The Landscape Gazes Back;

Authors: Rowan Jaines*, University of Sheffield
Topics: Cultural Geography, Geographic Thought, Social Theory
Keywords: Phenomenology, Psychoanalysis, Space, Aesthetics, Theory, Methodology, Lacan, Merleau Ponty, Topology, Material
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Ambassador Ballroom, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


I propose here that when you move deep into the phenomenological experience of the subject you find yourself in the realm psychoanalysis, and at the depths of psychoanalysis you find yourself in the bounds of phenomenology. The extimacy formed is referred to in this paper as the topological unconscious: a notion that hinges on the concepts of the gaze and reversibility. Vision and the gaze differ from geometric reproductions of lines between one point and another in space. The crux of vision lies, therefore, not in lines but in light, a point of luminosity from which reflections emerge. Although light travels in a straight line it is “refracted, diffused, it floods, it fills- the eye is a sort of bowl- it flows over too” (Lacan, 1998:94) and starts a chain of reactions through the perceiving body. Thus I suggest that phenomenology and Lacanian psychoanalysis form a topology where “the body sensed and the body sentient are the obverse and reverse…two segments of one circular course…which is but one sole movement in two phrases” (Merleau-Ponty, 1964:138). This paper considers what and how the topological unconscious could contribute to materialist understandings of landscape, in particular, how social and psychic phenomena play out through time and place. Lacan, J. (1998). The Seminar of Jacques Lacan ( The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis) (Miller, J., Ed.; Sheridan, A.,Trans.). W. W. Norton & Company. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1969). The Visible and the Invisible. (Lefort, C. and Lingis, A.) Northwestern University Press.

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