Tag Archives: narrative

Susan Digby

_ objects can be mobilized to make a home in unfamiliar surroundings. p.170

_ Closely related to possession of souvenir objects are performances of place-making, specifically homemaking (Miller,2001) p.170

_ … mobile people use objects in performances that construct both home and away … p.170

_ I suggest that collections of salvaged-object souvenirs and their inscription constitute one such spatial practice of travel and that their collection, together with practices associated with them, serves to reproduce knowledges and constitute identities. p.171

_ Souvenirs are not generally objects of need but items gathered, signified or created in response to nostalgia for other and past places. (…) Through them, places and actions can be revisited. p.171

_ Susan Pearce comments that: “Objects hang before the eyes of imagination, continuously re-presenting ourselves to ourselves, and telling the stories of our lifes in ways which would be impossible otherwise”.(1992: 47). For Susan Stewart, souvenirs serve as a trace experience fulfilling “the insatiable demands of nostalgia” (1993:135) p.174

_ The word “salvage”, derives from the Latin, salver – to save, and the primary meaning is that associated with compensation for saving a ship or a cargo from the perils of the sea, or for lives and property rescued in a shipwreck. (…) In terms of souvenirs, as mentioned earlier, salvaged-object souvenirs are not officially sanctioned objects exchanged for money in a store dedicated to selling hegemonic memories of a place; rather they are salvaged encountered objects. (…) They are objects to which individual meanings are attached, often seemingly of the everyday, plucked from anonymity or destruction. Attached stories are those from previous lives as well as those newly made, such as the story of the find and acquisition”. p.175

_ Bassett Digby´s collection of salvaged-object souvenirs and the activities around it act in similar ways to the collection of quilting displays. The similarity lies in the precesses of memory recalling and reforming through telling stories linked to locations, many of which are distant in time and space. As with the quilt components, many of the meanings are not inherent in the objects; rather, meanings are invisible, attached only though stories. p.176

_ to an outside person, the contents of Bassett Digby´s tin would have appeared not as a “casket of magic” but as a tin containing the debris of living, “stuff”, without meaning or “junk”. However, I suggest that the tin (…) contains items that are constituent to Digby´s identity and provide a spatial mapping onto the landscapes of his travel. p.177

_ + – collecting as a search for revenue from a source other than his pen. p.178

_ Performances of telling enrich and rework stories associated with objects. (…) It is a double inscription of the objects. p.180

_ Stories connected to souvenir objects are not static; rather they are mobile and fluid. The interactive telling is a performative mapping during which alterations in and evolutions of the stories can be expected to occur. p.182

_ … the telling of stories associated with the objects was more important than the objects themselves … Thus objects act as containers for stories, they are “wild things” to which a variety of meanings can be attached. p.182

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some quotes

I. The city as story

_ ”Memory is redundant: it repeats signs so that the city can begin to exist ” (Calvino 1972)

_ When moving through a city we are surrounded by places which have stories to tell. (…) The city is in a constant state of transformation, of change, and its places and buildings reveal to us what it used to be and what it is about to become.

_ Wim Wenders describes how the identity of a place is primarily a feeling of belonging produced out of each person`s memories. The places “talk” to us when they manage to create a connection to our experiences and memories.

_ How can a place tell a story?

IV.The architect as reteller

_  Everyone who uses a space, changes its story a bit, every new building changes the story about the city a little. The city and its stories can never be completed, it is always retold and it keeps on changing with the narrators, the users, and with ongoing processes and forces outside its realm. The dynamic state of the city is a challenge for those who take on the task to tell the new stories about it. Thus, the role of the narrator is not necessarily to tell a finished story about a place, but to create conditions for the people who live in the city to develop new uses, leave new traces and signs and take part in telling the future stories of the city


some quotes

I. Reading the city

_ “there is no one narrative of a city, but many narratives construct cities in different ways highlighting some aspects and not others” (Bridge/Watson 2000). How we imagine the city will thus depend to a large extent on what our interest in the city is and what we want to know about it (King 2007).

_ the city as a collection of stories.

II. Maps and mapping

_ “Despite the common knowledge that the city is socially heterogeneous and an uneven space that is difficult to represent, it is often neutralized and reduced to a map” (Çinar/Bender 2007)

_ The map, and also the aerial photography, gives a description of the world as seen from above, and thus offers important knowledge about the dimensions, build-up and relationship between the city’s physical elements, such as streets, squares, parks, buildings etc. However, it does not capture the atmosphere of a place, and does not record the numerous stories which lie within the physical, tangible reality it describes.

III. Cognitive mapping and dérive

_ cognitive mapping

_ Dérives involve playful-constructive behaviour and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll.” (Debord 1958). Through recording his aimless, dream-like walking through the streets of Paris, Debord made a series of “psycho-geographical” maps reflecting subjective perceptions of the everyday condition of the urban fabric. The resulting map was hence a cognitive one, rather than a mimetic description of the city (Corner 1999). The situationists, through this preference for a cognitive approach rather than a positivistic one, were making an attempt to return the map to the everyday (Corner 1996).