četvrtak, 29. ožujka 2012.

Još jedni "studiji" - place studies

Interdisciplinarni miks filozofije, geografije, arhitekture, urbanizma i ekologijskih studija. Kao uvod, evo ulomka iz intervjua s veličanstvenim Dylanom Triggom:

"One of your areas of research interest is the phenomenology of place. In fact, your most recent book is entitled Memory of Place: a Phenomenology of the Uncanny, which has been characterized as a “lively and original intervention into contemporary debates within ‘place studies,’ an interdisciplinary field at the intersection of philosophy, geography, architecture, urban design, and environmental studies.” I was hoping you could give us a sneak peek of your book. In a nutshell, What is the place of memory in Memory of Place?

There are three places of memory I describe in the book. The first is the episodic memories of places that we have from our past. These are the memories we become attached, either though positive or negative experiences. They are the places, in which memorable events occur, and in the process transform the place in question from the background context of our memories to the formative focus of those memories. Typically, one thinks of such places as any place we have developed a relationship with, such that the place becomes a part of our sense of self. The philosophical question surrounding these memories concerns to what extent the memories of places we’ve inhabited contributes to our sense of self. In the book, I argue that the memory of place is a privileged memory, as it allows a heightened interplay between the bodily self and the material world. Put another way, the memory of place attests to our bodily entwinement with materiality. In this way, it presents a critique to the Lockean idea that personal identity is secured by the continuity of an immaterial memory. So, spatiality is not an extension of memory, less even a mnemonic to cue specific memories. I am not, for instance, concerned with how particular places nudge dormant memories into consciousness, as though memory occupied an incidental relationship to the environment. Rather, what concerns me is the necessary relationship between memory and materiality, and how this relationship can pose a source of alienation as well as a source of continuity to the remembering subject.
The second place of memory refers less to the individual experience of places from one’s past, and more to construction of memories through the natural and built environment. Here, my concern is with monuments sites of trauma, and ruins that portend to events outside the memory of the living subject. This transition from the memory of place to the place of memory mirrors a shift from a phenomenological focus on lived experience to a hermeneutic analysis of the environment. So, for example, in my discussion of monumentality and space, the key question is how can a material artefact stand aside from the surrounding world, embody a commemorative silence, and stop us in our tracks? This is a complex process, which carries with the ethical responsibility of how materiality ought to respond to the past. And there are no clear responses here, as any monument has to negotiate between the obligations of the past and the uncertainties of the future.
The final, and perhaps most important, place of memory is the human body. The body’s memory place is implicated in both forms of memories above, but it is also independent from these. This phrase “body memory” needs to be clarified, as it can refer to many things. The way that I use it in the book is less in the manner of Proustean recollection, as an invitation to lost time (though, of course, these memories are vitally important to our understanding of the embodiment of the past). It refers even less to a mechanical retrieval of applied motor memories, such as being able to hold a pen. Instead, the phrase refers to the relation between how we cognitively recall the past and the way in which our bodies act as anonymous organisms for manifesting a history different to that cognitive impression of the past. This emphasis on “difference” is because body memory carries with it a fundamental ambiguity: the body’s memory of places belongs to us as personal subjects and simultaneously can remain at odds with our personal recollection of the past. Obviously one clear way in which the body can manifest a past different to the past we’ve ordinarily remembered is in cases of traumatic recollection. Traumatic memory is one especially visceral way that the body can become a host for a living history that the traumatised subject is alienated from despite being constituted by that past.
But this sense of body memory as being the site of a different past is not limited to trauma. As I argue in the book, the role of body memory can help explain phenomenon such as hauntings. Both trauma and hauntings call upon the idea that the body has a hidden teleology that strives toward the preservation of self, even if that self is now a materialization of self-estrangement, now ill-at-home in its flesh. This principle is also evident in more innocuous environments such as airports, waiting rooms, and modern offices. This transition from sites of trauma to airports may seem flippant. But in fact one of the things I argue in this book is the following: the certain places can be so cognitively overwhelming or disorientating, that bodily intentionality takes a more focal role in guiding us through the world. Of course, thematically, there is a huge difference from being lost in an airport and being imprisoned in a solitary cell. Yet in both cases, the structure of bodily experience retains a parallel role. In turn, this can lead to a nullification of memory in our conscious lives. All along, the body is in the midst of establishing its own history of the world, which may return to us long after the place has receded from our waking lives.
All of this points to the importance of the uncanny in the book. As I mentioned above, phenomenology has a special relationship to the uncanny, insofar as returning to the things themselves can, in Merleau-Ponty’s words, encourage us to view the world, “as if viewed by a creature of another species.” In the book, I am interested in how this other species joins Freud’s account of the uncanny as involving a “species of the frightening.” This encounter of weird species is the backdrop against which my study of memory and materiality takes place. Memory fits especially well into this uncanny landscape, as it involves a twilight zone between presence and absence, past and present, and the familiarity of visual memory and the unfamiliarity of a memory anchored in the body’s cryptic experience of things.

What can you tell us about “place studies” as a contemporary field of inquiry? What can you say about its origins and antecedents?

Place studies is the field of inquiry that dedicates itself to the study of how we experience places, how places intersect in political life, and how places shapes our understanding of identity, individual and collective. My own work in this field has tended to veer toward the phenomenological study of place, even though I occupy a critical stance to some tendencies in the phenomenological tradition. The study of place, as it features in philosophy, tends to take its point of departure from Heidegger’s account of dwelling, Merleau-Ponty’s emphasis on bodily spatiality, and perhaps more critically, Gaston Bachelard’s important book, “The Poetics of Space.” Bachelard is especially crucial here for thematizing the role of place in our remembering lives. For him, the childhood home becomes a sort of ontological centre, around which much of our subsequent live revolves. This is because, for Bachelard, the memory of places is oneiric in nature: memories of childhood homes drift into our daydreams and imaginations, creating an overlapping duration in our history. Of course, there is much that is problematic in this idealization of childhood memories, and Bachelard remains mute in his treatment of the house as a site of hostile memories. Nevertheless, he has exerted a tremendous influence on philosophical studies of place. Both Bachelard and Heidegger are formative in influencing the discipline of human geography, which is closely aligned with phenomenological studies of place. So, in the 1970s and 1980s a steady output of research on place by pioneering thinkers such as David Seamon, Yi-Fu Tuan, and Edward Relph. These thinkers were among the first to explicitly employ a phenomenological background to our experience of the natural and urban environment. At the heart of much of this research is an ethical assumption about what constitutes a “sense of place.” As such, in its earliest stages, the phenomenological treatment of place tended to be slightly one-sided in its criticism of the “placelessness” of the urban environment, at times gesturing toward a vaguely Bachelardian nostalgia. Later on, thinkers such as Karsten Harries, Robert Mugerauer, and the architect Juhani Pallasmaa pushed these origins in a more diverse direction, while still retaining a broadly Heideggerian foundation. Today, the contemporary field of place studies is in a healthy state: thinkers such as Jeff Malpas, Ted Toadvine, and Doreen Massey are all pushing the field in exciting ways. For me, though, the most significant thinker for my own work is Edward Casey. Casey has written prolifically on place, remembering, and imagination. His books such as “Getting Back Into Place” and “The Fate of Place” are exemplary in their thematic richness, scholarly breadth, and attention to phenomenological detail. This last point was especially compelling for me when I first discovered his work as an undergraduate. It seems to me that one strength of phenomenology is the ability to remind us of things that we already know but have been overlooked through habit and over familiarity. Reading Casey was a breakthrough for me, as he work calls attention to the richness of everyday life with such clarity and precision that one has exactly this sense that his thinking is also an act of recollecting what we already know but were blind to." - Figure/Ground Communication

Triggova web stranica ovdje

Nema komentara:

Objavi komentar