Ecologies of the Mind: Travel, Learn & Think

So recently I went to a lecture/talk/presentation at the university I love most in NYC: Columbia.  It was a fascinating talk and reminding me of all the things that I miss most about being in academia.  Well maybe its really one of the few things I miss about academia.  This is also one of the things that sometimes annoys me most about being in New York.  The ideas and thoughts discussed through the lens of the academic using long words (that I always have to look up after I leave the lecture or encounter with the NYC pseudo intellectual) and theoretical frameworks which have no connection to reality.

Now what I loved about this lecture, entitled “Ecogram III:Africa Cultural Ecologywas amazing. The amazing thing about this lecture was that it offered two things that conversations with pseudo intellectuals on the streets of new york and in traditional academic settings:  the marriage between theoretical frameworks and ideologies informed through the personal experiences of actually doing what you are analyzing or talking about.  The theoretical framework discussed during the lecture paired two academics with a fascinating individual named Faustin Lunyekula.  Faustin impressed me because he provided a concept that I had not thought of in relation to the world in which I live, love and travel.  The idea presented was that of a landscape and center for cultural exchange that is created through the development of an art space in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Faustin recently begun a project that seeks to influence and redefine the city center while creating space and opportunity for those that have been impacted by civil war, unrest and the creation of cultural cohesion and redefinition of place, space and culture (see posted video above).  The ideas presented made me think of so many places here there and everywhere.  The idea of a new space created through architecture, planning, environment and the creation of culture where destruction war and social political forces have basically undermined the cultural fabric of the city, state and nation.  I watched a piece that Faustin created with local artist in Kisangani and found it thought-provoking.

While travelling not so long ago with a friend of mine I began to think about what it meant to travel as a black woman through a world that had a variety of perceptions of who I am, am not and what I represent.  As I began to retreat in my head, I thought about what it meant for me to become comfortable in a space that physically was not comfortable for me for a variety of reasons.  This same idea returned to me when I went to a lecture with Wole Soyinka.  All of these thoughts manifested in the same thing.  We create the space where we are most comfortable through the knitting of positive memories and histories that contribute to who we are.  The creation of home or my travels through the world do not just manifest through my body physically travelling through space and time.  The creation of home and all of the far off places that I plan to go are also part of me.  I make them and analyze them as ecologies of the mind.



~ by travelling womanists on September 29, 2010.

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