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'terra Infirma' mercillessly assails the fortifications that are built up around geography and art and their epistemelogical certainties. Yet there is so much more to this book than a long and noisy siege of old Jerichos. It refuses to be infiltrated by art that merely illustrates its arguments and goes beyond mapping out a ground for understanding identity, belonging and cultural geography. What makes for its content is what Rogoff calls an "interlocution" with a type of art that "constitutes" the viewing subject and engages with "geography in crisis". For me, the chapter on 'luggage' and its attendant sign systems is the most brilliantly argued and the journalistic approach to Ana Mendieta's 'silueta' series, in a chapter on 'borders', the most evocative of the violence inherent in contemporary art. There are also a ruthless deconstruction of 'mapping' and a sensitive historicisation of 'bodies' in Palestine/Israel. One can tell from this that 'terra infirma' does not neglect politics and is particularly attentive to feminist discourses. The 'terra firma' of this work is its skillful deployment of critical theory and art historical analyses amongst the chaos and devastation of the geographies that she has undone. But this is a love-hate affair with geography. One senses that she has chosen a "geographical arena" in which to play out her games of "unlearning" and "unframing" because geography is such a fascinating and multifaceted spectacle but also because as an estabished old gladiator school of traditional learning it is ripe to be torn apart and remade over and over. As a journey it never arrives, which is as the author intends, but get shaken up by it along the way, it is a seismic trip.
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