North, South, East, West...
I'd like to tell a story - a spatial story about land and property, measurement and orientation, roads and trails, Indians and Whites, basketball and religion, remembering and forgetting, symbolism and ideology. This story deals with particulars of Champaign County, Illinois in both the past and present tense. However, the questions put forth invariably lead further a field to much broader concerns and ongoing struggles. The connections I wish to make are both temporal and spatial - linking past and present, local and global. I'm especially drawn to those moments and spaces of resonance, where the past percolates to the surface of the landscape as palimpsest and either complements or contradicts what has heretofore been taken for granted. This tension between continuity and interruption is a useful point of entry into the political discourse of landscape, exposing the complex ways in which our sense of place is produced and contested. Furthermore, it reveals the difficulty of forgetting - memory may fade but the material of history does not therefore disappear. "All present experience contains ineradicable traces of the past which remain part of the constitution of the present. Teasing out such vestigial features left over from the past is an important part of understanding the nature of the present." (Ashcroft, 174) This teasing is, of course, not a neutral act - selective remembering and forgetting plays a dynamic, and often contentious, role in the constitution of the present.