Visibility, Life, and Death - an exploration into the things of absence and presence

Authors: Nick Patin*, University of Colorado - Denver
Topics: Landscape, Geographic Thought, Social Theory
Keywords: absence/presence, things, visibility, landscape politics, life/death
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Marshall North, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The dialectic implied in things of absence and presence is false. These concepts are not counter-positioned, but are qualities to the situation of things. Each absence/presence is engaged in the becoming of things and their landscape relations. A landscape marred by a "...fragmented space, webbed across gaps in understandings, saturated with power, but also, paradoxically, with uncertainty..." (Rose: 1997, 317), which also holds unguarded that "...the fractured spaces we see...are also part of a fragmented self" (Rose: 1997, 316) implies the fragment and fracture, the uncertainty of things, are enmeshed in landscape relations. Absence and presence, as things and qualities in/of things are engaged in such relations. This paper explores the thing that is absence and is presence. By pouring into absence, what John Wylie argues is "the originary fracture that forbids phenomenological fusion of self and world entails a simultaneous opening-onto and distancing-from, and it is within this tension, perhaps, that landscape, absence and love are entangled" (Wylie: 2009, 285) this paper argues that absence is far from no-thing. Rather, absences in a fractured and fragmented landscape are integral to presence. For, in things, place is always the absence, albeit, in place, things are never in absence. Absence and presence in and of things are thereby integrals to their endless becoming: in a thing's momentous release from/lack of death - a deletion to life - the qualities are knotted with a constitution of visibility, in which a thing's certainty and clarity is far, a-part of, from sight.

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