Kathryn Yusoff

My interest in landscapes started with sculpture and the architecture traces of everything from animal trails to mountain cairns. I started university as a student in modern history and philosophy and decade later found a home in geography, via Antarctica.

The spinning kennel at the heart of this interdisciplinary shuffle has been an interest in the gritty deposits between mind and matter (aka Robert Smithson). Particularly, in my thesis and in my fieldwork, it has been the rub of grit; the exposure and cuts of landscape into bodies of flesh, words, photographic plates, practices, and mud that has directed my thinking. I found these exposures most stark in the Polar Regions, where my research was located, and where my own body had its fair share of searing light to contend with. Antarctica gave rise to a lot of questions about landscape and the multiple fields of destructions that places enact on language and things. My thesis was a response to those destructions and illuminations; a theory of light articulated across cultural, political, and aesthetic terrains. The theoretical interest in excess, or ‘moving towards the open’ that emerged through the thesis has led my thinking ever since, particularly around climate change and human-non-human meetings.

My most recent work has tried to rethink the interactions between human and physical geographies, within the context of abrupt climate change. Particularly, I am interested in how both science and visual culture observe and engage with dynamic shifts in the biophysical world. To that end, I am writing a book about the political aesthetics of climate change.

I was appointed as a Director of Landscape Research Group in 2009.


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