Mapping Place / Troubling Space

Critical Writing
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2020
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Abstract (in English): 

This essay expands on writing, thinking, talking, and walking undertaken in collaboration with London-based writer Mary Paterson. Throughout our collaboration Mary has asked questions about place, migration, identity, and belonging. Questions that are mostly unanswerable. Questions that I’ve tried to answer anyway. Because speaking about the unspeakable with someone comes as a relief. Building on a series of keynotes presented 2018-2019, this essay is structured around keyframes, a term borrowed from animation. Echoing the timeline feature common to animation, audio, and video editing softwares, this essay is designed to be read in a long horizontal scroll.

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In Wanderlust: A History of Walking, Rebecca Solnit argues, “the walking body can be traced in the places it has made; paths, parks, and sidewalks are traces of the acting out of imagination and desire… Walking shares with making and working that crucial element of engagement of the body and the mind with the world, of knowing the world through the body and the body through the world (2000: 29). In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari famously implore: “Make a map, not a tracing” (2007: 12). They claim that “What distinguishes the map from the tracing is that [the map] is entirely oriented toward an experimentation in contact with the real” (12). But cannot a trace also be similarly engaged, as Solnit suggests, in “knowing the world through the body”? Krämer further troubles this distinction: “The map can only become an object of critical analysis when it is not at the same time deployed to facilitate movements in disorientating spaces” (2015: 191). In other words, once the map is no longer used for practical purposes, it appears as a trace.

Events referenced:

Title Datesort ascending Location
Transient Topographies - Space and Interface in Digital Literature and Art 20.04.2018
Moore Institute, National University of Ireland Galway
Ireland
IE
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J. R. Carpenter