Exploring Place

Place- The First of All Things by Tacita Dean and Jeremy Millar is a complex piece. It has given me some broader ideas of what place can mean and how it can be interpreted through art. I like the notion that a place is something that develops as a result of familiarity with the space it occupies. It is also fascinating to consider the history of landscape and our relationship to it, as I agree that this is subjective and without boundaries. We might speak of reaching a place of agreement, a place of harmony, or a dark place. None of these are geographical in the physical world but are very real within the inner landscape.

We might also consider our place in the world which could be a combination of physical  home, family, gender, ethnicity, status, security, career, economic and other factors.

A geographical place, for example a house,  or cave or  mountain might contain a sense of history, holding the memories of those who had touched the walls or walked along the ridges. The house that I live in is 300 years old and although it has been converted into flats, there is a sense of history within the walls, and a reminder of the lives of those gone before. The hills I can see from my windows are gentle and protective of the valleys. This may well be a projection of my own need for safety, and may well be subjective but when a place carries a sense of safety that affects an individual in this way, it is impossible to describe it  solely in words. I am not sure it can be described solely in visual art form either. This has been one of the useful aspects of this reading in that I have recognised the limitations of art in presenting place. How can we know what is invisible in a geographical place, or the history behind it or the future before it? How can we know what shapes the places of the mind and heart? How can we know the secrets that all places hold?


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