In 2015 I was involved in a project to explore what the particular value of drawing might be as an investigative practice, in relation to the Circus Street site of the University of Brighton. This area was earmarked for demolition and redevelopment, and making drawings on this site challenged me in ways I wasn’t originally anticipating.
This paper takes the experience of drawing within Circus Street as a starting point to explore the changing nature of place as a catalyst for lived experience. Working from a pragmatic - phenomenological perspective, I propose an alignment of artistic practice with meditation (mindful awareness), to ask how the act of drawing ‘… the state, or the being that is in question cannot be detached entirely from the sense of gesture, movement or becoming.’ (Nancy 2013). Through a discussion of a non-representational drawing practice, manual drawing activities and mindful awareness (counting the breath), I will argue that drawing as process enables an experiential and intimate engagement with the world as ‘grounded in availability and access’ enabling ‘presence’ (Noë 2012). One that allows us to experience the physicality of spaces and the living body body not as separate realities, but as entities that are thoroughly and deeply entwined, in which there is no separation of self, other and the environing world. Dwelling (being present) and touch (making present) are key factors in this, as a means of understanding experience of the embodied self in relation to artistic expression and resulting knowledge.