Spatial textures: place, touch, and praesentia

Hetherington, Kevin (2003). Spatial textures: place, touch, and praesentia. Environment and Planning A, 35(11) pp. 1933–1944.



In this paper I consider the everyday ways in which people make place through touch. Beginning with discussions with visually impaired people about their experiences of museum places, I seek to offer a more general understanding of the coconstruction of place and subjectivity through the role of touch. Touch produces a form of confirmation of the subject - world at the interface between the materiality of that world and the hand. Such an encounter is understood not as initially meaningful and representational to a subject who is distinct and distally knowledgable about the world, but as constitutive - through a proximal encounter with the praesentia of a place, which is both present and absent - of the subject itself. As such, I aim to contribute to ongoing debates around the themes of performativity and non-representationalist knowledge within geography.

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