December 6, 2016 § Leave a comment
Beyond the edges of the map: The ghost city of Ordos Kangbashi – Christina Lee, Senior Lecturer, Curtin University
The ghost city phenomenon in China first came to international attention in 2009 in an Al Jazeera report. A combination of different factors, including the ways in which state planning works and the global financial crisis, led to Ordos Kangbashi being ‘stillborn’ as a city. The international reporting on Ordos Kangbashi and other ‘ghost cities’, however, frequently fetishised these cities, with reporters and academics visiting them during the earlier phases of their construction and ignoring the people who actually live there. Lee talked about exploring Ordos Kangbashi, seeing people – and signs of people – who lived there, and were perhaps experiencing a very different temporality.
Attending to Spectral Traces and Wounded Places – Karen E. Till, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Maynooth University, Ireland, with Gerry Kearns
Till’s work looks at ANU Productions‘ performance Laundry (2011), linked to one of the Magdalene Laundry sites. Women used to do sex work in the area, but moral crusaders and police undermined their attempts to survive this way, and many sex workers ended up in Magdalene Laundries. These laundries drew not only philanthropic donations, but also the unpaid labour of the inmates. The performance drew participants into women’s experiences of the site, including the humiliation, gruelling work, legal confinement, forced removal of babies, and loss of identity. It made visible the physical and psychological torture that women experienced, asking participants to remember Ireland’s haunted past. This production, and others that make the histories of particular places visible, help us come to terms with the need to recognise and mourn suffering that was previously deemed unmentionable.
Sea Passages: Between trauma, reparation and recognition – Susannah Radstone, Professor of Cultural Theory, University of South Australia
Radstone discusses Alex Seton’s work at the 2014 Adelaide Biennial, someone died trying to have a life like mine, which consists of a series of lifejackets sculpted in white marble. This work opens up complex questions about how we witness trauma, and what that witnessing might achieve. Seton argues that the title of his work tries to create a bridge of empathy between the viewer and those who experience trauma. But drawing on Suvendi Perrera’s work, Radstone asks whether Seton’s piece does actually bind viewers together with asylum seekers, or whether it allows for a distancing and mastery over a tragedy only viewed from a distance. Radstone explores Seton’s work in the context of histories of art and media coverage – as well as processes of reparative healing – around shipwrecks and trauma.
September 20, 2012 § 1 Comment
I’ve been thinking about ‘space’ for a long time. But usually I’ve come at it indirectly, though some other kind of engagement. The battles over globalisation, the politics of polace, the question of regional inequality, the engagements with ‘nature’ as I walk the hills, the complexities of cities. Picking away at things that don’t seem quite right. Losing political arguments because the terms don’t fit what it is you’re struggling to say. Finding myself in quandaries of apparently contradictory feelings. it is through these persistent ruminations—that sometimes don’t go anywhere and then sometimes do—that I have become convinced both that the implicit assumptions we make about space are important and that, maybe, it could be productive to think about space differently. – Doreen Massey, for space, Sage publications, London, p. 1.
I love this opening because it acknowledges that academic research and writing are slow and complex processes, tied to our politics, outcomes of many discussions that may never be directly cited, and fraught with emotion. Writing like this provides small hints as to how I can make my own writing better, and do more to develop my own voice in my research.