Wittgenstein’s denkbewegungen: the retreat as creative condition: In Place of Architecture, Symposium, Nottingham Trent University

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    'I am not interested in constructing a building, as much as in having a perspicuous view of the foundation of possible buildings'
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (Culture and Value, 1930)
    Ludwig Wittgenstein’s solitary walks in the landscape surrounding his pastoral retreat – a simple cottage or hytte – in Skjolden, on the west coast of Norway allowed him to ‘do philosophy’, through what he described as denkbewegungen – thinking through walking – whilst making observations of the mountainous fjord landscape that would, eventually, give him the space he needed to complete extensive and important manuscripts on logic and language. Wittgenstein’s desire for a simple life, defined through an ascetic rigour that, away from Cambridge and settled in his house built on a rocky outcrop with a view over Lake Eidsvatnet – allowed him to devote himself entirely to his work. My own walks in Skjolden, made with the artist and poet Alec Finlay attempted to uncover something of the extraordinary character of the landscape in Skjolden, and in doing so, reveal the contemplative side of Wittgenstein. The house no longer exists; instead the ruins of the rock foundations where the house stood – stand for the possibility and the place of thought.
    My photographs of these pastoral landscapes (published in Ludwig Wittgenstein There Where You Are Not, Black Dog London) attempt to bring forth (Heidegger, 1977) connections posed by questions about our relationship to place, and what effect places might have on us. That places remind us of other times, of other experiences – of a ‘sustained out-of- placeness’ (Macfarlane, 2012) as creative condition – is a thread that ties and unties much of my photographic work, and which will be discussed in this paper.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIn Place of Architecture
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2015


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