Birds eye view only offers a very rough view of what a place actually is, just as a social media account offers a very inaccurate view of the person.
Geography, materialism and the production of space
In the philosophical tradition, materialism is the simple idea that the world is made out of “stuff,” and that moreover, the world is only made out of “stuff.” All phenomena, then, from atmospheric dynamics to Jackson Pollock paintings, arise out of the interactions of material in the world...Methodologically, materialism suggests an empirical (although not necessarily positivistic) approach to understanding the world. ...In the contemporary intellectual climate, a materialist approach takes relationality for granted, but an analytic approach that insists on “stuff” can be a powerful way of circumventing or tempering the quasi-solipsistic tendencies found in some strains of vulgar poststructuralism.
Solipsistic: of or characterized by solipsism, or the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.
Production of space the production of space says that humans create the world around them and that humans are, in turn, created by the world around them. In other words, the human condition is characterized by a feedback loop between human activity and our material surroundings. In this view, space is not a container for human activities to take place within, but is actively “produced” through human activity. The spaces humans produce, in turn, set powerful constraints upon subsequent activity.
<consequences of this - social environmental political cultural>
Cultural production...A geographic approach to art, however, would look quite different than most conventional art history and criticism. The difference in approach would arise from the ways in which various disciplines rely on different underlying conceptions of the world. ...To speak very generally, the conceptual framework organizing much art history and criticism is one of “reading culture,”... this model of art criticism must (again, in a broad sense) tacitly assume an ontology of “art” in order to have an intelligible starting point for a reading, critique, or discussion.... a good geographer might ask questions along the lines of “How is this space called ‘art’ produced?” In other words, what are the specific historical, economic, cultural, and discursive conjunctions that come together to form something called “art” and, moreover, to produce a space that we colloquially know as an “art world”? The geographic question is not “What is art?” but “How is art?” ...
The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature
If we accept Marx’s argument that a fundamental characteristic of human existence is “the production of material life itself” (that humans produce their own existence in dialectical relation to the rest of the world), and, following Lefebvre (and Marx) that production is a fundamentally spatial practice, then cultural production (like all production) is a spatial practice... the “space” of culture isn’t just Raymond Williams’s “structure of feeling”but, as my friends Ruth Wilson Gilmore and Clayton Rosati underline, an “infrastructure of feeling.”
Experimental geography means practices that take on the production of space in a self-reflexive way, practices that recognize that cultural production and the production of space cannot be separated from each another, and that cultural and intellectual production is a spatial practice.
one of modernism’s keywords, “experimental,”
Moreover, experimentation means production without guarantees, and producing new forms of space certainly comes without guarantees. Space is not deterministic, and the production of new spaces isn’t easy.
Walter Benjamin “The Author as Producer.” Benjamin...was identifying the relations of production that give rise to cultural work as a crucial political moment....Echoing Marx, he suggested that the task of transformative cultural production was to reconfigure the relations and apparatus of cultural production, to reinvent the “infrastructure” of feeling in ways designed to maximize human freedom. The actual “content” of the work was secondary.
The task of experimental geography, then, is to seize the opportunities that present themselves in the spatial practices of culture. To move beyond critical reflection, critique alone, and political “attitudes,” into the realm of practice. To experiment with creating new spaces, new ways of being.
Wilderness reminds us that our plans are small and sometimes absurd, and that our choices matter a great deal
"Beauty and grace are performed," says Annie Dillard, "whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there."
What I mean to say is I have come to depend on these places where I write. Dependent upon place; and the romanticized notion of nature as rejuvenator, the need to be away from technology, is this universal? No hominid agenda. I want mountians.
They hold my history, my passions and my capacity for honest work. I find I do my best thinking when I am looking out over a clean plank of planet Earth. Apparently I need this starting point — the world as it appeared before people bent it to their myriad plans—in order to begin dreaming up my own myriad, imaginary hominid agenda .
I write about things like liberty, equality and world peace, on an extremely domestic scale. I don't necessarily write about wilderness, in general, or the places I happen to love, in particular.
I only needed to be where I could think straight, remember, and properly invent. I needed the blessed emptiness of mind that comes from birdsong and dripping trees. I needed to sleep at night in a square box made of chestnut trees who died of natural causes.
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, writers will go to stupefying lengths to get the infernal roar of words out of their skulls and onto paper. But where does the need to create come from?
In the summer of 1996, human life on Earth made a subtle, uncelebrated passage from mostly rural to mostly urban. More that half of all humans now live in cities. The natural habitat of our species, then, officially, is steel, pavement, streetlights, architecture and enterprise—the hominid agenda.Do all these city dwellers enjoy this hominid agenda or, like me, crave the wild?
With all due respect for the wondrous ways people amuse themselves and one another on paved surfaces, I find this exodus from the land makes me unspeakably sad. I think of the children who will never know intuitively, that a flower is a plant's way of making love, or what silence sounds like or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
I wonder what it will mean for us to forget that food, like rain, is not a product but a process. I wonder how we will imagine the infinite when we have never seen how the stars fill a dark night sky.
People will need wild places...They need to experience a landscape that is timeless, whose agenda moves at the pace of speciation and ice ages...It reminds us that our plans are small and somewhat absurd. It reminds us why, in those cases in which our plans might influence many future generations, we ought to choose carefully.