Ecology of the Imagination was a project initiated and perfromed by Vena Nascręcka and Mieke Vanmechelen in collaboration with CCAE student Max De Meester and other CCAE participants and invited guests. The project took place at CCAD Sullivan’s Quay campus during November 2014. The performance lasted four hours and a had a number of participants of all ages. The objective of this collaborative piece was to allow the artwork itself to become a performed pedagogy, a participatory mode of creation, interacting both in the physical costruction and through performance in the psychological experience of a ‘space’. The artists engaged in a participatory performace as part of the project.
The title came from a book by Edith Cobb called “The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood”. According to Cobb, sensory and perceptual processes which occur during childhood are repsonsible for the neural network of human intuition. It is during the childhood years that the foundations for later psychic states and well-being are laid. The artwork was an attempt to reconnect with the childhhood desire of making a fort, den or hut, a fanatsy place where one feels safe and protected from the outside world. According to E. O. Wilson, American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author considers the quest to construct secret space a “fundamental trait of human nature”… “of ultimate value to survival” and a primal urge which has been almost forgotten (Sobel, D. Children’s Special Places: Exploring the Role of Forts, Dens, and Bush Houses in Middle Childhood, viii).