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Terra Nullius: Encountering the Non-Place

Brogden, James William (2011) Terra Nullius: Encountering the Non-Place. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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FINAL_PhD_DOSSIER_July_2011.pdf
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Abstract

This practice-led Ph.D. study examines the potential conception of urban non-places through art photographic practice and writing (the text). The term “non-place(s)” (borrowed from Marc Augé, the French anthropologist) is used within this study as a deliberate provocation to the reader to re-engage with those transitional areas of land situated in the urban landscape that are viewed as interstitial - without a clear function or meaning compared to more valued spaces in the city, such as parks, and memorial sites. In general, these non-places are prohibited sites, which to some degree, adds to their anonymity in relation to the general public’s awareness. Most people (apart from a growing interest from urban psycho-geographers) avoid these sites, with their knowledge largely based upon the ubiquitous version promulgated by the media and potential developers of these “wasteland” / “brown field” sites (often associated with those areas of derelict land left abandoned since the 1970s post-industrial decline in England), which through such nomenclature, serves to under-value the unique qualities that this study seeks to present /reclaim. In this sense, one of the discursive aims of this study is to challenge the more expedient perception of such places by critically ‘erasing’ the prefix non, to reveal a place with meaning, that might be valued in a more imaginative way. In this sense, the practice acts as both a critical catalyst, and conduit, through which various disciplines are conflated in order to propose a different conception of non-places. A key aim within this text, is to emphasise the synergy between photographic practice and its equivalent in writing. Each embodies the other to form the practice. They are not separate elements within the Ph.D. submission. Although the leitmotiv of the study is located in the field of landscape representation, the text includes an eclectic range of allusions from within visual culture, to promote a broader academic debate between photography and the expanding fields of landscape studies, new cultural geography, anthropology, memory studies, new urbanism, and eco-criticism. The study proposes that through such an inter-disciplinary discourse mediated by photographic practice, a more idiosyncratic critical lens might emerge to challenge how we might conceive the contemporary Terra Nullius - the urban non-place(s).This text should be read in conjunction with viewing the Dossier (Volume 2): a visual record of the photographic archive that was produced during the period of the Ph.D. study. It should also be considered in relation to the works included in the final exhibition of photographs Terra Nullius: Encountering the Non-Place, which took place in The Corridor Gallery, School of Design, University of Leeds, in December 2010. A list of these works follows.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2011 12:36
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1918

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