Between here and elsewhere: relating to place

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Positioning local and global transactions

Presentation Title:

  • Between here and elsewhere: relating to place

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • Abstract

    Writing this text I am located at the precise geographic co-ordinates of:
    51° 30’ 46” N x 0° 04’ 15” W

    Reading this text now you must be ‘somewhere’, be it in your office, home, train, bus, plane, tube. Whilst some texts, like tourist guide-books for instance, are written to be read when actively visiting specific places, their purpose being to inform, and guide us as we are visiting these places: the context and purpose of this particular text, it’s physicality as an object, personal circumstances, and social protocol, delimit where it might be read. Whilst Joshua Meyrowitz (2004) writes that we are ‘always in place…[with our bodies] dependent on the nature of the specific locality…[and] bound by the laws of space and time,’ the abstract numerical co-ordinates of my physical geographic location available through global positioning devices, online street maps, and satellite navigation systems for example, do not relay to you
    anything about my immediate physical surroundings that might give you a sense of my ‘place’. Location, as Tim Cresswell (2004) explains, is a site without meaning, however if I tell you that as I write this I am in a flat in Aldgate, east London, surrounded by such objects as a 1960s hoop game-board hanging on the wall, a rustic Portuguese vase, a black and white photograph of my father standing outside the shop, ‘immediately many images come into our heads … as replacing a set of numbers with a name means that we begin to approach ‘place’.’ (Cresswell 2004: 2) With all that these culturally constructed signs imply, our imaginations begin to construct an image, a representation of absence to presence through which we begin to understand, for place, according to Cresswell, is a way of ‘seeing, knowing and
    understanding the world.’ (Cresswell 2004: 11)

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