Seeing and living in the diorama of the post-industrial landscape.

Hillman, John (2013) Seeing and living in the diorama of the post-industrial landscape. In: Visualising the Rural, University of Cumbria.

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Abstract / Summary

As well as being credited as the inventor of photography, Daguerre is also known for perfecting the diorama. The diorama was a device that employed illusion to recreate the world and transport its audience or participants through time or to another place. The social production of landscape especially that associated with industrial activity leaves the marks of history and traces memory in the form of ‘unintentional dioramas.’ Perhaps sharing some of the concerns of ‘Earthworks’ or ‘Land Art’ the post-industrial landscape considered as diorama can be seen to be analogous to the human condition and material changes in society. Nevertheless, in photographing such a potent landscape, as Brecht would put it, there may be little or no attempt to understand the conditions that create it.

The “Cornish Alps” is a term used by locals to describe the visible mounds of waste produced by china clay mining in the predominantly rural setting of central Cornwall. The conical sky-tips, like miniature Alpine peaks, are a post-industrial diorama located within a rural setting. Following research as part of an ongoing photography practice based PhD, this paper will reflect on people, communities, industry and landscape. It will explore what the landscape represents to the community and how through the process of participatory workshops and photographic practice the rural can be transformed in the minds of those who live there. This research will also examine whether and how Lefèbvre’s “three moments of social space” (spatial practice, representations of space, representational space) can be meaningfully applied to post-industrial landscapes and their communities.

By engaging with community based workshops and encouraging the use of photography to re-image the space where they live, it may be possible to gain a greater understanding of how photographic practice can shape an understanding of the rural. This may also reveal not only a new perspective on the rural but also a modified view of the photographic visualisation.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Arts > Photography
Courses by Department: The Institute of Photography > Photography
Depositing User: John Hillman
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2015 08:44
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 16:06
URI: http://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/1559

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