The street is a useful thing for walking.

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Surface 2016

copyright © Olsen 2016

Through the body and mind, a place can be recognised.[1] Yet I noticed how distant the street is depending on my focus, using Mains Road, Dundee as an example of place. I would like us to consider a quote from my favorite philosopher, Heidegger and the image above:-

“the street, the useful thing for walking. When we walk, we feel it with every step and it seems to be what is nearest and most real about what is generally at hand, it slides itself, so to speak, along certain parts of our body – the soles of ones feet. And yet it is further remote than the acquaintance one meets while walking at the remoteness twenty steps away “ on the street”.”[2]

Heidegger would identified the street as ‘equipment’, a thing that is encountered in our environment, the place I use when I walk. I understand how its usefulness becomes remote and unnoticeable to myself as I walk, by thinking about my journey on Mains Road. The phycical street shifts between earth and world depending on my awareness of it. I am more likely to notice a passing car or pedestrian than the street I walk on, it only becomes available in my awareness by a disruptive influence of the uneven surface seen above.

[1] Casey, E. S. (2013) The Fate of Place: A Philosophical History. United States: University of California Press p244.

[2] Heidegger, M (1996). Being in Time (Trans Stambaugh, J). 3rd ed. New York: New York Press. P99.

The Downfield Line

A walk through January’s neglect, with feelings of retrospect.

On the Downfield line, citizens are a limited find.

Buried away – they’ll not play, not till later in February.

Walking into Dreams that Dwell

Panmure Villa now known as Armistead House,

once used as a convalescent home for small children.

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 It changed and reformed into a large formidable house,

a fortunate children’s home for discarded childhood.

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Could laughter echo, was there space for love?

Time passes and society convert’s, a children’s home no longer in use.

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Even the child development center was not a lasting retreat,

Now the building lies dormant with a trace of what stood.

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A property developer has a changing vision,

will children still dwell?

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no-longer the villa, a house, the home or center,

and a new invested dream will develop and sell.

 

copyright © Olsen 2016

Time Space Compression

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Walking through the streets of Dundee through residential areas, housing estates, industrial sprawl, city and the places in-between. I feel the past, present and future collide. Shifting between what the land had been, what it is now and the possibilities of what it could become.

I follow the line of the tram onto the  Perth Road and I am surprised by what cultures influence such a small stretch of street. I find Turkish, Italian and Oriental restaurants. I can drink coffee from South America or buy traditional Scottish fare. As I walk, I count the countries shaping the street and I think of the community, now worldwide. I wonder what transformation the community has made over time? How different a tram journey along this street would have been.