scapelands

In order to have a feel for landscape you have to lose your feeling of place.

(J.F. Lyotard, from “Scapeland” 1989)

 

In his essay “Scapeland” (1989), Lyotard apprehends a sense of landscape as a kind of non-space which defies topography, history and geography. His is a bleak picture of a guarded, clandestine, unreal, uninhabitable space without destiny. For Lyotard a landscape is a violent, disruptive force; like a freeze frame of a camera it seizes time, interrupting the linear narrative and the order of place (1989: 216). It is impossible to describe with words – somehow they become cumbersome and heavy – which are powerless because the landscape has already worked on the mind, dissolving it, and has “made it vomit itself up towards the nothingness of being there” (1989: 20-21). […] I often feel that the act of taking a photograph is intrusive, almost aggressive […] The negation of place which is landscape is violent in its passivity. It is there, yet it arrests us, and denies us something at the same time.

[extract from an essay I wrote about in-between space in 2002]

 

scapelands8scapelands2 scapelands3 scapelands4 scapelands5scapelands11

 

 

© images and words Emily Hughes, 2014

 

 

In defense of daydreaming

We are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is nothing but an expression of poetry that was lost.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

 

in defense of daydreaming1

 shelter me from the storm

In defense of daydreaming2

lose me in the mists of time

Who gives a truer account of history? The poet, or the historian?

Thank you to Chris Bronsk and his excellent post repercussions for reminding me about and bringing me back to Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, which I have always read and savoured as an unreserved celebration of the pure joy of intimate poetic expression. The power of the poetic image is something which transcends history, time and even language. It is able to speak directly to our consciousness without the need for translation or interpretation. Through poetry, we can connect with our past, and with our imagination. Bachelard believed that “for a simple poetic image there is no project; a flicker of the soul is all that is needed.”

I have always been a fierce defender of daydreaming, and make time for it every day. I believe it is more than ‘escapism’; daydreaming makes us more open to the possibility of poetry – both receiving it and expressing it. It gives us the opportunity to indulge our dreams, create and practice the possibility of alternative realities; to reflect, be brave and honest with ourselves, and speak directly to our weary souls which are generally neglected, bruised and battered by the necessary drudgery of the day-to-day. Indeed, Bachelard has also been linked with the surrealist project which advocated the practice of (day)dreaming, or dislocation from reality, as a deliberate political act. Ultimately though, daydreaming (the ‘irrational’ primitive realm of dreams, poetry and imagination) provides us with a counterpoint to rational thought, and can actually help us to live happier, more fulfilled lives.

Let us then safeguard reverie, as our rich inner lives provide a vital antidote to reality, and I hope that today you are able to carve out a little chink in your busy schedule for daydreaming.

 

 

© images and content Emily Hughes, 2014

Interlude

I’m back! And so is the photograph. Following a brief interlude, it resumes its journey. Read about the Journey of a Photograph Project here…

Journeyofaphotograph

Interlude final

‘Interlude’

The Journey final

‘The Journey’

The intimate is not a space but a relationship between spaces.

– Beatriz Colomina

I was forced, recently, to take a break from blogging. Not really by choice, but because life burst forth in a relentless tidal wave of busyness (as it does every year at the same time), and something had to give. However, I have been continuing to make pictures, and the past few months has been a process of consolidation and gathering together of things which I have been thinking about and working on for a long time, years even. I have not made any ‘new’ pictures as such; it is the nature of photography that you can be extremely prolific when you are clicking a button (that’s the easy part), yet it’s the editing that take the time; the drawing together the threads of the narrative and the sifting through the rubble to seek out those lustrous gems. It has been more a process of looking back, reflecting, and…

View original post 950 more words

Dissolution

In a mess - medium

© images and content Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2013

The thread

3-P1120152 2-P11201461-P1120138 She worried at her memory, tugging gently at soft silken skeins tightly bound by neglect and smudged by time. She smoothed them apart, just as she smoothed out her lines every evening at the bathroom mirror with the pads of her fingertips. They always came back, those little rivers, carving out a pale etching of her life. Each laugh, each frown, each smile. The same every time. The tears when they come remember the tracks easily enough.

She smoothed the delicate threads apart, combed them carefully and set about the meticulous task of unraveling the tangled fictions of forgotten pasts. They were slippery, but surprisingly weighty, draping heavily through her long thin still nimble fingers like an expensive chiffon. But they lay limp and heavy in paper-frail arms. She laid them out flat, those strands, so fine like spaghetti, or perhaps the hair of an angel. Tricky not to let the straight, perfect lines snarl up. She stepped back to admire her work, but it all looked a little lost and flat, somehow still unfamiliar to her.

So she went back to the very beginning, lightly brushing her fingers, now warming to their task, down the length of each tiny fibre, like a blind person tracing braille dots, until she slowly found the thread. And then she was lost, on a journey, but this time to a place she had known; a place she had been to before, and she felt sure she would be able to find her way back. She didn’t stop until she finished, at the very end.

© images and content Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2013

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: