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Distancing and Foregrounding: Visual Art, Memory and Place

a presentation for the “Mapping Space(s): Memory, Place, Locality” Interdisciplinary Conference, Ustron, Poland, 2005. Organised by the Institute of British and American Culture and Literature, University of Silesia, Poland.

Paper published in: Vol.2, Cartographies of Culture: Memory, Space, Representation. Peter Lang Publishing, Frankfurt am Main: Germany, 2008.

“If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.”
Wendell Berry

What is the link between place and identity? And how do memory and place interact in the “sited-ness” of knowing who we are? Many scholars from many disciplines ponder these questions, as do contemporary artists who respond creatively in visual materials to issues of identity, to “grounded” and ungrounded cognisance, and especially as these are affected by memory.

I would like to begin by corralling the wild horses of many disciplines, and rather blithely attempt to saddle a few. Across the world many colleagues – academics and artists – share a concern for this question of locational identity, of being “inside and out” of individual experience, in understanding ways of knowing. If consciousness of ‘place’ is central to awareness and identity, it must occur through a series of complex interactions...

Download document Download full paper (Word file 23pp 124k)

Download document Download full paper
(Word file 23pp 124k)