Running Off the Edge of the Imagination: Becoming-Alaska in John McPhee’s ‘Coming into the Country’.

Coming in to the Country (1977)

What follows is a (very!) early draft of a chapter concerned with the representation of Alaska in John McPhee’s excellent book ‘Coming into the Country’. My primary aim here is to attempt to position the work as minor literature – a key concept for the expanded critical regionalism sought here. These are some very preliminary observations and weaving together of existing ideas on McPhee’s output. The title – hopefully – hints at the Deleuzeoguattarian thought I aim to explore and employ here, alongside their idea of a minor literature Continue reading

Architecture & Cultural Studies

Image courtesy of Worradmu

Aside from the appropriation of critical regionalism, what else might cultural studies take from architecture? Kenneth Frampton’s work provides a useful starting point for a re-invigorated approach to culture and an accompanying analysis of its manifestations, but how else can recourse to architecture itself, in both its physical and theoretical forms, assist in an analysis which has notions of negotiation and fluidity at its core? We are faced once more with a paradox. Continue reading

Particular Points of Loss or Hope: Ecologies of the Road

American Fence, Prescott 2010 (Neil Campbell)

A whole history remains to be written of spaces – which would at the same time be the history of powers… – from the great strategies of geo-politics to the little tactics of the habitat …  It is surprising how long the problem of space took to emerge as a historico-political problem.  Space used to be either dismissed as belonging to “nature” – that is, the given, the basic conditions, “physical geography”, in other words a sort of “prehistoric” stratum; or else it was conceived as the residential site or field of expansion of peoples, of a culture, a language or a State. Continue reading

Michael Ormerod as critical regionalist

‘Drugs’ © Michael Ormerod

Some time ago I wrote a long (unpublished) essay on the work of Michael Ormerod for a number of exhibitions of his work in the UK and one in Omaha, Nebraska. I write about him in my book The Rhizomatic West (2008) alongside Nick Waplington and Andrew Cross as UK photographers whose works investigate and interrogate the American West.  Certainly in my earliest essays on Michael’s work I had no sense of critical regionalism as a method or approach to the kinds of interests his work articulates.  With hindsight it works very well to explore the local/global, rural/urban, inside/outside.  Some of this comes out in the 2008 book. But I publish here the raw original essay – full of ‘leaks’ and lines of flight.  One day I’d like to return to the artist and do something with all this.  For now I offer it as a tribute to Ormerod’s immense achievement as a photographer.  Continue reading