Eggebert-and-Gould’s essay interrogates the wider themes of TOPOPHOBIA – conceptions of place and its construction through fear culture, imaging, technologies, modes of spectatorship, estrangement, disembodiment and the virtual.
TOPOPHOBIA or place fear will more commonly refer to the fear of place, in which the location or situation is the source of some anxiety, but it might on occasion also mean the fear for place, in which the fear is on behalf of the place, which is experienced as under threat or vulnerable in some way. The threat posed by visual representation to place is to be found in the modes of visualisation and the proliferation of appearances; the combination of the quality and quantity of these images is what somehow becomes the unmaking of place. Topophobia arises when these technologies of disappearance do their work on our sense of place and arouse our anxiety for what is slipping away from us. Fear has its pleasures too, especially when contained within the bounds of an aesthetic experience. The mix of dread and delight at being out of place can be the spur to curiosity and creativity. Art can offer our fears back to us to be enjoyed at a safe distance. This aesthetic experience can also be the basis for thinking about our fears, all the better to master them.
For the full essay text please see the publication.
Eggebert-and-Gould (Anne Eggebert and Polly Gould) collaborate regularly on artworks and curatorial projects. They work with collections, museums, archives, botanic gardens and landscapes (both real and imagined). ‘Operating in locations used to promote knowledge or collate certain domains of thought their work often subverts, unravels, or plays at the edges of presented discourses’ 1
They began their collaboration in 1999 at the British Library where they installed a sound work around the King’s Library, editing together extracts from the National Sound Archive Oral History collection. They were the first artists-in-residence at Cambridge University Botanic Garden where they installed drawings, sound, video and photographic works in the garden and its glass houses, while Transplantation took transformed images of the Cambridge garden to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Australia. They have also shown at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery; Bury Art Gallery and Museum, Manchester; and Haus am Lutzowplatz, Berlin. Recent exhibitions include ‘Crossing Over’ at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and ‘Altered Sequence’ at E:vent. They also curated Nature and Nation: vaster than empires an Arts Council National Touring Programme exhibition of international artists, a related publication and schools internet project.
1 (Transmission: Speaking and Listening Vol 3 ed. Kivland, Sanderson and Cocker, 2004).