donderdag 13 januari 2011

The naming of the 'cryptoforest'

The 'cryptoforest' is just my name for, ultimately, a few fields that I happened to discover while getting on with my own daily chores. At first I was being predictable and boring by trying to find and catalogue all of them in my own town; but nothing is to be gained from mere awareness of places as if they are different kinds of cereal on a supermarket shelve. Psychogeography (and foraging) depends on close observation and experience of a very limited number of places. For this reason I have so far resisted to post about things like the Chernobyl zone of alienation that are randomly and impersonally related. Call it the Miss Marple approach to psychogeography. 
Sir Henry Clithering: May I make a suggestion?
Conway Jefferson: Do.
Sir Henry Clithering: Did you know that downstairs in the foyer is one of the most formidable criminologists in England?
Conway Jefferson: Really?
Sir Henry Clithering: Oh yes. And I could lay you almost any odds you would never recognise her as such.
Conway Jefferson: Her?
Sir Henry Clithering: Mmm. There she sits, an elderly spinster, sweet, placid - so you'd think. Yet her mind has plumbed the depths of human iniquity and taken it all in a day's work.
Conway Jefferson: How do we involve her?
Sir Henry Clithering: (indulgently) I expect she's involved already. She lives in St. Mary Mead only a couple of miles from Arthur and Dolly's place. It's extraordinary, she knows the world only through the prism of that village and its daily life. By knowing the village so thoroughly, she seems to know the world.      
The concept of a 'cryptoforest' is just one effort to name a phenomena without a commonly accepted name. Richard Mabey's Unofficial Countryside (earlier), Bruce Sterling's involuntary Park and Ruig Groen (rugged green) as used by the city of Amsterdam are other names referring to roughly the same kind of land types.
Ruig groen (rugged green?) according to the City of Amsterdam
For future reference: Sterling's list of involuntary parks concentrates on big scale dramatic failures of economy and warfare.
A. The very large and slightly poisonous areas downwind of Chernobyl, which have been reported to feature wild boars and somewhat distorted vegetable and insect forms.
B. The Korean Demilitarized Zone, which is about a mile wide and stretches entirely across the Korean Peninsula. It is festooned with deadly landmines, and rumor says it has tigers.
C. The Green Line between Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus. Intruders are shot or arrested there, and in the many years since the unrecognized Turkish secession, the area has become reforested; wildfires there are considered a public hazard.
D. Abandoned military test ranges.
E. Very old and decaying railroad lines in the United States, which, paradoxically, contain some of the last untouched prairie ecosystems in North America.
F. Aging toxic waste dumps, whose poisons legally discourage humans but not animals.  

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