Image: Iain Biggs @?http://www.iainbiggs.co.uk/projects/
One themes that seems to have come up time and again in both my exploration of historical creative geographies, as well as?contemporary creative geographies, has been drawing.
Drawing was one of the chosen mediums of one my favourite geography-art collaborations?Fashioning Diaspora Space, an AHRC funded project based at RHUL and the V&A Museum. As part of this project artist?Helen Scalway?joined forces with a series of geographers, including Phil Crang and Felix Driver, continuing the exploration she started in her paper a “patois of pattern”. ?Felix has also written on the history of drawing in a number of different places.
As well as exploring the power of mark making as a process for exploring place, as part of the collaborative project?Insites: An Artists Book??with Annie Lovejoy, I also wrote a catalogue essay for the PLaCE exhibition?“Drawing, Permanence and Place”.??This essay explored the relationships between mark-making and place-making, reflecting on how the series of artists in the exhibition used a variety of techniques to make marks, the process and results of which were part of the practitioner’s ways of getting to know, as well as creating as i describe in the essay extract below, “timings, spacings and wordings”.
Making and Marking: A Geographical Imaginary
In 1874 Thomas Jefferson stood over a map of the US and seizing a pencil and sketching in the lines of some 14 rectangles he brought into being the states of the ?North West Ordinance?. This was a creative-geopolitical performance extraordinaire, a demarcatation of territory and a circumscribing of space willed by the plays of powerful men. Such is the power of drawing.?? The works collected together in this exhibition strike an altogether different register of relations between these ideas of marking, making and place.? But yet, Jefferson?s actions have value here, for they direct us toward a set of ontological questions around the status of these ?drawn? entities, and, the materialities and practices – the taking of pencil (or other implement) in hand and making of a mark- that led to their production.
What propagates from this literal drawing of things in geographical space, is the drawing?out?of a particular geographical imaginary, in which making and marking, as material practices, bisect our understandings of space and place.? And, as I want to explore in this essay, the productive force of such creative practices can be understood to lie less in interpreting them as mimetic renderings of a ?real?, the drawing-up of location say, but rather in a recognition of these practices of making and marking as constitutive of place, as themselves creative of spacings, timings and worldings.
The four meditations on making which follow, fashioned as a response to the richness of the works and texts in?Drawing, Permanence and Place, think through the connections posed between making, marking and place, and do so with the intent to explore the geographical imaginary that precipitates from these works.? This is, I think, a geographical imaginary that is very different in spirit and feel from the transcendental global logics, the god?s-eye trick, of Jefferson?s territorial demarcations. Rather, the works in the exhibition share a marking that is a texturing of place, a feeling-out, a playing through and a turning over, via material practice, of the affective materialities and temporalities of our intensive localized environments.
E-mail me if you want a copy of the whole essay