Mary Modeen link to contents map



Love from a Distance

Delivered to the Mapping Spectral Traces Symposium, Bristol
March 2011


In this paper I propose to discuss the nature of viewing from afar; of sight and knowledge as applied to the land that reveals several underlying assumptions. Seen from a panoramic distance, landscape can be framed with the emphasis on aesthetic selection. Beautiful land inspires our love.  I also propose to discuss views from closer perspectives.  What is to be gained from love up close? Boulders are covered with fascinating patterns of lichen viewed in detail. But within the land up close we can see rubbish and insect-eaten leaves. If we include historical information, we realize, for example, that the beautiful hill upon which we are standing has been the site of clearances and unmarked graves.  The horizon itself is a perceptual image that shifts as we shift, a result of our point of view, a mirroring outwardly of our stance on the ground. Perspective and point of view are critical.

And what’s love got to do with it? Love itself is carefully considered verb here, suggesting a parallel human interaction to this whole process of perception: embracing, holding, incorporating, resonating, caring for -- and equally, uncertainty, jealousy, rejection, resistance, and a taking for granted are all aspects of love. We love the land.

Far from badgering my valued colleagues in this emerging research network, I propose to ask a series of questions that will lead us to greater clarity of purpose. How can we combine the richness of recovering the spectral traces from the past which have a bearing upon the present, and use this model for projecting how our tracks lead into the future? How can our combined actions be distinctive, collective and meaningful?

Mary Modeen
Blairgowrie, Scotland
Feb. 2011


Download document Download full paper (Word file 6pp 41k)

Download document Download full paper
(Word file 6pp 41k)