Meanders as Mobile Practice: Street Flowers – Urban Survivors of the Privileged Land

Collier, Michael Meanders as Mobile Practice: Street Flowers – Urban Survivors of the Privileged Land. In: Tourism and Leisure Mobilities Politics, work, and play. Contemporary Geographies of Leisure, Tourism and Mobility . Routledge, London, pp. 15-26. ISBN 9781138921054

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Abstract

In Meanders as Mobile Practice: Street Flowers – Urban Survivors of the Privileged Land, I explore the way in which we relate to our environment and its often contested histories through the simple action of taking a meander through an ‘edgeland’ urban site (Farley and Symmons, 2011) – a site local to me and the place where I work (Sunderland in the North East of England). It is my contention that the action of moving slowly (or meandering) through our surroundings affects the experience of that place in ways that are not immediately apparent. Meandering allows the walker to stop whenever and wherever they find something interesting to ‘explore’; and it allows them time to respond to the weather patterns and soundscapes of an environment. This creates an embodied experience which, when meandering in a group, seems to encourage the body and mind to co-respond by also wandering across a range of different areas of thought (Ingold, 2010). In my walking projects (for instance In Temperley’s Tread [2013], Walking Through the Sands of Time [2014] or Borderlands [2015]), these have included discussions around natural history, social history, politics and philosophy explored together in non-hierarchical and unstructured ways; ways which create new patterns. In this chapter I present a different form of artistic intervention but one which similarly develops and uses the notion of conversive wayfinding. I focus particularly on the natural history of a place. This choice is the result of my interest in flora and fauna which often have fascinating and complex stories to tell that signpost and/or transcend social and political histories. Taking such an approach in urban wastelands that once supported thriving industries may be seen by some as irrelevant and indulgent. However, I intend to confront this perception, demonstrating that such field-work is embedded within a working class culture (and not just the preserve of the leisured wealthy and middle classes), especially in the North of England – and to show why it is important to rescue this history. I will conclude this chapter by considering theories of Slow Living, making specific reference to the work of Parkins and Craig (2006). I will suggest that, taken together, meandering and field-work can create a space to consider living and experiencing the world we are accustomed to differently, creating within each of us a sense of embodied identity that can help us to negotiate the deterritorialization of culture (Parkins and Craig, 2006).

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Fine Art > Curating
Fine Art > Art History
Fine Art > Art in Context
Fine Art > Painting
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Depositing User: Mike Collier
Date Deposited: 16 May 2018 15:09
Last Modified: 16 May 2018 15:09
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/9410

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