interested in making a change and deems re-educating those around her, her responsibility.
One of her responses to this was a performative piece called ‘Field Sensing‘, which for Cullhane is a way of rooting herself in a location and finding herself. This process involves slow movement, and through this she can be aware of sensations outside herself and becomes hyper-aware of the environment around her.
Fig 1. Field Sensing, Ten Men Moor, Bodmin
Her work ‘Fragile‘ was the first piece which made a direct link to the changes in nature over a period of time. A different piece of work was made every month, in a UK park. Each response made, directly connected to the happenings at that time of year/situation. With this project Cullhane was interested in how different people experience the same environment and how these experiences coexist.
Cullhane was commissioned to take part in the work of a theatre company called Caerdroia, the theatre company had made a labyrinth and wanted Cullhane to make a piece for within it, however she found that the community were not being involved, so for her contribution, decided to involve them, making a large-scale work out of lichen this was one of the first times, she had created a community project.
Anne Marie Cullhane also takes part in creative activism, these works usually rely on an instinctive response. One such example was the creation of corn dollies inspired by harvest tradition folklore, in response to genetically modified crops. A collective group of artists made headdresses and gave politicians aforementioned corn dollies.
Fig 2. Corn Dollies, Headdress, (2006)
Highly interested in our relationship with food, Cullhane believes that:
‘The most basic form of activism is around food, the most political thing you can do is eat, because what you put in to your body says so much.’ (Cullhane, A, 2013)
One of Cullhane’s own artistic inspirations is an American collective called ‘Critical Art Ensemble’. They embraced the idea of genetic modification and were interested in how this was affecting our food systems. Their response to this was to set up a biological unit, where members of the public could bring in food items and have them tested for genetic modifications. Since this experiment, the leader of the group has been charged with bio-terrorism, something Cullhane finds both fascinating and terrifying.
Cullhanes next work was entitled ‘abundance’, which was born in Sheffield but has since become a national project. It posed the question, ‘what would happen if all the waste fruit in the urban landscape was foraged?’ Once the fruit was collected, it was then dispensed to local nurseries and homeless shelters. The project is now in its sixth year with over 150 volunteers and has changed the way in which Cullhane perceives the urban landscape. It has also resulted in a collaboration with encounters art, together they created the encounters abundance shop. Members of the public could take what they wished in exchange for memories, or stories, or even information of where else they could harvest. Cullhane become increasingly interested in the idea of alternate currency, as it was found that people were not confident simply taking, there had to be some sort of exchange.
Fig 3. Abundance
Anne-Marie Cullhane’s current project is in conjunction with Grow Efford, and is entitled ‘Shed on Wheels’ which stands as a platform of the principles of the Efford project. Its aims are to become a place of creative exchange, teaching others to engage with green spaces. The project started last June, and is still currently on going.
Fig 4. Shed on Wheels
- Fig 1. Cullhane, A. (n.d.) Field Sensing, Ten Men Moor, Bodmin. [image online] Available at: http://www.amculhane.co.uk/images/bodminsens.jpg [Accessed: 28/04/2013]
- Fig 2. Cullhane, A. (2006) Corn Dollies, Headdress. [image online] Available at: http://www.amculhane.co.uk/pages/performpage/data/images/corndoll.jpg [Accessed: 28/04/2013].
- Fig 3. Cullhane, A. (2007) Abundance. [image online] Available at: http://www.amculhane.co.uk/pages/data/images/fruithousetm2.jpg [Accessed: 28/04/2013].
- Fig 4. Cullhane, A. (2013) Shed on Wheels. [image online] Available at: http://www.amculhane.co.uk/pages/data/images/barne2pp.jpg [Accessed: 28/04/2013].