Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Historic place thoughts, media influence

Historians told us that the land where our house sits on Lake Butte des Morts was once of importance to native Americans who lived and died (and are buried here, but that’s another story), then French fur-traders, then Euro-American settlers. These historians said humans typically continue to occupy places of meaning across cultures. Tuan’s public symbols/ fields of care would apply at different times to this place – I’d argue it’s been both. What really is this space if not defined by human experience, and is prioritizing time over space (as in my description) the best vantage (Harvey)? I see a meaning that is determined by collective human values (which if I was a good post-modernist, should be one of many perspectives…). This land is geographically important in different ways to different peoples at different times – sustenance via wild rice and game, then commerce for fur trade and trading post, then access for lumber trade and eventually recreational lake living. Is this place’s value to change based on how our society views aspects that relate to it, and how does the media influence it (arguably it didn’t until maybe the mid- to late-1800s) – talking up lake living, marveling big polluting speedboats, scaring us about contaminated fish and high taxes? How does or could the media factor into the perceptions and evolution of this space?

No comments: