FIELDWORKING | Pause

Posted on 02/11/2013

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I am wondering if this week has been a watershed week. I am not entirely sure. There’s been some incremental movement towards projects I’ve been trying to move forward for far too long.

Particularly Fieldworking. I am enjoying the documentation roughly collated as blog posts of the three walks and the slow shaping of the project. However, another walk is suggested by this – and that would be a walk in the airports through which I passed on my journeying to Hobart and Christchurch. Incidentally, while poking through an op shop yesterday, John found a secondhand copy of Aerotropolis, providing more fodder for this curiosity about airports. Walking around airports, unlike walking around cities and suburbs, tends to be a hermetic and disorientating experience geared towards consumption and dislocation rather than engagement with place. The inclusion of artworks in these space tend to feed the symbolic capital of urban status as non-place rather than the sense of place.

So I might have to retrace some of my footsteps – at least to the Brisbane airport – to consider the field of that architecture, recognising some of my initial musings, drawing on Francesco Careri, about the relationship between the path, the passage and the field. Reviewing my fieldnotes, I recall there had been some initial comments and photographs about the public art in the Brisbane domestic terminal. This makes me realise something about my fieldwork – that perhaps I am not very consistent and perhaps I have a preference for retracing – as reconnaissance rather than immersive and in the moment. Retracing is enjoyable as one tracks through the recollection, searching for marks and traces, and considering the wearing of a pathway into the ground, knowing and memory.

And as I work through my fieldnotes and other documentation, it’s all about retracing and the knowledge of having been here before …

And then there have been other moments this week. Some small hopeful bubbles in my search for employment were burst too – it’s been a demoralising and lonely year of searching for work, lurching and jerking in entanglements – while other small movements towards new projects have slowly and momentarily shifted. Small ideas have emerged from the sparkling conversations with colleagues and these may fold into the Enabling Suburbs initiative. And even that has a feeling of retracing and the knowledge of having been here before … Reflecting on this passage, this field and this path, I consider the unbearable possibility and overwhelming sadness of moving on and leaving behind*, and fall into the false security of repeatedly telling myself that this uncertainty and this fear will pass. Or, perhaps in keeping with the ethos of Deleuzian flow, it will unfold, enfold and refold as a nomadic undoing.

* Leaving behind is the starting point of the Long Time, No See? walk. And the strangeness is that while this ‘leaving behind’ calls for a marking and a crossing of thresholds, it never seems to go anywhere …

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Posted in: fieldworking