palimpsest, memory, erasure

Bus Stop

"An object or place achieves concrete reality when our experience of it is total, that is, through all the senses as well as with the active and reflective mind. Long residence enables us to know a place intimately, yet its image may lack sharpness unless we can also see it from the outside and reflect upon our experience. Another place may lack the weight of reality because we know it only from the outside — through the eyes as tourists, and from reading about it in a guidebook. It is a characteristic of the symbol-making human species that its members can become passionately attached to places of enormous size, such as a nation-state, of which they can have only limited direct experience."
– Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience, p. 18.




2 responses to palimpsest, memory, erasure

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  1. e says:

    listening to those recordings again has done some good return and rewind/refreshing… Chris had mentioned Benedict Anderson at some point, whom I was not familiar with but went on to wiki-educate myself about… His book Imagined Communities seems to reference the exact affinities that Tuan speaks of so poetically. Sounds like something we both need to look more into regarding our researches…! I like this thought of how we gain space and place as the layering of perspectives of experience, sensation and subjectivity. Reality as an acquired taste?

  2. sportsbabel says:

    wasn't imagined communities one of the books i hurt my back lugging across the world? ;)

    a number of ideas present themselves from your comment:

    1. i wonder about the subtitle for massumi's book parables for the virtual, "movement, affect, sensation", which i read in a linear sense: a moving body produces affect (bordering on consciousness) which also emerges as multiple levels of sensuality (conscious).

    2. tuan sets up a dichotomy between space as freedom and place as security, which i find highly interesting, though perhaps somewhat contentious. this moving body passing through the admixed geographies of freedom and security resonates with much of what we have discussed.

    3. essentially, this idea of "gaining" space and place (love it) becomes to me a refining of sensual acuity, though this is paradoxical at the same time: my senses in beijing were extremely sharp at the time of arrival, but if i had stayed for another 12 months, they would likely diminish.

    4. "layering of perspectives": as reality unfolds from virtuality (cf. deleuze and guattari), are we suggesting here that it re-folds in the real of sensation (taste, acquired), differently for each individual subject, though constrained by the several and the multiple?