Chorography

How do you visit a place?

What do you do there?

How do you describe, delineate, represent?

What do you collect?

Lindisfarne-north

The north shore of the tidal island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland UK

In the seventeenth century chorography was a term used to refer to antiquarian works that dealt in topography, place, community, history, memory. Camden’s Britannia (1586) was a classic chorography from the English Renaissance.

With the consolidation of disciplines of space and place in the late eighteenth century, chorography became geography, topography and archaeology, journalism and cartography.

Some of us are using the word again to raise questions of the way we conceive and how we relate to land and its people, creatures, plants – inhabitation. And fundamentally to reconnect place and land with the the features of “memorable places”.

Connected terms are deep mapping and temporal topographies.

“Reflecting eighteenth century antiquarian approaches to place, which included history, folklore, natural history and hearsay, the deep map attempts to record and represent the grain and patina of place through juxtapositions and interpenetrations of the historical and the contemporary, the political and the poetic, the discursive and the sensual; the conflation of oral testimony, anthology, memoir, biography, natural history and everything you might ever want to say about a place …”

Mike Pearson and Michael Shanks, Theatre/Archaeology (Routledge 2001) page 64-65.

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