Here [...] There: mapping the terrain of childhood

Carson, JR and Miller, RA 2015, 'Here [...] There: mapping the terrain of childhood' , Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 36 (3) . (Submitted)

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In this visual article, artists Carson & Miller investigate spaces of childhood; spaces that are created and occupied by children, as well as those imposed upon them. The den, the playground, the classroom, the shared bedroom - these spaces are evocative of particular childhood environments and represent spaces where conformity and transgression might occur, one as easily as the other. Using dialogue and exchange - a fundamental aspect of their practice - Carson & Miller reflect on these spaces, using the playful strategy of 'show-and-tell' to draw on both personal experience and a wider understanding of the cultures of childhood that acknowledge both accepted notions of the child as well as representations that portray the otherness of children and childhood. In doing so, they map a terrain that moves the reader through opposing states - and, significantly, the spaces in between these states - in order to explore space as point and counterpoint to childhood experience and the notion of transgression: indoors/outdoors, at home/not at home, in school/out of school, under supervision/roaming free. Carson & Miller's essay draws on Barthes identification of the punctum, "..the element that rises from the scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces me." (Barthes, 1984). The artists posit that, like Barthes' arrow that "pierces", "pricks", "wounds" the viewer of a photograph, childhood experience marks us. These marks leave an imprint that carries through to adulthood and informs an adult view of what childhood can be. The force of these marks leave a trace of the uncanny - sometimes a wound, but not always - that both touches us now (that is, as adults) and touches us as a child (where articulating this strangeness is, perhaps, impossible or unnecessary). In this work, Carson & Miller engage with the terrain of childhood in part to draw a route, a line, between the child and the adult and back again.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: childhood, narrative, punctum, uncanny
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0159-6306
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: JR Carson
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2015 12:06
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2017 13:37

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