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The Edge of Night: Hinterlands of the body, the city and the imagination

Research output: Contribution to conference Conference paper

Unpublished
Publication date16/04/2018
Original languageEnglish
EventAssociation of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2018 - Downtown Marriott, Canal Street, New Orleans, United States
Duration: 10/04/201814/04/2018
http://annualmeeting.aag.org

Conference

ConferenceAssociation of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2018
Abbreviated titleAAg 2018
CountryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Period10/04/1814/04/18
Internet address

Abstract

At the physical limits of the city, its artificial illumination begins to lose some of its hold against the firmament of night. Streetlight punctuations bend away from the built aggregation, chasing down roads to the next amber-white network. Out here, in the hinterlands of the urban landscape, the ragged edges and interstitial zones between city and rural may be found. These places err around their own identity. The patchwork ecotones at the edge of urban development resist easy classification, a situation even more opaque at night. For during nocturnal hours, these areas are the true black box of the city, holding its secrets, economies, demands and distribution networks together. The body is absorbed within the rhythms of these different materials and the movements they allow or prohibit. In this manner, the very land itself no longer appears as a distinct interface but as a loosely designated geography of admixture and intermingling. Ideas are free to roam around and wander out here. At the urban edge, the possibilities are far-reaching and seemingly limitless. It is precisely by connecting to the edges of what is thinkable parallel to being amongst the liminal zones of the urban that it is possible to truly go in. That is, to escape the day-to-day and be within the overlapping thresholds of identity, place and ideation. This paper will draw on two case studies, firstly my ongoing experimental auto-ethnography of experiences in and around the city of Manchester, UK, to explore the potential of dark landscapes for creativity. Secondly, the collective nightwalking programme run by Expodium in Utrecht in the Netherlands.