Figures with absent landscapes II

Diary of an artist in residence, University of Nottingham, part II, 5-16 March 2017

See the note to the reader in the first post of this diary.

5 March

Coming back to Nottingham this evening was much smoother than arriving here for the first time five weeks ago. Disembarking the plane, leaving the airport, taking the train, changing at Birmingham New Street for the connecting train, taking a taxi to Canning circus, getting back to the apartment, picking up some food from the Turkish shop… Each step felt familiar… Inhabiting an elsewhere that is already no longer an elsewhere: that’s the subject.

Patricia was absent. She will be back tomorrow.

6 March

I called T., one of the Nepalis that I met here last time. He is free on Thursday afternoon. Caught up with some work I was not able to finish at home.

7 March

A fascinating conversation with Mark Rawlinson, an associate professor at the Faculty of Arts and a specialist of American photography and American art. We met for lunch but we only spoke, we forgot to eat. We spoke about migrations, about sacrifice, about documentary photography, about thinking beyond sacrifice, and about how you inhabit a place. One of Mark’s interests lies in how you turn a space into a place that can be an acceptable home, from a very physical point of view: the images you hang up on the walls, the pieces of furniture you put in the room, the objects you keep visible and the ones you don’t, for practical, utilitarian or aesthetic reasons, or without thinking of it… This question for me is always associated with Lise Sarfati’s photograph of a concentrated milk tin on a table in Acta Est (to which my picture of a bottle of beer and a water jug lid on a table in Rolpa in 2009 is probably an unconscious and modest homage). I like to believe that a picture of a place tells as much about the people who inhabit it as a portrait of them.

A long conversation then with Jean-Xavier about how we should not reduce migrants to victims of a situation that they don’t control. We already discussed that issue with Tristan Bruslé some years ago about the Nepali migrant workers in Qatar. I had contacted him before I started The Void and the Fullness project, in the wake of my reading his piece about everyday life in the camps, What Kind of place is this, which has been a great source of inspiration. During our telephone conversation, Tristan Bruslé expressed the idea that imprisoning migrants in their condition of victims somehow deprives them of their freedom of choice. Arno Bertina would add that doing so would amount “to kill them” by smothering through thoughts the little vitality that has not yet been sucked up by their life abroad. I have since then kept Tristan’s words in mind as a safeguard.

Jean-Xavier is of the same opinion, that even if migrants are to a certain extent victims (of globalisation, of the absence of structure in Nepal), they must be and always are more than that, otherwise their life would be intolerable.

In the first part of this diary, I wrote about the solitude of some Nepalis, and about how they are governed by the group and are considered as being at the service of the group. I described their condition, or at least the condition of some of them, as “a life as an absentee of your life”.

But you cannot be absent from your life forever without falling into madness or committing suicide. You eventually need to forge strategies to exist, to be present as something, whether at home or in exile. At home, even if social pressure weighs on your shoulders and confines you in a collective role, regardless of whatever dream of personal fulfilment you might nurture, most of the time you still have a familiarity with the context, or with the landscape, that allows you to escape from this condition. Here the question is: does living abroad allow migrants to transform this absence into a reinvented form of presence, in a way that is specific to exile? It is likely that it does. And if so, it is also likely that photography can say something about it. The photographs they take, the photographs they carry with them, and the ones that I might end up taking (of their interiors, for instance, like discussed with Mark Rawlinson? Why not).

My title, Figures with absent landscapes (transposed from Philippe Jaccottet’s Paysages avec Figures absentes (1)), should not and does not signify that the figures are existing and operating in a space without a landscape. The fact that the Nepali landscape is physically missing in migrants’ life does not mean that there is no landscape at all. So when I said the other day that the English landscape is “nearly the wrong one” the word “nearly” is important, for it saves me from asserting something that might be a bit too superficial. What if the English landscape were not wrong, but just incomplete, and were included in a larger object, made out of this incompleteness as well as of the memory of a Nepali landscape in which a vision of home does exist, but in a fantasised form, that is currently not reachable? What if the very idea of a landscape, of a place, of home, were much more fluctuating, much more open, much less stable than we, I, and they, are prepared to conceive?

When the sacrificial dimension of their uprooting is highlighted by the persons I meet, this fluctuating state of the concept of place is hidden. But if I try to think beyond the affirmation according to which they have “no choice”, as I did in Qatar, what do I see? They take a risk, they take their chance, because they assume that it will allow them to play the role that they have been assigned. But aren’t they also open to whatever else will come out of it? Isn’t it essentially impossible that Nepalis live here, waiting for the day to return home, without transforming the space around them into a place of their own – and without, in their turn, being altered by the place? The place could then be seen not as a location in which to root, but as a perpetual transition, as a source of questions rather that certitudes, as an opening to otherness rather than the affirmation of an identity.

In the evening we prolonged the discussion with Patricia. Another idea that emerged is that people might not be the victims of what I think they are: not the victims of a social order, but the victims of their inclination to escape it, in which case again there are no longer only, neither fully, victims: they also become the actors of an attempt to realise something.

Ultimately, there are still more than 25 million people living in Nepal. The ones that have left are not part of them. Though they probably could  be. So if they aren’t, it is because they decided not to be. It might be more bearable to work abroad in order to feed your family, than not being able to feed them at home and having to cope with their sarcasm. So, indeed, it is no longer a matter of being a victim, but maybe just of finding an acceptable balance between steering clear of social pressure, accepting the distance from your loved ones, and acknowledging an appetite for a relative level of freedom. It is also certainly a matter of experiencing the satisfaction to prove to yourself and to your family that you are able to do something, even at the cost of a certain sacrifice. To prove that you can earn money. When you come back to Tribhuvan International Airport with a TV set on the trolley and presents in the suitcases, I guess that you feel like a kind of hero, at least in the eyes of your relatives. This much is perceptible in the pictures they share on social networks: these are not pictures of sufferings at the construction site but always pictures of moments of pride, when they have managed to escape their suffering.

I called G, another Nepali whom I have already met. We will meet on Friday.

8 March

In touch with Lax this morning. He is in London. He promised to call me this weekend when he will come back. He hopefully will. This stay will be too short. It is already.

I went back to Beeston for a lunch at the Commercial Inn, where Lax took me last time. Kapil, the owner, was there. He recognised me. I ate momos again. Immediate teleportation to Kathmandu! Then Prakash, the chef, arrived. He  recognised me too. I liked it. The three of us talked for hours. The conversation echoed yesterday’s thoughts about the condition of victim. This is not how these two perceive themselves. Nostalgia is certainly part of their feelings. They are also aware of the sacrifices they have made by leaving the country. But they also know the benefits. They clearly state that coming here was a choice for a better life, a better education, for them and for their family. Some kind of long-term investment, too, in a way, because they hope that their kids will use their skills in and for Nepal after they graduate from school and college. There is no regret. Going back “home” one day is the aim, but in the meanwhile, it does not signify that they are not letting themselves be changed by this country and the way things work here: “We cannot change this country, so we have to adapt.” Of course they do change it, albeit to a small extent. They might just not be fully aware of it. But they are conscious of being part of an evolutionary process.

Not all of them but a lot of Nepalis live among themselves here. Many also stay at home most of the time. They don’t often go for outings. But some of them would like to. I hope that their photographs will show these tensions and these contradictions. No, there are no contradictions: there is the fading of identity, and of alterity.

As Patricia was stressing yesterday, I should not aim at, nor pretend to be carrying out anthropological research. I am not. My methodology is not appropriate. This is normal and this is fine. I should just use my own methodology (listening, speaking, living, spending time, watching and taking pictures, believing in the evocative power of photographs), and hope to be open enough to otherness so that some fragments of poetry will emerge. I needn’t be exhaustive. I needn’t be systematic. I needn’t turn what I experience into concepts. Not taking pictures, not collecting pictures, is not a loss of time. Being there is what I like, and it is evidence, proof given to the Nepalis who trust me that I care for them and for their trust.

I am going to propose to Jean-Xavier to have a conversation about the whole concept of place: the rooted place versus the transient place, and to publish it on this blog.

9 March

Philip Blenkinsop called this afternoon. It made me feel happy as well as nostalgic. He felt embarrassed to call me in England on my French telephone number and wanted to shorten the conversation. But I didn’t want him to hang up! I couldn’t help but thinking about us walking in the snow at night in Chamaloc the other day. For a moment I no longer was here… If I could have teleported myself there in the Vercors, I would have done it, without hesitating. And I would have enjoyed chatting with him and Yo, playing with Odell, and being in that landscape…

In today’s conversations: obsession and fragmentation. The first is the condition for work to emerge. I know it since I met Lise Sarfati. If I had to recall only one word from what I learned from her, it would be that: obsession. Fragmentation I guess is the impediment. It is what dilutes obsession into endlessly repeated forms of distraction, creating frustrations that add up to the distraction. Defragmenting the days is quite an undertaking but it is necessary.

Jean-Xavier accepted my request for a conversation about the idea of place, photography, fiction… It should take place on Wednesday.

10 March

Today, I visited two different people whom I had met last time. Beautiful conversations. For both of them, the question of place is very much present in their thought and in their everyday life. They know why they came here: for a better life. They know what they miss: some manner of warmth, of proximity in human relations. They claim to be integrated into English society, in different ways. They are grateful to this country for allowing them to earn their life and to make projects. They know that they want to go back to Nepal one day: not tomorrow but not in twenty years.

As in Nepal, education plays an important role in how migrants live their life here. I believe that there are a few recurrent profiles in the community. One of them is the single man who lives in a room above his workplace, does not speak English well, does not see many people, does not go out, is not very qualified nor educated, works hard to provide for his family in Nepal who are waiting for remittances (without working themeselves at all), considers himself as a sacrificed person, and despite the sacrifice, is satisfied with his situation because he helps his relatives. This satisfaction is his only space of freedom. His solitude is deep. Depression lies in wait for him if he does not start to pay a bit of attention to himself. A softer version of the Qatari migrant. This is not the case of the two persons I met this morning but both of them acknowledge this profile as being common.

The community is missing some leaders who could give them some guidance, and promote mutual aid among them, which would be beneficial for this type of isolated person. But the community seems to be rather young in comparison, say, with London’s Nepali community, which has been well established for decades. So it is not yet well structured, and the few attempts in this respect have failed.

So for people who have a better education, a better level of English, who are keener at starting a business, at involving themselves in local society, the feeling is rather different. At the question: “What did this country bring you?”, the answer is unhesitatingly: “A system. We are learning a system”. Things work. Tramways, bus, administrations: it works. If you want to register a company in Nepal and don’t have “good connections” at every level of power, you cannot but pay. And it is going to take you a year or so to find out how much and to whom. Here, the list of the required documents is commonly available information, the relevant office is identified, the rate is fixed, and it takes a few days. Or at least that is the experience that my interlocutor had.

Excellent dalbhat before I left G. and his family. G. encouraged me to come back to Nottingham for Nepali New Year’s celebrations on 10th April. Then I went back to the University. I had a meeting with Kathrin Yacavone who teaches photography here. We will do a short presentation about my work on Wednesday. She told me that she has students who don’t know what analog photography is. No idea about negative films, diapositives… The world is evolving so quickly…

I received the scanner that I bought. Which means that I am now going to be able to collect pictures.

I bought a plane ticket for April.

11 March

I had to meet with T. this morning, but he postponed it to tomorrow.

Day after tomorrow I am travelling to Oxford to attend and participate in a workshop about Nepali migrations at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. I started to read the papers that are going to be discussed, among which Ina Zarkhevich’s effort to establish an equivalence between money and bodily fluids in the ties between kin separated by migration was particularly striking. I thought that I would be able to read all these texts in one or two days, but I obviously won’t. I’ll do my best.

La grande Route par tous les temps, my volume of sonnets that were collected along the roads and railways of Belgium and Asia in the 1990s, is going to be published this year. I am very happy. First because these twenty years or so gave them the time to loose a bit of their initial fat and to become themselves. And secondly because, inasmuch as they as have become so, unlike most of the pictures that I took in that period, I have the feeling that they add up to the whole conversation. I mean today’s conversation. I am soon going to post one of these sonnets here to celebrate this publication. In the book, they will be presented with a selection of pictures that were taken in the places where the sonnets were written. I worked on the layout this afternoon. I am looking forward to seeing this existing.

A nice evening with Jean-Xavier and his family. There is something exciting about entering his house, and a bit confusing at the same time: the pleasure of being with them is continuously subject to distraction, because each room is full of books, most of which I’d love to read. If it were not for my photography project, I could spend the whole three months of the residency reading books in there (and playing on a Lowden guitar).

I came back to my room with four books: Michel de Certeau’s L’invention du Quotidien, Gaston Bachelard’s Poétique de l’Espace, Heidegger’s Acheminement vers la Parole, and an early book by Le Clézio, L’Extase matérielle (2). All of them being of the kind in which you need to read each sentence thrice to fully comprehend it. Given that I’m leaving in five days time, the idea is just to take a snapshot of their general landscape, and see if any of them can be a companion for some time, in which case I’ll buy it. Michel de Certeau’s certainly can.

I entered the John Borlase pub on my way back, and read de Certeau while slowly drinking a Chimay. The following dialogue ensued with a man at the bar:
– Where are you from ?
– From Belgium, I said, but I live in France.
– Where in France?
– Not far from Avignon.
– Avignon? Don’t know.
– Not that far from Marseilles.
– Oh! My roommate too is coming from somewhere near the Belgian-Marseilles border!

Well, if they introduce concepts like the Belgian-Marseilles border as early as today, I wonder what they will come up with in Oxford in two days… The Belgian-Marseilles border… You are the one who said it, Sir! But if it ought to be so, would to Heaven that this border be as porous as possible…

12 March

In the mailbox today, some news from my friend Pierre Duba. Thinking that we are going to see each other again soon makes me feel happy, for sure, but more than that. A conversation with Pierre is always a moment where we let ourselves be pervaded by doubts, questions and uncertainties about what it means to emit something that attempts at operating as a language, whether its minimal units be words, images, sounds, ideas, points of views or whatever else… It thus leaves much space for freedom of thought. I am looking forward to it.

I took the bus to reach the other side of town before nine this morning, but for nothing. The person I had planned to meet did not show up and did not pick up the phone. So I went on to see T. again.

I spent the rest of the day letting my eyes and mind wander in old family albums and loose stacks of prints, watching photographs and digitalising a large selection of them, admiring the beauty of what I was allowed to browse through. This is the heart of my subject and my research. The pictures in Nepal speak of a small village in Gulmi. Family members, weddings, daily life, pudjas… The pictures abroad have been taken in different places in India as well as in the Gulf, then here. T. didn’t arrive immediately this morning, I was a bit early, so I started watching pictures with his daughter and a friend of hers who used to live in the neighbourhood in the village before her parents too moved here. Therefore she also knew everyone in the photos. They seemed to enjoy these memories, and spontaneously commented on the photos. Then T. came back. Initially, when I started to scan his photographs, he didn’t pay much attention to what I was doing and let me do my work while he was cooking dalbhat. But when the whole family was there, including T.’s wife, their daughters and some friends, they soon let themselves catch up in the game and added pictures that were important for them to my selection. They were laughing while recalling details and memories. They narrated many stories about the images. They all became excited. In the more recent pictures, the city of Nottingham is much present, and acts as a character of the photos. It is the landscape in which the family strives to be accepted and to root in, but many details, like their garments, show a distance between them and the landscape. I guess that my work will happen if I succeed in inhabiting this distance. I feel very much honoured by the trust that they are giving me.

13-14 March

I took the train to Oxford on Monday morning. Going from one university to another. Since it is not as if I have often had the occasion to say so, I am happily doing it here! This is my university moment! I mean, not in the sense of Maxim Gorky, whose autobiography Nicolas Bouvier likes to quote to point out that he searched for [His] universities on the road, but in the classical and studious sense of it.

As I mentioned, I was invited at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology by Bandita Sijapati, from the Centre for Study of Labour and Mobility in Kathmandu, and her colleagues Ina Zharkevich and Krishna Adhikari, to take part in a workshop about Nepali migrations. Bandita knows about my work: with NayanTara and, she co-organised a presentation of The Void and the Fullness at Yala Maya Kendra in Lalitpur in July 2016. We have stayed in touch. The expectations underlying their warm invitation were to add a visual dimension to an otherwise words-only workshop, which I imagine can sometimes be rather dry. The organisers were interested in the methodological part of my work: how I came up with the idea, how I traced people in the Gulf, contacted them, acquired permissions etc. In one of her first emails, Ina wrote to me: “I think that we as researchers could learn a lot from your work both theoretically and methodologically.” Aside from my enthusiasm at the prospect of taking part in a workshop about Nepal in this famous place of knowledge (being an autodidact leads everywhere…), my expectations for accepting their invitation were exactly that: trying to assess to what extent anthropologists are interested in photography as a language of its own, and not as the illustration of their writings nor as the irrefutable evidence of what is being stated.

It was the third time that I was speaking at an academic event. The first was Hervé Guyader’s conference on Nicolas Bouvier entitled Espace et écriture in Brest in 2008 and the second was Jean-Xavier’s Silk Road workshop in 2013 in Nottingham.

I don’t know about the other participants (although I have the impression that it might have been the case), but for me, nothing decisive was at stake here in terms of my career. I was simply happy to take part in the discussions out of human and intellectual curiosity. First, because it gave me pleasure to finally meet with Tristan Bruslé, whose work was so inspiring when it came to documenting Qatar for the Void and the Fullness project. Then to see Bandita again, with whom I already had beautiful conversations in Kathmandu. And then to meet all the attendees whom I didn’t know (or whom I didn’t know but somehow knew through their work).

It was very impressive to spend two days with the crème de la crème of anthropological scholars in Nepal studies. Michael Hutt himself was there. It took me the whole first day to make the link between the person that I was listening to and the author of the book I study Nepali with, Teach Yourself Nepali (3). David Gellner was there, who with Hutt co-wrote Nepal: A Guide to the Art and Architecture of the Kathmandu Valley (4), a book that I have looked at many times at Pilgrims. Several others brilliant people were attending the event, veterans and younger scholars in Nepal studies. I belonged to a smart club! (In fact I don’t know if I exactly belong to it. But at least I had the intellectual pleasure to listen to them.)

Coming from an absolutely non-academic background, coming from no background at all actually, except maybe the background of life, what struck me the most was the power of the concepts that were being mobilised here, their relevancy for addressing the issues that were raised, the depth of the analytical methods that were applied to delve into the examined situations, the amazing fluency in Nepali of them all (and for some of them, in Tamang and Newar as well), and the fact that this multilingualism was not utilised as a levee to show off, but rather considered as a given – so obvious a given in fact that speaking English between themselves seemed more like an exercise in otherness than a true necessity. Multilingualism always moves me so much – sometimes to tears – though I don’t know the exact reason for that feeling being so strong. I assume that it has to do with the disputable idea that learning the language of the other goes with a certain altruist love for that other. Anyway, I am very grateful to Bandita, Ina and Krishna for having made this possible.

This being said, what struck me equally was the apparent safety, the distance that many attendees keep from photography. Make no mistake: I am not saying that anyone showed the slightest condescension whatsoever. There were two of us showing images. Our presentations were received with much kindness. Everyone expressed sincere curiosity towards these specific bodies of work, and said how stimulating they were for them. But when they said so, I understood: stimulating as pictures. Which means: not as a language.

I am not referring to my own work here but to the medium at large. Yet, if photography did stimulate the participants, I intuited that for many, it did so only to some extent: as familiar and possibly pleasant objects, or as somewhat inoffensive clusters of pixels or layers of silver salts, but not really as a tool that they would unhesitatingly add to their toolbox when it comes to problematising the world – not to the point that the medium could be perceived as a serious language that could be fruitfully utilised to dialogue with field enquiry and writing in order to widen the scope of anthropology.

I don’t know much about anthropology. I imagine though that it is about studying the relationships between people, and between them and their societal milieu – in other words, looking at human beings and at their strategies. Well, this is exactly what good photography does, and sometimes with a level of theoretical and practical analysis that I believe is comparable to social sciences.

So, how to build the missing bridge? Wouldn’t there be a way to make both languages enrich each other? After all, anthropologists are very well aware of (and I must say for the ones in this workshop, humble about) the limits of their own framework of analysis. As photographers should also be (but seldom are). I was hoping that this workshop would trigger some broader interest for photography, and some reflections about the possibilities to compensate the weaknesses of each approach by the qualities of the other. Maybe it did, time will tell. But while I enjoyed the insight of the scholars as well as beautiful individual conversations, I was a bit frustrated by the fact that when the time came to produce the conclusions of the workshop, nobody mentioned that the visual presentations they had watched gave them new ideas about their own research. Nobody actually even mentioned the visual presentations during the conclusions.

This can mean two things: either that our pictures, or the way we sequenced them, were not good enough, not striking enough to be worth mentioning. From the conversations I have had so far with some of the attendees, I believe that it is not the case. Or it can simply mean that what photography does and how it does it, is still not properly acknowledged and comprehended, and that this medium is still perceived as too exotic to be safely embraced as a research tool. We, photographers, should make an effort to understand why.

It might be attributable to the fact that photography maintains dubious links with memory, or with the very idea of truth, or with exoticism, or with holidays and leisure (though I dare to think that if the latter be a source of defiance of scholars towards photography, it would be mostly unconsciously). More prosaically, it might also have to do with how most of us rely on photography to feed our personal propaganda online: why should I trust this medium as an anthropological tool, something that I use extensively to show the world how cool I am? (Probably, precisely because of that.) It might also be that the problem with photography lies in its ambiguous relationship with art. But then, I don’t see why the ambiguous relationships between anthropology and literature could not be as ambiguous.

I discussed all this, among other things (the “manipulation” of images) with Tristan at the end of the workshop. He told me: “we are writers, our language is the written word”. I understand. This is so in much the same way as photographers’ language is the “visual word”. But I also believe that by considering the relationship between text and image as, at best a waste of time, at worst a heresy, many photographers are missing a whole part of their language. I am looking forward to exploring these ideas with him and others.

Fidèles à nos habitudes de philosophe des sciences, nous avions essayé de considérer les images en dehors de toute tentative d’interprétation personnelle. Peu à peu, cette méthode, qui a pour elle la prudence scientifique, m’a paru insuffisante pour fonder une métaphysique de l’imagination. À elle seule, l’attitude ‘prudente’ n’est-elle pas un refus d’obéir à la dynamique immédiate de l’image ?

Gaston Bachelard, La Poétique de l’espace (5)

David Gellner’s farewell: “don’t worry about your methodology: you are an anthropologist at heart”. I’ll keep it in mind…

15 March

This morning, I recorded my conversation with Jean-Xavier. We resumed our debate about the condition of victim, then went further about photography, displacement, about Jean-Luc Nancy, Victor Segalen, Édouard Glissant, Michel de Certeau… I will soon publish this in the French section of this blog as “Fleuve chiffré de l’ailleurs” which is a transposition of a very beautiful saying in de Certeau’s introduction to L’invention du Quotidien. I found our conversation especially fluid, smooth, limpid, and refreshing. I hope that its transcription will be faithful to that. There are some topics that we didn’t have the time to discuss, so there will be a second part to this discussion.

I also gave a short lecture about photography during Kathrin Yacavone’s class. Then I listened to Katherine Shingler lecture about French cinema. One student came to me afterwards to share his thoughts about the photographs I had screened so I was happy.

Then I just had the time to pack my bag and to go out and have dinner with Patricia.

16 March

I woke up at six in Nottingham and reached Nyons eleven hours later.

Here is the full quote from Michel de Certeau’s L’invention du Quotidien. Isn’t it a powerful summary of what is at stake in my project here with the Nepalis of Nottingham?

Sociologisation et anthropoligisation de la recherche privilégient l’anonyme et le quotidien où des zooms découpent des détails métonymiques – parties prises par le tout. Lentement les représentants hier symbolisateurs de familles, de groupes, et d’ordres s’effacent de la scène où ils régnaient quand c’était le temps du nom. Le nombre advient, celui de la démocratie, de la grande ville, des administrations, de la cybernétique. C’est une foule souple et continue, tissée serré comme une étoffe sans déchirure ni reprise, une multitude de héros quantifiés qui perdent noms et visages en devenant le langage mobile de calculs et de rationalités n’appartenant à personne. Fleuves chiffrés de la rue.

Michel de Certeau, L’invention du Quotidien (6)



(1) Philippe Jaccottet, Figures avec Paysages absents (Paris: Gallimard, 1970).
Philippe Jaccottet, Landscapes with Absent Figures, trans. Mark Treharne (London: The Menard Press, 1997)
(2) Michel de Certeau, L’invention du Quotidien. Vol. 1, Arts de faire (Paris: Gallimard, 1990).
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (Oakland: University of California Press, 1984).
Gaston Bachelard, La Poétique de l’espace (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1958).
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964).
Martin Heidegger, Acheminement vers la Parole, trans. Jean Beaufret, Wolfgang Brokmeier and François Fédier (Paris: Gallimard, 1976).
Martin Heidegger, On the Way To Language, trans. Peter D. Hertz (Harper One, 1982).
J. M. G. Le Clézio, L’Extase matérielle (Paris: Gallimard, 1967).
(3) Michael Hutt, Abhi Subedi, Teach Yourself Nepali (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1999)
(4) David Gellner, Michael Hutt, Nepal: A Guide to the Art and Architecture of the Kathmandu Valley (Stirling: Kiscadale, 1994)
(5) Maria Jolas’s translation (see note 2) of this quote is the following : “Faithful to my habits as a philosopher of science, I tried to consider images without attempting personal interpretation. Little by little, this method, which has in its favour scientific prudence, seemed to me to be an insufficient basis on which to found a metaphysics of the imagination. The « prudent » attitude itself is a refusal to obey the immediate dynamics of the image.”
(6) Steven Rendall’s translation (see note 2) of this quote is the following: “The increasingly sociological and anthropological perspective of inquiry privileges the anonymous and the everyday in which zoom lenses cut out metonymic details—parts taken for the whole. Slowly the representatives that formerly symbolised families, groups, and orders disappear from the stage they dominated during the epoch of the name. We witness the advent of the number. It comes along with democracy, the large city, administrations, cybernetics. It is a flexible and continuous mass, woven tight like a fabric with neither rips nor darned patches, a multitude of quantified heroes who lose names and faces as they become the ciphered river of the streets, a mobile language of computations and rationalities that belong to no one.”

Photograph: A picture of T.’s home village in Nepal, in his family album, Nottingham, England, 12 March 2017.

Kindly proofread by Alisha Sett.

The e-kus created during the residence are available online in the Stories section of this website.

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