Amy Thorton

Amy Thorton

My research area is art and design for public health.

Through built investigations, illustration, photography, video, movement practices, narrative, the full-sensory experience of rural farming, community gatherings, and back country explorations, I explore the root cause for accelerating anthropogenic environmental destruction and human chronic disease: disconnection, divide, and lack of care.

I believe in order to address this challenge for human and planetary health and human to human reconnection, we must radically alter our methods of learning and communicating. I call on designers, artists, scientists, and the academy to eschew sensory-limiting, isolating, disembodied, sedentary, screen-based, occularcentric practices and employ full-sensory, embodied, and experiential modes of understanding, communication, and synthesizing. I believe that research and the communication of that research must also be experiential, full sensory, and embodied in order to grapple with the complex challenges with which we are faced. My work, therefore, explodes the confines of text and the occularcentric to include a multi-sensory, place-and-body based approach.

I am interested in empirical (or field study) design research and analysis. Implementing design and art installations which aim to inspire reconnections, I subsequently observe, document, collect informal, qualitative, and multi-sensory “data”, and communicate the outcomes through full-sensory experiential production which strives to provoke and engage the experiencer’s senses. Supporting this work, I deploy theoretical research based on intersectional feminism, indigenous knowledges, knowledge held by multi-species beings, and a canon (bibliography) of female and intersectional theorists.

My hope is to inspire and encourage reconnections to body, to natural environment, and to each other. My work is situated in the rural environment including its human and other-than-human community which has been largely neglected by academia and contemporary art. I enjoy trashing the anthropocentric concept of trans-urbanism and replacing it with trans-wilderness or trans-ruralism. Gastrointestinal microbes are from where?