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Bookreview: Chat moss. By Derek Hampson and Gary Priestnall. Nottingham: CMG. 2005. 70 pp. £6.00 paper. ISBN 1 870 522 42 7


Mclaren, Holly


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Abstract 152BookreviewChatmoss. By Derek Hampson and Gary Priestnall. Nottingham: CMG. 2005. 70 pp.£6.00 paper. ISBN 1 870 522 42 7SAGE Publications, Inc.2008DOI: 10.1177/14744740080150010802HollyMclarenUniversity of LondonCollaborativeresearch between artists and academic geographers has grown considerably overthe last decade and Chat Moss, as both artwork and publication, makes a fascinatingcontribu- tion to this burgeoning field. Developed by visual artist DerekHampson and geographical infor- mation science (GISc) specialist Gary Priestnall,the project takes an area of non-descript peat-land between Liverpool andManchester, which famously threatened the building of the world's first passengerrailway in 1830, as a case study site from which to investigate the chal-lenges of representing landscapes that are complex both in terms of theirhistory and in how they are experienced by different people in different ways.This publication documents the major output of their research, the creationof a 40-metre-square ceiling painting by Hampson (made up of more than 100specially designed ceiling tiles) depicting the contemporary and historicalnature of Chat Moss. It includes full-colour images of the artwork and anevocative series of black-and-white photographs of the area; these dividefive short essays, which explore issues of representation in the context ofboth painting and GISc. Derek Hampson's account of the multiplicity of encounters,experiences and processes through which his depiction of Chat Moss evolved,offers rich insight into the `conduct' of representation and the role of embodimentin the creation and interpretation of visual art. These ideas are also exploredby art critic Peter Suchin who interconnects Hampson's experi- ential knowledgeof the site, the representational strategies employed in the work and thephysicality involved in viewing the painting. Moving away from discussionof the painting itself, David Matless uses the image as a point of departurefrom which to engage with various activities historically associated withChat Moss. In doing so, Matless presents this area not as a landscape of emptiness,but as a place of cultural complexity, where the human and the natural areentwined through a diversity of practices. This chapter also makes for a thought-ful route into the main section of images detailing the work which directlyfollows. Texts by Gary Priestnall and Glen Hart present a more scientificperspective on the project and provide insightful consideration of the phenomenologicalidea of embodied representation in relation to the practices and methodologiesof GISc. Through contemplating GISc in the context of painterly practices,both Priestnall and Hart look towards further research into how people interactwith, and gain understanding from, different types of geographical data. Readas a whole, Chat Moss not only provides a truly multifaceted exploration ofa particular place, but also richly extends Hampson and Priestnall's desireto explore the repre- sentation of landscape as both a place of history anda place of experience, where looking emerges as very much an engaged activity – for both artist/image-maker and viewer. As such, this book will be of particularrelevance to those interested in the `performance' of visual art (and otherforms of representation), and, more broadly, to anyone interested in landscapeas practiced environment and the possibilities of collaborative research.
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2008
Seitenangabe S. 152-152
Zeitschriftentitel Cultural Geographies, 15 (2008) 1
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/14744740080150010802
Status Postprint; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)