I’ve been reading Lucy Lippard’s The Lure of the Local (1997) in which she writes about making art that relates fully to place. She suggests that a starting point is
‘learning to look around where you live now.’
She quotes the well-known passage from T S Eliot’s Four Quartets about how “the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time.”
This resonates with how I feel about my understanding of myself: I am exploring and even though I am not at the end of my exploring, I have the sensation of arriving back where I started or at least circling back through familiar territory and knowing it for the first time.
Lippard goes on to write about the need to know our own history so we are not defined by others. ‘We need … new ways of calling attention to the passages between old and new, of weaving the old place into the new place.’ Or weaving the new person into the old person. Which is what I’m thinking about doing with the idea of the dialectical image. I need to understand more about Benjamin’s work, but I know that he associated this idea with ruin and melancholy, which is not my prevailing feeling.
I took this photo recently, off the coast of Essex between Dovercourt and Harwich. It has that typical big sky and flat grey sea I remember from childhood holidays spent at my grandmother’s home further south on the Essex coast. For me that spaciousness always represents possibility.