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Visualising everyday geographies: practices of vision through travel-time

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Abstract:

Responding to recent debates in human geography on the need to explore more complex renderings of everyday visuality, this paper explores some of the fluid relationships between everyday visuality, materiality and mobility through practices of contemporary railway travel in Britain. Based on extensive empirical research, this paper explores three different but related visual practices experienced during the course of a railway journey. First, it looks at how sublime forms of vision emerge to produce a variety of passive embodied effects. Second, it looks at how more attentive visual practices are implicated in the temporal organisation of the journey and have the capacity to activate changes to routine. Third, it looks at how the physical materiality of the carriage interior serves to mediate the visual field in particular ways and gives rise to a series of freedoms and constraints. Whilst the visual consumption of landscapes viewed through a window is often taken to be an axiomatic part of the travelling experience, this paper demonstrates the importance of apprehending how a multiplicity of visual practices affect how perceptions of time, space and location unfold over the course of a journey.

Keywords: Britain; everyday geographies; materiality; travel-time; visuality mobility

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-5661.2008.00326.x

Affiliations: School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton, Brighton BN2 4GJ, Email: d.j.bissell@brighton.ac.uk

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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