Sunday, January 1, 2012

Human Geography

by Drew Martin
Yesterday I watched the Princeton University online lecture Place, Art, and Self by Yi-Fu Tuan, who was introduced as a pioneer in human geography. He spoke about our spaces - natural (pristine nature), artificial (all architecture) and virtual (the space in art and music where we pause to rest to be nurtured). He differentiated the kinds of art -  photography is a very stabile space, while 'dutifully plodding through a novel' is too much like life, not a place to rest with one inconsequential incident after another, but added that even in a novel there are pages that work on our sensibility, making us aware of our presence and mood to which we may wish to return. Interestingly, he spoke about the nostalgia of (specifically) American men directed to the recent past and also about how home towns stunt growth and do not suffice for the mature human being. I think what Tuan considers with equal weight, physical and virtual spaces, are actually one in the same - we seek out environments that are manifestations of the space in our minds. Tuan said he has a desert personality and that people fall in love with a place in very much the same way they fall in love with others; affection for a place might be like a friendship that grows over time but it can also be love at first sight.