Friday, 2 October 2009

history: the new geography

In an article I wrote for food chain, I made an assertion about time that I would like to expand upon here. The assertion was that, with the globe all but explored and linked in communications networks, allowing anyone to effectively 'be' anywhere, the past is the only unexplored continent.

Time before, say, the twentieth Century, though accessible is far more remote that time after it. The information is not necessarily the click of a mouse away. A plan of research is often required to find specific data. The preparations made to retrieve a piece of information start to look a lot like those made by arctic explorers.

Time is an intellectual construct and researchers are the new, intellectual explorers, trawling through archives and museums and censuses. The information is generally housed in single locations that, though physical, are designed and archived in much the same way as a digital network but sometimes this exploration even bleeds into the physical with the excavation of archaeological sites.

I argue that, to an ever-increasing degree, objects and customs we are presented with from distant historical locations appear far more alien to us than any of those presented to us from distant geographical locations.

1 comment:

Miss Ridout said...

hello henry,
this is really interesting… have you read 'pip-pip' by jay griffiths? all about time in its many guises. i recommend.
lizzie r