Structures of Anticipation experimented with methodological and temporal constraints. It also coupled geographical and cultural specificity to create an ethos of the concept of terroir. In this brief essay, I will stretch terroir beyond the particularity of culinary applications to include social-spatial-geographical flavors that nourish a location-based cultural-psycho-geography.
Terroir is a term that refers to how certain places produce certain identifiable qualities in wine and agricultural produce, to the climate that makes particular types of this produce prosper there and nourish its human and other inhabitants and give it a distinctive taste or flavour based on the natural conditions of soil and topography (Barber, 2006). (Cited in Hurren and Hasbe-Ludt 2011, 18. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. Volume 27, Number 2, 2011).
Before I arrived in Windsor, I wanted to investigate the complexities of power, colonialism, and place. However, once the hourglass began to count down, and time became finite and scarce, I simply maximized opportunities that existed at hand. The outcome was five images that compressed every extraneous artifact, sense, and affect to simple gestural drawings. The group’s support let me exceed expectations and discover an urgency in the unexpected.
To describe the output as magic is too holistic. Perhaps the more appropriate word is design.
German-born Canadian graphic designer Rolf Harder says, “to produce good design you must abandon everything that is not supporting the message” (from the film, Design Canada, 2018, Greg Durrell). I’m struck by the idea that, as the sand passed through the hourglass’s neck, the Structures of Anticipation collective produced works of immense clarity.
Artistic production is gruelling. It induces panic. It is exhausting. Yet creative flow emerged from the stress. I imagine that the abandonment of expectations and the embrace of the sensorial gave me presence with terroir. The placeness of the place and affective energy in a moment let me connect to history, people, and memory. The image is almost sacrificial. In the stillness of the moment, energy became still. There was a heaviness of a quiet anticipation.
All the while, the ground where I found place shakes as trains trundle between Windsor and Detroit.
Flow is something I discuss with my undergraduate students. It has the power to guide people to a place that seems mysterious, perhaps even unknown. But my own experience, a history laid out across a linear stretch of time, reminds me that, the flow is only accessed when I press into the uncharted, uncomfortable, and unknown.
Structures of Anticipation is where I accessed the flow. I connected with it. I felt it. The experience reminded me that my own photographic and walking method of research depend on an enforced pressure. I learned that I must find the time for flow. And Windsor is where I merged with place.
Design Canada. Accessed July 27, 2019. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7125748/.
Hurren, Wanda, and Erika Hasebe-Ludt. “Bringing Curriculum Down to Earth: The Terroir That We Are.” Journal of Curriculum Theorizing 27, no. 2 (October 1, 2011). http://journal.jctonline.org/index.php/jct/article/view/345.