Published in  
January 11, 2020

Being in place

Place is a relationship between bodies that constitutes those bodies, not a static container that merely holds presence.

To be in a place is to keep making maps to locate oneself there again and again, and being at home is always an exercise in cartography. So how do we find ourselves in modernity? We keep lists, we name things, we lose them, we filter out information, we adopt positions, we promise, we renege, we try out things. These exercises make ‘place’ an ongoing socio-material dynamic.

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This suggests that to be displaced is not so much to be chased away from one’s land (indeed, displacement can happen without being chased away), as it is to be interrupted by the imposition of a finished product, a complete map. This is the stuff of the colonial: the denial of place and the insertion of the frozen. The toxic gift of arrival.