Une Chambre Pour les Vivants
Green River, UT
In Collaboration With:
Epicenter Frontier Fellowship
Jo Anne Chandler
Memory of Place / Souvenir de Lieu
Material of Memory / matiere du souvenir
Non-place / Nonlieu
Place of passage
ICHT Lyon 2017
DWELLING AS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE
I: Green River – Place and Theoretical Framework
A Place of Passage:
You’ve been driving for 3 hours, crossing the state of Utah on Interstate 70. Headed to California, or possibly Colorado. You stop at the Green River gas station, the place you usually stop driving through. You don’t spend much time here. You don’t know how many people live here. You don’t know anyone, and no one knows you. You carry on. You, and thousands of others just like you pass through every day. But Green River hangs on.
Green River is an indisputable place of passage. A small town in southern Utah, Green River has fewer than 1,000 inhabitants. It is situated at the confluence of Interstate 70, the railroad, and its namesake, the Green River, a tributary of the Colorado River. The majority of vehicles who pass, stop here, but seldom for very long.
It is precisely because Green River is located at the junction of these routes that the town was established. It serves as a stopping point along I-70, with motels, restaurants, gas-stations, with an Amtrak stop (the only Amtrak stop in Utah outside of Salt Lake City). A small oasis in the middle of a vast desert with a cold river that makes life possible, and that made it a viable stopping place to begin with.
Link to Complete Essay (English)
Link to Complete Essay (French)
Living / Place / Non-place:
If we consider dwelling in space as an open theoretical question, we begin with Martin Heidegger’s essay, “Building, Dwelling, Thinking.” Philosophy, anthropology, and sociology have since taken up the examination of dwelling as a way of understanding the organization and dynamic of social space and the effect on those involved.
We looked to Mark Augé’s work, “Non-Places, Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity,” Augé introduces the idea that a place of dwelling/habitation is not reducible to simply a place of to spend the night, but instead, consists of the evolution of culture over time that generates an organic social connections between people and place. Place, defined “in the written and symbolic sense, the anthropological place” is in opposition with non-place.
“If a place can be defined as a relational and historical indentifier, a space that cannot be defined as an identifier, nor as relational, nor as historical will be defined as a non-place.” The hypothesis presented here is that supermodernity produces non-places – spaces that are not anthropological places and are not connected to the ancient history or place.
The Pleasure that Suckers Provides
There are mines that make us happy,
There are mines that make us blue,
There are mines that steal away tear drops,
As the sunbeams steal away dew.
There are mines that have the ore chutes faulted,
Where the ore’s forever lost to view,
But the mine that fills my heart with sunshine,
Are the mines I sold to you.
– Mining and Metallurgy, April 1920