donderdag 5 mei 2011

Eskimo psychogeography II

Simon Anaviapik (1913-1992) from Pond Inlet, Baffin Island was a Inuit elder and all round cool dude who believed in the education of the Southerners in the Eskimo ways as a way of protecting his people against the invaders. In order to authorize a film he travelled to London in 1976. Hugh Brody was his host and guide and in 'The other side of Eden' Brody gives us the following insight on how the great town and its outlying fields appear to someone at a mature age experiencing the urban condition for the first time. (another instance of eskimo psychogeography) The 'cliffs' are the name Anaviapik gave to highrises. 
To get some relief from homogenised urban crowds, we took a trip to the Norfolk countryside. I wanted to give Anaviapik some sense of England that is not all cliffs and cliff dwellers. We set off, driving northeast, across Cambridgeshire and through Suffolk. I chose a route that was as rural as could be.He looked out onto the green landscapes and said, "It's all built." He did not see the difference between town and country except as a matter of degree: the one had more people and more houses side by side, and the other had more fields and hedgerows. But all of this, hedgerows as much as houses, was made by people; none of it was 'nature' - at least not a form of nature that he would recognize as such. He was always amiable and interested, but he did not like much of what he saw. 
After a long and arduous study the Eskimo linguist returned to her people and said: in the South they have 20 names for town: town, city, village, metropolis, countryside, nature, cryptoforest......  

4 opmerkingen:

  1. Yeah, I can dig it, but it really seems to be a matter of scale and density. If 50 million Eskimo lived in an area the size of England, their land utilization would likely be very different, would it not?

    It then seems to be a matter of quality and efficiency. People in Hong Kong have their vistas, those in Wyoming or Australia their own. Both can make the best of what they have. Enhanced livingry and ecological stability can be achieved anywhere, simultaneously, with all needs and balances tended to, in a nearly infinite variety of ways and means.

    I am an admirer of your work and ideas. This is important stuff. Thank you.

  2. I like how people always reference the mythical intuit legend: "You know they have 20 different words for snow?"

    But in English, we have many words for "a gap in the earth's surface" - just a few: gully, gulch, canyon, chasm, valley, ditch, hollow, dale, dell, gorge, ravine, coulee, canal, arroyo, crevasse, trough, pass… etc, etc.

    It would be difficult to explain the difference to a non-English speaker, but to a native speaker each word is subtly different and unique. We build our own constructs...

  3. It's very interesting to see the differences between these cultures. It's true there is not many pure nature left anymore. Humen take over the world and they can't be stopped, not even by Greenpeace.

  4. There are no "20 different words for snow" just the condition and state of it.
    Slush, icicles, snowflake, etc...

    Grandpa was an interesting man, other people would tell me stories of him when he as a high school teacher