University of California Berkeley
How does a specific place define itself? Especially a lesser-known place, a non-capital place, a place of the sea, a place that can step out of time? Rijeka, Croatia, and Aomori, and Mt Osore, Tohoku Japan are those kinds of places. They are not defined by only geography but the actions of the humans on and with that geography over time. This essay is about how these places performed in interaction with the PSi participants. While the theme of the Fluid States’ year of localized gatherings was “performances of unknowing,” the places we encountered were their own performances of deep knowing, like storage places of history, beliefs, families, economies, war, disasters, and loss. Woven into every texture of local geography, which includes its industry, religions, governments, climate, and all of its inhabitants, there is a deep sense of belonging to this place. There exists a genealogy of the interactions of the landscape and people, a geochronic “dwelling perspective” (Ingold 2011 188), which we, the PSi curators and participants, were invited to enter and activate.
This is a story, a narrative of places, marked by their geography between the land and the sea. Each place shares the instability of being land surrounded by or near the sea, and the enduring stability of this fraught relationship.