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The Severn Crossings: displacement and parallaxes of memory, self and landscape around the Servern Estuary

Jones, O (2009) The Severn Crossings: displacement and parallaxes of memory, self and landscape around the Servern Estuary. In: Living Landscapes Conference, 18-21 June 2009, Aberystwyth University, Wales.

Abstract

I have long struggled with the challenges of ‘representing’ personal entanglements of self, memory and landscape in the context of the Severn Estuary around which I have lived/worked and moved since I was born. Landscapes are at once imaginative and material entities, but if the self is fully inserted into the picture – or performance – (as it has to be in one way or another), then the complexities/entanglements, the unrepresentionalness, expand(s) exponentially. Here I seek to tease out critical filaments of these entanglements in this case. Firstly I consider memory and the extent to which time-space coordinates of self-in-landscape render a deep, hard to read, always-being- rewritten, time-space map. Thrift (2008) citing Gell, sees ‘people as rather ill-defined constellations [ ] which “are not confined to particular spatio-temporal coordinates, but consist of a spread of biographical events and memories of events, and a dispersed category of material objects, traces, and leavings which can be attributed to a person”’. I am particularly interested in the parallax of memory, where more distant objects/events seem to be in relatively fixed, slow moving relationships to the ‘viewer’, while the rushing foreground of passing, more recent events slide in between. Secondly I consider the extended materiality of landscape - how it extends into other spatially distributed materiality (e.g. photographs/books/maps/videos) and how this intersects with memory. Thirdly I have thus far skirted around questions of loss and displacement, but they are central to this narrative of self-in-landscape (and of course to many others too). I address non-representation and performance as a means of ‘knowing’ these processes in what Heddon calls ‘autotopography’. A glance at a map of the Severn Estuary will show two huge road bridges which gather (as in Heidegger) the surrounding landscape. These are used as autotopographical motifs to gather this story of a lived/living landscape

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 26 May 2015 11:06
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 13:29
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/6187
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