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Representing islandness : myth, memory, and modernisation in Prince Edward Island McCabe, Shauna 2001

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REPRESENTING ISLANDNESS: MYTH, MEMORY, AND MODERNISATION IN PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND by  SHAUNA JOANNE M C C A B E B . A . , M c G i l l University, 1989 M . A . , Simon Fraser University, 1993  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS F O R T H E D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department o f Geography) W e accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A  A p r i l 2001 © Shauna Joanne M c C a b e 2001  In  presenting  degree freely  at  this  the  available  copying  of  department publication  of  in  partial  fulfilment  of  the  University  of  British  Columbia,  I  agree  for  this or  thesis  reference  thesis by  this  for  his thesis  and  scholarly  or for  her  Department  DE-6  (2/88)  Columbia  I further  purposes  gain  shall  that  agree  may  representatives.  financial  permission.  T h e U n i v e r s i t y of British Vancouver, Canada  study.  requirements  It not  be  that  the  Library  permission  granted  is  by  understood be  for  allowed  an  advanced  shall for  the that without  make  it  extensive  head  of  my  copying  or  my  written  11  Abstract This research addresses the role o f local artistic practices in the symbolic interpretation and contestation o f modernisation, in the expression o f what Pred and Watts (1992) have called a "multiplicity o f modernities". In particular, the research examines the localised experience o f place identity among creative artists i n the landscape o f Prince Edward Island.  The research integrates and extends recent work exploring the place-making  qualities o f cultural expression and their attendant "imagined geographies," and their mediation o f political-economic and cultural flows which have national and global dimensions.  Prince Edward Island presents a powerful metaphor for the inextricability o f the local and the global i n the complex recent reconfiguration o f tradition and culture. In Prince Edward Island, thoroughly represented as "home place" within cultural practice as well as the international tourism industry, the presence and activity o f cultural producers themselves is inescapably part o f a wider trend centred upon the aestheticisation and commodification o f the landscape. Expressions o f local identity have found increasing manifestation i n tourism, as i n the wider contemporary landscape o f the Maritime region, where a prevalent trend has been towards deindustrialisation and rural gentrification as places shift from being centres o f production to sites for tourist consumption.  Exploring the interface o f art and geography, this discussion focuses on three cases o f artistic practice in Prince Edward Island that indicate that i n the construction o f a romantic ideal o f "home place" and homeland, the cultural practices o f artists may offer contested and critical constructions o f identity, culture and memory. A s such they evoke alternative trajectories o f modernisation. Confronting a transforming landscape, artistic works represent local identity and memory. The cases show that although these practices may operate within cultures o f consumption, the cultural practice o f artists and the geographies they sustain may be sites where a fundamental symbolic struggle is waged over identity and memory, over the meaning and representation o f place and o f "home" in a world o f consumption.  iii  T a b l e o f Contents  Abstract Table o f Contents List o f Figures Inscription Preface Maps  ii iii v vii viii 1  Introduction: Modernity and its cultural geographies  3  Querying "Islandness" Redeeming representation Description o f chapters I The A r t o f Place: M a k i n g cultural spaces in art  3 17 32 36  Making space cultural Cultural practice and geography: a review o f approaches The settlement o f identity; the politics o f memory  36 41 57  II The Place o f Art: Cultural practice and landscapes o f consumption  66  ' T o think like a poet': the artist, aesthetic gaze and the re-enchantment o f space Rural restructuring: artists and the aestheticisation o f the countryside Tourism and cultural meaning III Imaginary Homecomings: Art, popular culture, tourism and Maritime identity Culture's transformations Imaginary homecomings From romance to tourism I V The Architecture o f Islandness: Mediating tradition and modernity, home and away The architecture o f Islandness The play o f modernity: the social production o f space on Prince Edward Island Establishing Prince Edward Island as "home": L u c y M a u d Montgomery V Narrative Landscapes: Images o f myth and memory The folk culture-popular culture continuum: the art o f Alfred Morrison Landscapes o f memory Landscapes o f modernity  66 76 82 90 90 106 113 127 127 134 141 153 153 163 179  iv  V I Romantic Notions? Cultural practice as intervention A tangible resistance The cultural labour force and cultural meaning Romance and development VII M a k i n g Visible Veneers: The recursive art o f Jin-me Y o o n Travelling and territories Subverting the gaze: visual narratives and the deconstruction o f "homeland" Re-storying place: modernity's geographies and cultural politics  191 191 198 208 222 222 238 253  VIII. " H o w Utterly Original": Cultural practice, tourist landscapes and cultural politics, some concluding thoughts 259 Notes Bibliography Appendix The Alfred Morrison collection o f artworks  271 274 302  V  List of Figures Fig. 1.0 Historical society announcement  xv  Fig 1.1 Map of Maritime Region  1  Fig. 1.2 Map of Prince Edward Island  2  Fig. 1.3 Tracy Michailidis as "Anne of Green Gables," postcard  9  Fig. 1.4 "A memory around every corner," postcard, Tourism PEI 2000.  13  Fig. 1.5 "An island seclusion of peace," postcard, Tourism PEI 2000.  14  Fig. 3.1 Promotional brochure for "Le Pays de la Sagouine," Bouctouche, New Brunswick  117  Fig. 3.2 Visitors pose with the character of "La Sagouine"  118  Fig. 3.3 Promotion of the Rankin Family in Mabou, Cape Breton  121  Fig. 5.1 Alfred Morrison, Pleasant Grove Tunnel undated, oil on canvas panel, 35.5x54.7 cm.  164  Fig. 5.2 Alfred Morrison, Pleasant Grove Farm 1962, oil on canvas panel, 40.3x50.5 cm.  169  Fig. 5.3 Alfred Morrison, Morrison's at Darnley undated, oil on canvas panel, 35.5 x 45.7 cm.  172  Fig. 5.4 Alfred Morrison, Tracadie Harbour 1930 undated oil on canvas panel 35.5x45.7 cm. Fig. 5.5 Alfred Morrison, A Hard Challenge 1969, undated, oil on canvas panel, 35.5x 45.8 cm.  175 180  Fig. 5.6 Alfred Morrison, Cars Scared Horses 1913, 1982, oil on hardboard, 35.6x50.8 cm  185  Fig. 5.7 Alfred Morrison, The Fare-well Whistle, 1989, oil on canvas panel, 30.5x40.6 cm.  186  Fig. 5.8 Alfred Morrison, Modern P.E.I., 1986, oil on canvas panel, 35.5x45.7 cm  187  Fig 6.1 Peter Manchester, Ferry to PEI (Summer '95) 1996, watercolour on paper. 40x60 cm. Fig. 6.2 Nigel Roe, A New Prince Edward Island Landscape 1997, watercolour on paper 35x70 cm.  193 194  Fig. 6.3 "Out for a Sunday drive," Island postcard designed by John Burden  215  Fig. 6.4 "Our Island home," political cartoon by John Burden, 1979  216  Fig. 7.1 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 4/9-front)  231  Fig. 7.2 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 4/9-back)  232  Fig. 7.3 Photographer Veronika Tanton, Jin-me Yoon and John Joe Sark, July 1998. Fig. 7.4 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 1/9 -  242 front)  Fig. 7.5 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 1/9 - back) Fig. 7.6 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 3/9 -  245 front)  Fig. 7.7 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 3/9 - back) Fig. 7.8 Jin-me Yoon Touring Home From Away (light box 4/9 -  front) front)  248 248  front)  Fig. 7.13 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 8/9 -back) Fig. 7.14 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 9/9 -  247 247  Fig. 7.11 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 7/9 - back) Fig. 7.12 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 8/9 -  246 246  Fig. 7.9 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 4/9 - back) Fig. 7.10 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 7/9 -  245  249 249  front)  250  vi Fig. 7.15 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 9/9 -  front)  250  Fig. 7.16 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 6/9 -  front)  256  Fig. 7.17 Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away (light box 6/9 - back)  256  Fig. 8.1 "The Atlantic Provinces," postcard  263  She wondered i f there was such a thing as collective memory, something more than the sum o f individual memories. If so, was it merely coterminous, yet i n some way richer, or did it last longer? She wondered i f those too young to have original knowledge could be given memory, could have it grafted on.  —Julian Barnes, Evermore  Vlll  Preface  I was still trying to capture "what was happening out there,"... I wasn't thinking about the social representation I was creating as constitutive o f the world i n which I would have to live. ~ J . K . Gibson-Graham 1996, i x  For the past seven years, the Confederation Centre A r t Gallery & Museum i n Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island has hosted an annual show called the "Great Garden of the G u l f ' j u r i e d exhibition.  It is a rare exhibition i n the gallery's programming in that  it is the only exhibition that involves an open call for submissions o f art from which a selection is made. It is also an unusual exhibition for the gallery which has a national and international mandate, in that the source o f the art must be "Prince Edward Island artists," who range from lifetime, long-time, and more recent residents. In January 2001, Andrew Hunter, an artist, curator, and writer from Dundas, Ontario, was invited to jury the exhibition. Hunter made no attempt to mask his storytelling approach to curatorial practice, or the fictionalising and subjectivity o f the Island story he was constructing. In the exhibition brochure, he writes: heart, curators are really just tourists. I mean, curating a show is like a little journey, and a pretty private journey too. Y o u decide to take a trip and then you plot your travels... Hopefully, there are some surprises but, ultimately, you w i l l lay your own narrative over the things you've seen and gathered together.... (Hunter 2001)  ix  A s an artist and curator, he does not have a singular, defining strategy for creating exhibitions. In this case, rather like a academic researcher, he located a starting point and asked a question:  What got me started here, was a pair o f paintings by Teri Morris, "Afloat" and "Canadian Winter." I don't know anything about this artist except that they are from P.E.I., but the paintings intrigued me and they seemed to be a good place to start - boats drifting on an open sea and a simple landscape floating (an island?) in a subtle expanse o f colour. Looking at M o r r i s ' paintings, I thought, "I wonder i f this is P.E.I.?" (Hunter 2001) From this point o f departure, he created two narrative threads. " M o v i n g in one direction, I followed the sea, in the other, the landscape," he explains, "However, I quickly wandered off these paths as the landscape images led me to birds and images o f sadness and I drifted from the ocean to people, flowers and domestic scenes. But there really isn't a solid narrative that I can convey to you which w i l l firmly link all the works in the exhibition" (Hunter 2001). The result is a representation o f Prince Edward Island informed by significant curatorial experience, but subjective i n both its representational content and the selection o f this content. It is also a representation o f Prince Edward Island, however, that is not without substance. Although the construction is mutable - on another day he might have made different selections, or organised them i n another way the exhibition is constitutive o f landscape, conveying meaning and multiple imaginative geographies. Is the production o f geographical accounts so different from the process described by Hunter? Regardless o f the form o f expression, it seems that our starting point and "where we put our eyes" - the questions we ask - are important. They shape the narrative produced, which w i l l i n turn shape perception, beliefs, and ideologies. M y own work  draws upon and seeks to contribute to a particular interdisciplinary space - a discourse that straddles two related but distinct areas o f study: a discourse that integrates ideas about cultural practice - art, literature, and media, on the one hand, with theories o f landscape, social space, and geography.  In its attention to the integration o f art, space  and cultural politics, it enters what Rosalyn Deutsche (1998) has called "spatial-cultural" discourse. I have come to geography through a circuitous route through the study o f literature and art practices, as well as cultural studies, a trajectory that has left me attuned to the malleability o f perception and to the role o f representation i n the reproduction o f meaning, as well as its potential to jar and intervene in signification. I moved into the field o f geography in order to bring questions o f space to bear upon my thinking about the dynamism o f cultural forms and their representations.  Our theoretical frameworks  w i l l inevitably shape what we see and what is hidden from us, and when faced with a "dead end," I feel we simply have to ask another question. Placing space firmly at the core o f the study o f culture, my focus is a cultural politics that is also, inevitably, a politics o f representation and o f space. A t the level o f its barest bones, this dissertation is about the performativity o f representation, attuned to the idea that images and words do things, and are made to do things.  I argue representation do things; they are an element i n the construction o f  landscapes and identities, drawing upon an approach that challenges, as Gibson-Graham has put it, "notions o f 'reality' as the authentic origins o f its representations" (1996, 1). This work is also about power and about recognising in the interdependence o f the symbolic and the material, the potential for real and potent contestation over that identity and place. Words and images, like every form of expression, are complex symbolic  xi  structures. They are ways o f trying to understand, to express, to create meaning. Creative practice - the practice o f arts producers or cultural producers - as an element o f cultural and social practice more widely, takes its meaning and substance from the context from which it derives, but it also shapes understanding and perception. Cultural practice also has a role to play in constituting landscape and in the expression o f wider historical change, offering a form o f collective memory i n its template o f modernisation. Such representations  are not reflective, but constitutive, o f landscape, and hence enter  intimately into its transformations. The views and understanding o f the meaning o f landscapes are a critical element o f how people interact with them, and what they expect for them. This dissertation is also written with a consciousness o f its own representation, o f the narrative laid "over the things you've seen and gathered together." Geographical theory and practice have not escaped the wider "loss o f innocence" experienced throughout the social sciences in the last several decades.  Central to this has been the  insight that writing is not pre-political, pure, or neutral - but an act o f creation. This has amounted to a critique o f "authorial authority" centred upon two points: a reflection upon the partiality o f representation and descriptions o f the world, and a self-reflexivity regarding the interrelationship o f author and object o f study. The effect has been to raise important moral and ethical questions about writing i n a world o f a diversity o f voices and social subjects. Several ideas o f Russian literary theorist M i k h a i l Bakhtin (1981) have gained currency i n this context - such as "polyphony" and "heteroglossia" - as strategies for textual practices. Folch-Serra (1992), for instance, makes a case for the importance o f his  Xll  ideas to postmodern geographies, based on his resistance to principles and universals and his focus on context and specificities o f time and space. Outlining his basic concepts, she proposes points o f contiguity with geography, even going so far as to claim that "Bakhtininan notions comes to the rescue o f the ethnographic experience..." (1992, 261). Polyphony and heteroglossia as they are incorporated into texts are aimed at conveying cultural differentiation textually, without falling back on the production o f oversimplified "others". However, as Duncan and L e y have maintained, such strategies  as the  introduction o f multiple voices within the text do not necessarily decentre the authority o f the  author:  "While  important  in their intent,  such dialogical  and polyphonic  ethnographies have not removed the authority o f the author, who has, after all, defined the project i n the first place" (1993, 8). One o f the difficulties o f attempts to make texts more responsive to social context using the ideas o f "polyphony" and "heteroglossia," is that these concepts for Bakhtin were not ideals to strive for, not things to construct, but inherent in a social world o f social actors and social texts; an accounting of experience - not a prescription for practice (Bakhtin 1981). I am less inclined to follow models o f "multivocality", and more interested in a hermeneutic approach that starts from the assumption o f multiple voices and sites o f politics, interwoven within threads both local and global.  Geographies  inevitably involve representation and thus entail a mediated dimension - that o f the geographer's interpretive gaze and authorial inscription. "Landscape is not merely the world we see, it is a construction, a composition o f that world," writes Denis Cosgrove, "landscape is a way o f seeing the world" (1984, 13).  Xlll  In geography, the representation o f space and landscape clearly implies rhetorical reconstruction, and writing itself, o f course, transforms. Geographical constructions w i l l entail and evoke a particular treatment o f the relationship o f spatial and temporal coordinates; objectivity is impossible, for geography must be written. The result is a turn away from a paradigm centred around the question o f veracity in constructing geographies towards issues o f responsibility, political purpose, function and poetics. This discussion starts from an interest in how to write this world o f multivocality in ways that reveal difference and complexity, while addressing the inevitable relations o f power involved in the representation o f others.  Only i n this way I believe can we reveal the  genuine and irreducible complexity, contradiction, subtlety and ambiguity within human relations. Philosophies evolve, and in their development, there are lessons to be learned everywhere, both formal and informal. M y interest i n the relationship o f art and practices o f place creation has developed over time and space; a sensitivity to the difference space and time makes has grown through living i n various regions o f Canada - Quebec, the Prairies, the west coast, the Atlantic provinces, nurturing a recognition how places exist i n the imagination. This movement has made me keenly aware o f the way sense o f location and identity is shaped—not directly mapped onto place, but complex jigsaw pieces, layered i n a subtle and constant process o f cultural accretion and erosion. The substance o f memory, imagination, identity, experience is thoroughly social and cultural. A n d how we know what we know—the scope o f perception, memory and imagination— is i n part shaped by cultural practices.  xiv  This discussion o f these themes as they relate to Prince Edward Island draws upon research undertaken i n the Department o f Geography at the University o f British Columbia. I am grateful in particular to David L e y for his inspiration as well as his great patience and kindness, as well as to the insight offered by my committee members, Derek Gregory, Graeme Wynn, and Martin Laba.  This research has been enhanced through  knowledge and experience gleaned through periods o f field research between 1993 and 1996 and subsequently two years residence on Prince Edward Island. I am completely indebted to the artists who have been so open to sharing their time and thoughts with me, for knowing the right questions to ask came only through much dialogue and observation. The financial support o f the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for this research is gratefully acknowledged. L i v i n g on Prince Edward Island for the last two years, creating a "home" as someone "from away," I have found myself positioned in a blurred intersection o f roles: researcher, consultant, gallery curator, artist, poet, freelance writer; cultural producer and cultural critic. I have produced art and curated Island art, recorded the environment in creative forms and studied the relationship o f others to it, written for tourism and critiqued it. In the  sometimes  confusing, sometimes  uncomfortable,  and always  compelling insights that have come from this multiple positioning, I recognise an insight offered by Donna Haraway, whose studies o f the cultural and social field also speak to intricate locations and perspectives: " M y modest witness cannot ever be simply oppositional.  Rather, s/he is suspicious, implicated, knowing, ignorant, worried, and  hopeful" (Haraway 1997, 3).  XV  flFRfSENTATION: by the*' torical and personalperspec"StattheprHistofkal Society, - tivesof the'Life'and Times o f will be held Feb 21, 7:30 p.m. Covohead Bav. tracing 200 at Stanhope Place on the;his- • yews of the development o f ;  the bay through narration, storytelhngahd-pwtryrread-* ing. Audience participation is invited. AH are welcome, ;  Fig. 1.0 Historical society announcement - The Guardian Friday February 18, 2000, C5  In addition, this complex location has reinforced my awareness o f the image o f place as shaped and moulded. Identity o f place, and our subjectivities in relation to place, are not essential, but conjunctural and always recreated. In this process, cultural practices of artists are not necessarily and certainly not invariably about nostalgia, but often show a sense o f responsibility i n their relationship to place and the past. The above historical society announcement is a reminder o f the textual nature o f history and place and o f the potential o f representation to harm or help, as history and cultural identity are shaped and given authenticity i n the human creative practices that reflect back a sense o f place and location.  The stories and poems told that night are fragments, and together with  numerous other fragments dispersed across the landscape - artistic practices like those in the "Garden o f the G u l f juried exhibition, commemorative sites and historical markers, arts and craft festivals, plays, dances, and musical performances - all connect memory to place i n differentiated ways.  Simultaneously, to varying degrees these images are  incorporated into very contemporary  circuits o f commodification and the  visual  environment through tourism. This dissertation is about what artistic practices, and the geographical imaginations they hold within them, can do; the significance o f imagining place and the past i n this way.  1  Fig. 1.1 M a p of Maritime Region (McCann 1987)  2  North Cape  f Seacow Pond  ;1  V  Skinners Pond M • Ascension •patmer Road North Waterford * St louts (Mtminegasb  Croshaut/St Chartes • • Souris  • Aiberton » QmsdJlt?  Dock Road • O H o l l o r a n Road • M i l ! River Ea&t  »Farrnington  W"' 1  W  «V*  • Morel. Rear Conway •  Lennox Island  Burton ' • O'Leary • • : • " W e s t Devon Ebeoemrs Coleman Tyne V a l l e y * • Port Hill Enmore •• Birch "'"P ™ Enmorc . Birch HHI Hi WertPoInt 1 0 1  :  0  1  #  ECMONT BAY  -1_ 10 mi.  •fortune  • Morell  BloomfieW BborrrJ >dd Campbellton • • Corner  :toria West •  n» l«, N E W L O N D O N * Cavondisn (f BAY . North R o i o c o "J|P«I>" Stanley Bridge , • Hope River C l i f t o n / N e w London • • #  »*».c«. p. ****  • Richmond  MAL  St Deanors Miscouche •  Abram-Village  Q0£  BAY  .  s t A  n  n  • "«" M  :  te  S r t h , t a t o  * Kensington  • t e l l e r * Rest  #  Dixon Road  • Annandale » St Georges/Narrows Creek  • M o u n t Stewart  m  * Tracadie  i  Pleasant Grove  Pootes Comer  DeGros ::, Marsh • Georgetown  . Hunter River  • Glen Valley  • Panmure Island •  Chartottetown • OrweBCove  BEObQUE BAY  • iona  •  Victoria • Borden-Carfeton > W o o d Islands  Fig. 1.2 Map of Prince Edward Island  Murray  3  Introduction Modernity and its cultural geographies Querying "Islandness" " N o place is a place until things that have happened to it are remembered in history, ballads, legends, or monuments...," Wallace Stegner has written, " N o place is a place until it has had a poet" (1992, 205). The idea that there is an "art" to place—that place is not set out formally as an internally homogeneous bounded area, but constructed and invented with sources both poetic and political, local and global—has corollaries i n recent theoretical currents in cultural geography. Since proposals such as those o f Edward Said, whose concept o f an "imaginative geography" is explicitly concerned with the historical entanglements o f place, power and identity (1978), and Benedict Anderson's conception o f nations as imagined communities (1983), geographical research  has  explored varied discursive practices and forms o f cultural expression and their attendant "imagined geographies." Place acquires its shape and layers in discourse and imagination, its identity drawn in myth and histories, its memory made durable i n words and images. What Stegner puts so eloquently is the impossibility o f place except as a site o f interaction, the irreducibility o f mental geographies i n ascribing memory and meaning. What place and landscape do, and are made to do, relies to a great extent upon the narratives that are told and enabled through them. In this discussion, I try to draw out an understanding o f the location and role o f such mythologised elements.  Drawing upon the contemporary theorisations o f culture  within cultural geography that acknowledge that "a realization o f the constant imbrication  4 of, among others, cultural, economic and political processes is necessary for any interpretation o f landscape," (Duncan and Ley 1993) this discussion argues that such social relations do not simply represent a residual sense o f place, missed by the colonising flows o f capitalism and modernity (see also Crang 1998, Mitchell 2000, 1996ab, 1995; Jackson 1996; McRobbie 1991, Cosgrove 1996; Duncan and Duncan 1996, Gregory and Ley 1988; Duncan and Ley 1993; Anderson and Gale 1992; Keith and Pile 1993; Jackson and Penrose 1993). Local discourses and imaginative practices, though inevitably situated and context-dependent, are necessarily intertwined with global processes. Implicated i n the making o f place, locally-arising practices and their attendant "imagined geographies" mediate economic and cultural flows which have national and global dimensions. They are involved i n the expression o f a multiplicity o f modernities, and i n the symbolic interpretation and contestation o f modernisation. Various theoretical approaches have examined the dynamic interaction between global  forces  and  the  local  fabric  o f communities.  Research  on the  growing  connectedness between the "local" and the "global" has envisioned various forms o f the assertion o f the local, undermining sweeping arguments for "time-space compression" (Harvey 1989), and the tendency o f "the space o f flows to supercede the space o f places" (Castells and Henderson 1987, 7). J . K . Gibson-Graham (1996) has offered an important critique, pointing out difficulties with such political economy-based representations o f societies and economies in which economy, polity, culture, and subjectivity reinforce each other, in effect blinding us to alternative possibilities for politics. She suggests that M a r x i s m has perpetuated a singular vision o f space as a passive locus o f social relations, extending Sharon Marcus' (1992) concept o f "rape script" to such conceptualisations o f  5 globalisation, as they entail "as a discourse, that is, as a language o f domination, a tightly scripted narrative o f differential power" (Gibson-Graham 1996, 120):  There are many obvious points o f connection between the language o f rape and the language o f capitalist globalization. Feminist theorists have drawn attention to the prevalence o f shared key terms, for instance "penetration," "invasion," "virgin" territory....But beyond the by now familiar gender coding o f the metaphors o f economic development, there are interesting resonances in the ways a scripted narrative o f power operates in both the discursive and social fields o f gendered and economic violence... In the globalization script, especially as it has been strengthened and consolidated since 1989, only capitalism has the ability to spread and invade. Capitalism is represented as inherently spatial and as naturally stronger than the forms o f noncapitalist economy (traditional economies, "Third W o r l d " economies, socialist economies, communal experiments) because o f its presumed capacity to universalize the market for capitalist commodities. (Gibson-Graham 1996, 124-125) A s Gibson-Graham recognises, this script limits the possibilities for the perception and assertion of alternative politics outside and beyond the political economy-based world view; "to accept this script as a reality is to severely circumscribe the sorts o f defensive and offensive actions that might be taken to realize economic development goals" (1996, 126). B y querying globalisation and viewing the capitalist economy as fragmented, a diversity o f politics and social spaces are opened up. Gibson-Graham's discussion draws attention to how not only globalisation is constructed, but to potential pitfalls o f how resistances are perceived and conceived. "Localisation" and, by extension, the "local," "place," and "community" have often been seen as important loci o f opposition, as sites o f an oppositional geopolitics o f resistance (Oakes 1999; see also, for example, Cooke 1991, C o x and M a i r 1991, Jackson 1991). This conception, however, itself may not be much o f an alternative, Gibson-Graham argues, suggesting that attempts to displace monolithic images o f the social field to make  6 visible  heterogeneities,  cultural and  social  difference,  resistances,  and  dynamic  subjectivities may still subsume them to capitalism. A dualism is constructed, i n which "localization, it seems, is not so much "other" to globalization as contained within it, brought into being by it, indeed part o f globalization i t s e l f (Gibson-Graham 1996, 145). She identifies this tendency in the work of, among others, Pred and Watts, who suggest that "globality and locality are inextricably linked, but through complex mediations and reconfigurations o f 'traditional' society; the nonlocal processes driving capital mobility are always experienced, constituted, and mediated locally" (Pred and Watts 1992, 6).  To some extent she herself succumbs to a degree o f homogenising,  overlooking the subtlety and range in the theoretical alternatives she critiques, like that o f Pred and Watts who have also attempted to challenge the conception o f capitalism's monolithic status. That said, she draws attention, significantly, to how relationships are described in a fractured social field, how heterogeneity and difference might be characterised, and what presumptions are made i n those characterisations.  If our  understanding o f capitalism and globalisation becomes less totalising, a space is opened for sources and expressions o f imaginings o f change from outside the tension set up between binary terms. Her point is well taken, and quite relevant to the discussion that follows in which I examine the dynamics o f contemporary expressions o f place and identity practices emerging from a complex, fractured and mediated landscape, as they relate to artistic production in Prince Edward Island, on the Canada's Atlantic coast.  L i k e Gibson-  Graham, I propose the need to look for differences, and to pay attention to contingent and contested dimensions o f culture and identity. I agree with Gupta and Ferguson that with the acknowledgement that people and cultures are not automatically and naturally  7 anchored in space, we "need to pay particular attention to the way spaces and places are made, imagined, contested, and enforced" (1992, 18). Although local identity has always been a dynamic, contentious construction, on a deterritorialised ground it is even more clear that difference is not naturally existing and distinct; tradition and culture are reworked and reinterpreted across networks o f political economy.  In such a context,  terms like "sense o f place" and "place identity" become suspect and demand careful, qualified use, as they convey an apparent homogeneity and uniform, static quality.  A  hybrid understanding o f spatial and cultural differentiation grounds this discussion, for "the identity o f a place emerges by the intersection o f its involvement in a system o f hierarchically organized spaces with its cultural construction as a community or locality" (Gupta and Ferguson 1992, 8). Said describes the field o f play much more chaotically and expansively: " a l l cultures are involved in one another; none is single and pure, all are hybrid, heterogeneous, extraordinarily differentiated, and unmonolithic" (1993, xxix). The result is the reconceptualisation o f places with an eye to the potentials and possibilities opened up when we deny the univocality o f a market/commodity/global capitalist totality. The choice o f Prince Edward Island as a site o f research was no accident.  In a  hybrid social and cultural field, Prince Edward Island offers a powerful metaphor for the construction o f place and memory, presenting an important opportunity to explore the complex contemporary  reconfiguration o f tradition and culture and the  triggered by and told through landscape.  narratives  Despite (or perhaps, in spite of) its physical  autonomy, Prince Edward Island has been constructed as a space o f difference. M y decision to examine arts practices as they relate to this, was not random either. There are precedents for examining cultural expression and its connection to the landscape i n the  8 Maritimes and more widely, but there has been a tendency to describe an all-too-perfect homogenous construction, eliding the questions surrounding the sense-making roles o f cultural producers in relation to spatial imaginaries.  Significantly, arts practices and  cultural expression lie at the intersection o f how the Island has been marked out and constituted i n both the production o f cultural space and the production o f tourism space. Inseparable from this landscape are the cultural practices that have struggled to express and describe it, shaping it textually. In the hermeneutic  approach adopted  in this discussion, my focus is the  politicisation o f discourse and landscape. M y methodology involved qualitative research with cultural producers, including those involved in artistic practice - artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, craftspersons, individuals employed in the  performers,  as well as cultural mediators  dissemination o f culture  and  -  in cultural and arts  organisations. M y discussion is directed at expanding an understanding the practices o f these cultural producers  and the  complexity with which they engage issues o f  modernisation and regional identity. In querying Islandness, I hope to show that the space o f the Island is as much a cultural space as a physical entity. I hope to show also the differentiation o f culturally and politically significant interpretations o f the landscape that have been offered by expressive practice, as sources o f public memory and contributors to the construction, interpretation, and questioning o f such notions as rurality, insularity, tradition, and "Islandness."  9  Fig. 1.3 Tracy Michailidis as "Anne of Green Gables," postcard. The reverse text reads "Anne Shirley enjoys the view of Prince Edward Island fields on the way to school."  I w i l l argue, as well, that questions about the production o f Prince Edward Island in expressive practices cannot be separated from questions that get at the very presence o f artists in this rural location and the values and regional imaginaries they possess and reproduce. Although thoroughly represented in terms o f tradition and o f premodern "home place," in Prince Edward Island the activity o f cultural producers is intricately entwined within the wider, thoroughly postmodern trend centred upon the aestheticisation and commodification o f the landscape (Fig. 1.3). Cultural practice is involved not only in shaping the landscape conceptually and materially, but expressions o f local identity have also found increasing manifestation in circuits o f tourism production. So too in the wider contemporary landscape o f the Maritime region a prevalent trend has been towards deindustrialisation and rural gentrification, with places shifting from being centres o f production to sites for tourist consumption. Representations o f the Island "way o f life"  10 recur in cultural practice as well as promotional imagery, reinforcing Prince Edward Island as "homeland" within the international tourism industry.  The permeability o f  experience and representation, insider and outsider, and "back stage" and "front stage," challenges conventional notions o f the relationship between traditional culture and popular culture, as well as authenticity versus artificiality o f expression. It could be said that Prince Edward Island has never had a comfortable relationship with modernisation. In fact, in representation, the Island seems to exist i n a state o f suspension. Apparently isolated from globalising pressures, the persistence o f tradition, rural values, and insularity are key to "Islandness," and the perceived integrity o f the landscape.  Quite separate from this image, the Island's agrarian landscape has its own  history, however - one that has been addressed by Andrew H i l l Clark in his classical text  Three Centuries and the Island: A Historical Geography of Settlement and Agriculture in Prince Edward Island (1959). Influenced by the cultural-historical geography o f Carl Sauer and the Berkeley School o f cultural geography, as well as by Harold Innis' theorisations o f geography, history, and economy, Clark offered an account o f the early history o f Prince Edward Island and the development o f various sectors, particularly agriculture. Clark focused on geographical change, with a methodological eye to changing patterns o f phenomena and relationships i n and through the area."  "the  Interpreting  spatial patterns o f settlement and land use over three hundred years in Prince Edward Island, assessing patterns o f similarity and difference among areas, he developed what is a comparison o f settlement and agricultural practices o f Prince Edward Island's four major ethnic groups - Acadian, British, Irish and Scottish. Clark's importance i n the socialised knowledge o f Prince Edward Island lies in his account o f its changing geography,  11 including the population shifts experienced in the form o f migrations and outmigrations, the impact o f settlement upon the look and organisation o f the landscape, and the waxing and waning economies o f timber, fish, agriculture, and shipbuilding. The narrative he presented reflects a traditional cultural-historical geographical approach, and shows the obvious influence o f Carl Sauer in its attention to human intervention in transforming the natural environment and the cultural landscapes that result.  Sauer's Morphology of  Landscape lays out the underlying premise o f his cultural geography, tangible in Clark's treatment: group.  "The cultural landscape is fashioned from a natural landscape by a culture  Culture is the agent, the natural area the medium, the cultural landscape the  result" (Sauer 1925, 343) A similar cultural imprint is apparent i n Clark's work. The human record upon the landscape is presented as innocent and geography as a blank slate subject to transparent cycles o f human activity. Clark "read" the landscape before h i m through a distinct lens in which patterns o f agricultural land use "were much more closely associated with those reflecting the character o f settlement than o f natural endowment" (1959, 207). Implicit in his approach was an assumption that different cultures were expected to have differing relationships to the landscape, which would be evident to the researcher:  Bearers o f different cultures, they were expected (and shown) to act rather differently in their appropriation o f this territory to their needs. For all the relative homogeneity o f its natural environment, the Island past and present offered several examples o f "uneconomic geographies" attributable to "cultural drives or prejudices".... revealed by his sequential series o f maps, Clark hoped that geographers would learn that the contemporary scene often reflects what has gone before; i n it he implied, historians might discover a "broad new vista o f interpretation." (Wynn 1990, 10)  12 In its comparison o f localized patterns and assessment o f areal differentiation, Clark's work scarcely addressed the dynamism o f culture, economy and society, and could not account for questions o f power as they are played out through landscape. H i s cultures are remarkably static, with pre-given values and practices.  A s W y n n rightly observes,  Clark's "work paid far more attention to patterns on maps than to people i n places, and it revealed the facts o f change far more fully then it accounted for the processes that lay behind them" (1990, 10). Clark's approach is incapable o f grasping a dynamic relationship between culture and space, and o f perceiving landscape as a site o f meanings and values. In contrast to Clark's approach to Prince Edward Island, my point o f departure is a critical engagement with the construction o f the landscape to show that geography and landscape are centrally implicated in the constitution o f difference. The "facts o f change" in the development o f the Island landscape cannot account for the tenuousness o f our contemporary links to the past, or for the construction o f meaning o f place and memory within a hybrid and heterogeneous social  field.  N o r can such an account grasp how the existence and  persistence o f the pastoral, idyllic, rural Island image that has dominated contemporary public discourse and promotional imagery shapes the landscape and enters intimately into its transformations.  13  Fig. 1.4 "A memory around every corner," postcard, Tourism P E I 2000.  The portrayal o f Prince Edward Island in terms o f traditional, rural, family values where it appears "rurality becomes the necessary antecedent and social opposite o f what is to come" (Samson 1994, 25) begins early. A l o n g with Lucy M a u d Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables (1908), for example, in literature, Andrew Macphail's The Master's Wife (1939), offers a truly nostalgic rendering o f mid-19  th  century Prince Edward Island  society from the vantage o f early twentieth century industrialising Montreal. This is a semi-autobiographical rendering o f Macphail's childhood in Orwell and o f bucolic Island living. Ironically, even within the novel itself, however, Macphail recognises the paradox that image entailed, in that he and his brothers "worked thinking only o f escape" (1939, 53).  Such images have remained a strong and persistent influence.  In promotional  tourism packages accompanying the Prince Edward Island 2000 Visitors Guide, for example, two postcards were included (Fig. 1.4, 1.5).  Photographed by John Sylvester,  the first depicts a farm scene surrounded by ploughed fields, to support the text: " A n island seclusion o f peace." The other records a highway with a small community with  14  traditional buildings and a lighthouse in the distance, full o f promise, for there is "a memory around every corner."  Fig. 1.5 " A n island seclusion of peace," postcard, Tourism P E I 2000.  The  space o f the Island has been made meaningful in such terms and imagery,  quite visible in the tourist landscape and its variations on the theme o f a place anchored in the past and promising simplicity. There has been a continual shifting and refinement in 1  search o f the phrases and attractions that would draw tourists (see MacEachern 1991). The  result today is tourism promotion based upon a range o f elements that mobilise  "tradition", including folk practices such as traditional music, quilting, crafts, and pottery; events in the form o f ceilidhs, kitchen parties, strawberry socials, lobster suppers, and "Old  Home" Week; elements o f the cultural landscape that evoke the Island's past such  as pioneer cemeteries, white churches, fishing boats, and lighthouses; the invention o f fictional landscapes, like Green Gables and Avonlea Village; and finally roadside  15 attractions that draw upon fairy tale whimsy and imagination, like Woodleigh Replicas and Gardens, and Rainbow Valley Family Fun Park. In analysing several instances o f cultural practice, my question has been how can we understand the complexity o f the inscription o f identity and memory i n the landscape through cultural forms and their representations without reducing them to an argument o f spectacularisation and commodification.  This discussion w i l l look at the imaginative  geographies o f the Island and the ways in which they have circulated i n material forms, the values and ideologies associated i n their use, and the multiple circuits in which they operate. A s I w i l l show in my discussion o f commentaries o f cultural practice i n Atlantic regional identity, the practices o f artistic and cultural producers that are used in support o f this constructed landscape are often equated to a "caretaking" function o f the Island's and region's pastoral identity. These kinds o f images put to service for the tourist gaze (Urry 1992) and within the "heritage industry" (Hewison 1987) have been the subject o f much debate in discussions of postmodernism, geography, and culture.  Within this, they have most often been  associated with the primacy and salience o f forms o f leisure consumption and viewed i n terms o f spectacle, nostalgia, and the fabrication o f difference for visual consumption. Such imagery has been dismissed as "bogus history" (Hewison 1987) and "decoration and display" (Wright 1985). Heritage is viewed as imagined and accepted unquestioningly, for as David Lowenthal writes, it "uses historical traces and tells historical tales. these tales and traces are stitched into fables closed to critical scrutiny.  But  Heritage is  immune to criticism because it is not erudition but catechism—not checkable fact but credulous allegiance" (Lowenthal 1995, 1).  16 This imagery is seen as evidence o f the "society o f the spectacle" that Debord proposed i n 1967, o f Baudrillard's "simulacrum" (1983) and E c o ' s "hyperreality" (1986) a new societal context where consumption dominates production, and the "authentic" is extinguished under the supremacy o f the commodified image.  Debord's ideas o f  spectacle and its spatial forms have been engaged within geographical analyses o f landscape, coming to expression as "hyperspace," "simulations," and in metaphoric terms such as the theme park (Zukin 1992) , television (Sorkin 1992), and Harvey's "voodoo cities" (1988), all o f them subject to Horkheimer and Adorno's "ideology o f the pleasure industry, whose institutions [the consumer]  cannot escape"  (1972,  158). Spatial  transformation and its cultural expression are seen quite pessimistically; for they involve the domination o f private space and the market control o f the social realm that "make gentrification and Disney W o r l d the essential postmodern mappings o f culture and power" (Zukin 1992,223). It is this theoretical context that frames much commentary about the relationship o f arts practices within commodified tourist and heritage landscapes. Supporting a drive to consume other places and other times, these practices are viewed as articulating an ideology o f nostalgia, a reactionary postmodernism that expresses "simulated elsewheres" (Hopkins 1990) and a "dis-ease" o f the present (Goss 1993). They are seen to represent a reactionary antimodernism, lamenting the perceived loss o f moral conviction, authenticity and community, accompanied by a profound disillusionment with the present and fear o f the future.  Within this perspective, an engagement with expressions o f place-based  identity and history are, as a result, inherently illusory, an obsession with the past that is a response to decline and cultural decay. Exploited is a collective nostalgia for real places and historic roots, fueling the tourist and consumer's search for a manufactured, illusory,  17 premodern authenticity.  2  Coming to the fore i n discussions o f such "embedding o f  tradition" (MacCannell 1992) are issues o f (mis)representation and power, for the use o f cultural practice and the images o f history and place they construct legitimate identities, local and national, and relations o f power and privilege (Lumley 1988, Lowenthal, 1981, Samuel 1989, Hewison 1987, 1989, H o m e 1984, Wright 1985). While valuable i n their attention to power, these arguments, however, are part o f a wider theoretical  alignment.  They are  striking i n their  cultural pessimism and  postmodernism o f "decline" based largely on a conception o f culture as mass culture. Or, as Morris suggests, "there is amongst cultural critics a certain commodity boredom... M y response to this boredom is - that's tough for cultural critics. Alternative values and their constituencies may perhaps be obliterated i n an apocalyptic event, but they are not about to disappear by the decree o f some jaded culturati" (1993, 43).  Perhaps the greatest  mistake is to assume that within landscapes o f consumption, consumption is all there is: "the topography o f consumption is increasingly identified as (and thus expanded to stand in for) the map o f the social" (Berland 1992, 42).  Redeeming representation This discussion shares the position o f revisions to the view o f landscape as an uncompromising medium o f social control.  I would argue that overlooked i n the  prevailing theorisations based on the ideas o f spectacle and "theme parks" is the fact that inevitably the spaces constructed are never entirely formal. There are always gaps, seams, and "holes i n the w a l l " (Oakes 1993) that the seamlessness o f such a critique disallows. Contrary to the impenetrable spectacle with its assumed ideal passive, homogeneous spectator, other theoretical approaches have revealed individuals to be open to a wide  18 range o f informal, unplanned, spontaneous practices and uses o f space which reconstitute formal spaces as liminal, hybrid and dynamic. Overlooked is the infinite variation i n the ways by which people use and make sense o f their spaces (Carter, Donald, and Squires 1993, xii). A s well, there is an assumption o f uniformity o f the commodified landscape, a landscape that is notably empty o f voices and inhabitants.  In this case, places and  landscapes are isolated from their broader associations and uses and placed in a vacuum in order to see sameness. Acknowledging this blindspot, Meaghan Morris has argued for "a study that differentiates...." A s she notes i n her study o f the urban space o f the shopping mall, "...[this] requires the predication o f a more complex and localized affective relation to shopping spaces (and to the links between those spaces and other sites o f domestic and familial labour" than does the scenario o f the "cruising grammarian reading similarity from place to place....This does not mean, however, that they succeed in 'managing' either the total spectacle..(which includes what people do with what they provide) or the responses it provokes (and may include)." (Morris 1993, 297, 298-9). Ley and Olds (1988), and M i l l s (1993) have also provided concrete studies that offer important geographical alternatives. Necessary is a reconsideration o f cultural practice which "might generate outcomes which are concealed by the hermetic concept o f the spectacle" (Ley and M i l l s 1993, 258). While the analogy o f space as spectacle does provide important insight into the political economic contexts and broader processes i n which cultural practices emerge, they are themselves constructions - "attempts to freeze and fix a spectacular reality" (Morris 1993, 301). Here is one body o f critical research to which this discussion seeks to contribute, relating a politics o f representation and the cultural practice o f artists to what Entrikin has  19  called a sense o f the "synthetic quality o f place and region" (1991, 129). Challenging a simplistic, static conception o f "sense o f place," such an approach foregrounds the importance o f the symbolic, imagined dimension o f place as a significant constituent o f human action, formed, reproduced and institutionalised in everyday practice through the shared experiences and memories o f human subjects.  "During its institutionalisation,"  writes Paasi, "a region achieves a specific identity, which cannot be reduced, as humanistic geographers tend to do, to the regional consciousness (regional identity) o f the people living there":  Instead, it is more useful to link it to the institutionalisation process, which includes the production and reproduction o f regional consciousness in the inhabitants (and people outside the region) and material and symbolic features o f the region as parts o f the ongoing process o f social reproduction. The formation o f social identity and process o f social reproduction are... "one and the same." (Paasi 1991,244)  It is clear that a premodern state o f pure, pristine identities has always been wishful thinking. The dynamism o f the symbolic shape o f place brings to the fore the importance, even centrality, o f imagination in the boundedness and distinctiveness o f place, history, and identity. Paasi continues:  Symbolic orderings o f space and time provide a framework for experience through which we learn who or what we are in society... The increasing number and use o f territorial symbols is crucial for creating the symbolic significance o f a region. One essential symbol is the name o f the region, which connects its image with the regional consciousness. The production and reproduction o f the symbolic significance o f regions depends crucially on the communication-based involvement o f individuals in various practices. Part o f the symbolic shape, however, may manifest itself in static articulations o f space - through physical signs usually expressing "arrested" historical practices. Thus the symbolic sphere carries with it a history and traditions and promotes the reproduction o f social  20  consciousness. The formation o f the symbolic shapes o f a specific region also canonises an apparatus for distinguishing it from all others. (Paasi 1991,245) While Paasi emphasises the importance, even centrality o f imagination, I want to build upon this discussion by considering the attention to power Edward Said contributes to an understanding o f the reproduction o f symbolic space in his important concept o f "imaginative geographies." Developed in Orientalism (1978), the concept draws upon Bachelard's proposal for a poetics of space, whereby spaces come to have significance because o f the experiences that come to seem appropriate because o f their imaginative or figurative value. "So space," writes Said, "acquires emotional and even rational sense by a kind o f poetic process, whereby the vacant or anonymous reaches o f distance are converted into meaning for us here" (1978, 55). In contrast to older notions o f perceptions, or mental images and maps, imaginative geographies as representations are not purely cognitive. Gregory notes that Said's emphasis on vision and visuality draws attention to the cultural construction of the gaze, placing representation within systems o f power and knowledge (2000, 372). A s a result, representation is in no way neutral, and far from benign. Imaginative geographies are involved in the production o f social and spatial relationships lending a certain "coherence" and fixity to social and cultural heterogeneity by creating a sense o f unity based on difference and alterity from others as well as identification for the inevitably differentiated "us". The importance o f the concept for this discussion lies in how it helps to undermine the distinction between "imagined" and "real," for imaginative geographies are "not without concreteness,  substance,  and,  indeed, 'reality'.  O n the contrary:  Said  emphasized that imaginative geographies circulate in material forms" (Gregory 2000, 373). Signifying practices and cultural forms can be seen as performative, shaping ideas,  21  ideologies and beliefs, perception, which in turn shape experience. A s well, as opposed to simply symbolic meanings and images o f place, imaginative geographies allow a consideration o f power and issues o f its imposition and inequity to be accommodated. Gregory has emphasized the need to go even further to recognize "the heterogeneity o f these systems o f power-knowledge:  Orientalism did not speak in a single voice"  (Gregory 1994, 170). Neither a single identity nor a single consciousness is the outcome; rather images and narratives co-exist and interact in a dynamic fashion, signifying a collection o f hierarchically organised values, dispositions and differences. A s they relate to the landscape, the "telling" o f place is never established once and for all then, for the mapping o f meaning onto space is part o f the broader and complex field o f human experience. Said's  approach  reinforces  a  sense  o f the  imbrication o f social  space,  representation, and mental space that grounds this discussion. Several decades o f critical theory, cultural theory, feminist theory, and aesthetic understanding  o f representation  theory have argued for an  that allows us to peel back any appearance  of  transparency to reveal its politics. A s a result we can now appreciate that representations need not signify an essential or deeper truth, nor be merely reflective or distortive, but act instead as highly concrete and creative interventions in identity and subjectivity. It is difficult, unfortunately, to dismantle oppositions without using them, but I want to clarify that I am trying to displace the binary terms o f genuine-false, real-unreal, with the understanding that there is no "real" space that is totally distinct from the represented space. In this argument, I have been influenced by the conceptualisations offered in studies o f aesthetic practice, particularly Rosalyn Deutsche's significant work on aesthetic  22  representation and social practice, which has proceeded from feminist critiques o f representation and ideas about the politics o f images derived from cultural theory to an engagement with spatial politics. Countering approaches that measure artistic images against an external reality, she argues "feminist theories treat visual images as themselves social relations - representations  producing meaning and constructing identities for  viewing subjects" (Deutsche 1998, xix). Her understanding o f art and cultural practice as spatial practice is informed by this non-mimetic sense o f representation, as well as by Lefebvre's (1991) analysis o f spatial contradictions, and ground her critique o f totalising conceptions o f the social field integrated by an economic foundation (Deutsche 1991). Politics and resistances are still possible, and aesthetic representation is a potential force. Resisting  the  subsumption  of  political  conceptualisation o f representational  resistances  to  political  practice allows her to see  intervention and critique, applying it to a variety o f  economy, its potential  her for  examples o f public art in the  redevelopment in urban spaces. Aesthetic representation in these cases makes space as public space arises from practice. The work o f Victor Burgin on aesthetic practices is also a useful precedent and illustrates the potential blindspots created by the interpretive lenses used in geographical research. He draws upon Lefebvre's (1991) account o f the imbrication o f physical and psychological, the interrelationship o f spaces as they are perceived, conceived, and appropriated by the imagination. "The city in our actual experience is at the same time an actually existing physical environment, and a city in a novel, a film, a photograph, a city seen on television, a city in a comic strip, a city in a pie chart, and so on" (Burgin 1996, 28).  Addressing the representations o f urban space in the geographical discourse o f  Edward Soja, Burgin observes a "dead end" created by Soja's separation o f  the  23 representational and material. He suggests a more productive model for an understanding o f space as a "hybrid space, at once material and psychical," in which all o f us "actually live and act" (Burgin 1996, 29). The performativity o f representation implies that relations with material spaces are contingent, not mimetic. This is the necessary first step in assessing the role the "communication-based" activity o f cultural producers has played in the practice o f meaning-making. A s one source o f images, artists are at the heart o f the expressive construction o f narratives and "recognisable fictions" (in the sense offictio, or something made), which at once reconstruct "local culture" and localised identity, while negotiating political and economic forces at national and global scales. These are not unquestioning representations, for the construction o f localised and self-conscious identities that result are related to various degrees and find themselves in various struggles within circuits o f tourism production. N o r is there is a single, simple trajectory o f modernisation. Cultural articulations develop as global processes intersect with "already existing - more or less deeply sedimented - everyday practices, power relations, and forms o f consciousness" (Pred and Watts 1992, xiii). Cultural practice offers one lens into how historical change has been perceived and engaged.  A struggle over meaning is tangible in the range o f  perceived and experienced modernities - there is "an array o f cultural, ideological, and reflective reactions to modernization within the realms o f art, literature, science, and philosophy" (Pred and Watts 1992, xiv). There is no way to simplify the specificity o f their content and context, nor the roles these constructions come to play. I would argue that Deutsche, in her attention to postmodern art strategies, overlooks the less overt resistances and possibilities offered by aesthetic representation.  If all representation shapes perception and experience, radical  24  critique is simply one point on a continuum. M y interest is in the productivity o f images. A t one level, representations are important as spatial narratives, offering grounding for subjectivity.  The evocation o f self that place-based expressions present blends the  autobiographical with the " I " o f a region, nation, or community, creating "not places but practices o f collective identification" whose variable order largely defines the culture o f any social formation" (Mulhern 1989, 86, cited in Eagleton 2000). Thrift has also noted the practice o f identification that takes place through narrative: "Places form a reservoir of meanings which people can draw upon to tell stories about and thereby define themselves.  Thus place and identity are  acknowledgement  o f these broader  inexorably linked" (1997,  systems  o f meaning in which  160).  The  representations  emerging from creative professions are integrated through circuits o f promotion and tourism challenges propositions that the meaning o f place can simply be created and imposed through marketing. Place identity is ultimately materially localised and lived through one's personal understanding and memory o f the meaning o f "home"—an understanding that is necessarily embedded in complex, wider sets o f social relations, for "identity marks the conjuncture o f our past with the social, cultural and economic relations we live within" (Rutherford 1990, 19). I have turned to an interpretive approach, focusing on the subjective interpretations of the meaning o f spaces and places, the communicative function o f landscape representation and the reproduction o f social relations and negotiation that landscape represents.  Models for the intersubjective meaning o f landscape have been offered by,  for example, Shields (1991) and Duncan and Ley (1993).  In the hermeneutic circle,  images o f place are not static and neutral; they are produced actively and historically, and dynamically contested.  Geographies, like culture itself, are emergent, contested and  25  temporal (Geertz 1983, Clifford and Marcus 1986). The relevance o f these discussions here lies in the idea that the meaning o f landscape does not reside in the landscape, but is given to it by those who represent and the media through which those representations are communicated, shared, and interpreted. In geography, this idea has come to expression in attempts to read landscape as "text," incorporating a semiotic approach to signification (Duncan and Duncan 1988, Duncan 1990), in an effort to understand the social negotiation that landscape represents as part o f the dynamic process o f culture:  Landscapes anywhere can be viewed as texts which are constitutive o f discursive fields, and thus can be interpreted socio-semiotically in terms o f their narrative structure, their synechdoches, and recurrence. This applies as much to late twentieth-century America as it does to early nineteenth century Kandy... the thrust o f the interpretive method w i l l be the same - to uncover the underlying multivocal codes which make landscapes cultural creations, to show the politics o f design and interpretation, and to situate landscape at the heart o f the study o f social process. (1990, 184) Duncan's interpretive method concerning landscapes and their multivocality is based on the premise that all landscapes have multiple sources and are intertextual, with the implication they are all repositories o f meaning that can be discerned. It is a discussion that is extended in Duncan's work with Barnes (1992). In reflecting upon the notion o f text, they challenge a concept o f mimesis in the landscape: "For, just as written texts are not simply mirrors o f reality so cultural productions such as landscapes, are not 'about' something more real than themselves." (Barnes and Duncan 1992, 5).  Taken to their  extreme, meaning is open and unstable, privileging interpretation, and, they argue, can be separated from its author.  Drawing upon Ricoeur's model o f textual interpretation in  social scientific discourse, they suggest:  26  Thus a landscape possesses a similar objective fixity to that o f a written text. It also becomes detached from the intentions o f its original authors, and in terms o f social and psychological impact and material consequences the various readings o f landscapes matter more than any authorial intentions. In addition, the landscape has an importance beyond the initial situation for which it was constructed, addressing a potentially wide range of readers. (Barnes and Duncan 1992, 6) In this hermeneutic  approach  to  landscape  as  text,  art  as  a  system o f  communication is completely set loose from the individuals who create and use them. The interpretation o f landscape is suggested as more significant than authorial intentions. Texts indeed do move - away from their authors, and into other contexts, and so the reading o f landscape is open and ambiguous. But reading the landscape cannot be simply about interpretation.  W i t h the original context erased, as is suggested by Barnes and  Duncan, the site o f authorship, in fact, shifts to the reader. A s Gregory has argued in his discussion o f the text metaphor,  revealing the complexity o f landscape  and its  contingency becomes an act o f reading, an act thoroughly about us: we can "make them mean" and they can be "made intelligible in ways that enlarge our own understandings in our own present" (1994, 150). The danger o f removing contextual elements is to replicate the very spectacularisation o f landscape that we are trying to avoid with our critical tools. The lapses that can result from such a methodology are evident in another approach to the representation o f landscape. Mitchell's The Lie of the Land addresses the connection between the material production o f landscape and the production o f landscape representations, between "work and the 'exercise o f the imagination'" (1996a, 1). His objective is to link the politics o f representation with issues o f labour, revealing the role of labour in shaping the landscape, and restoring an ontology o f labour to the centre o f landscape geography and history. His interest lies in how landscape contributes to the  27  perpetuation o f capitalism, as he writes, "The ongoing struggle on the part o f capital to find a way for labor power to be properly reproduced and the ongoing struggle on the part of workers to resist their constant objectification and marginalization are what made and structured the land. That struggle gives lie to the land-in both senses o f the term" (1996a, 11). Theorising the relationship o f landscape representation to material form o f landscape on the ground, however, he retreats to a polarised tension o f representation and real. Mitchell critiques other theorists such as Daniels, Cosgrove, as well as Barnes and Duncan, for ignoring any prediscursive material world. "One cannot understand a landscape, Daniels and Cosgrove remind us, independent o f how it has been represented," he writes, "Absolutely.  But neither can one understand a landscape independent o f its  material form on the ground (and thus independent o f how it was made)" (Mitchell 1996a, 8). While I appreciate Mitchell's emphasis on relating landscape representation to its sources, he argues at root for a political economic approach that keeps in tension the false opposition o f how landscapes materialize in discourse and a material reality. In the process, he treads close to separating the tasks o f geographers and art historians. Although he claims their work is "alike precisely: W h y does the landscape look like it does (because it has a clear function in its present form), and who made it look that way," to Mitchell, it is the responsibility o f geographers to bring a more morphological approach to landscape imagery. As  a  result  of  the  separation  Mitchell  performs,  representations  are  "misrepresentations" o f a reality, a position frequently taken from within a political economic historiography which cannot comprehend their constant imbrication, and the politics o f representation that result. This position produces a clear misreading o f a  28  collection o f photography, The Great Central Valley: California's  Heartland, which  incorporates the work o f contemporary photographs, prose, as well as earlier photography such as that o f the social documentary work o f Dorothea Lange. acknowledges the range  Although he  o f images and landscapes, in the end Mitchell  cannot  differentiate among them - they are false and make h i m "uneasy," for " i n the photographs it is all so beautiful... Workers fade in the rearview mirror o f history, the easier to forget who made this landscape" (1996a, 201). It seems to me that geographers should be able to excavate the specificity o f the meaning o f representation and its history, and remain aware o f the contingency o f the circuits i n which representation moves. In the case o f Lange, for example, her work bears the realism associated with the documentary work produced under the Farm Security Administration. Rather than erasing the labour and experience o f those represented, the records o f Depression-era farm crises that record lived experiences and struggles o f poverty still have an impact as a powerful symbol and tradition.  Like Mitchell, I want to look as well at landscape as an "exercise o f the  imagination," but through the performativity o f representation and its imaginative geographies in shaping experience and the lived relations o f places. If cultural practice is seen in terms o f intervention and performativity, attention turns to the meaning and function o f representations, how representations are essential not just for depicting but also for structuring social relations in particular places. The intent o f this discussion is to explore the imagined geographies involved in cultural practice, highlighting the complexity o f constructions o f subjectivity in relationship to place, and differing relationships to the production o f Prince Edward Island as a complex space o f representation. The role o f cultural producers in constructing, maintaining and contesting the link between landscape and representation  29  w i l l be drawn out through attention to existing empirical examples and original cases dealing with the thought and practice o f artists, in order to evolve a sense o f relationship o f cultural practice to regional and spatial imaginaries. Arts practices show, not hint, at a cultural politics o f place in terms o f contradiction and paradox. The cultural practice o f artists is one site in which polyphony in the landscape is tangible, where the different meanings o f landscape are played out.  Drawing upon Bakhtin, who advocated a  polyvalent approach exploring the interaction and connection o f landscape sources  -  attending to their "liminal spheres...on the their junctures and points o f intersection" (1986, 103), Rodman has proposed a conception o f place in terms o f multivocality and multilocality, for "places are not inert containers. They are politicized, culturally relative, historically specific, local and multiple constructions" (1992, 641). Cultural expression is an important epistemological resource, shaping "what we know," a discourse and source o f geographical knowledge and experience, the cultural practices o f artists do not simply emerge from places, but also make places as symbolic constructs, deployed in the discursive construction o f various imaginative geographies. Landscape elements "operate as common points o f reference that are symbolically charged with the power o f collective myth and involve history rewritten and futures anticipated" (Walker 1997, 163). Cultural practice is central in the construction o f collective memory, grounding what writer Robert Kroetsch has called the "imagined real place" (1989, 8).  Competing narratives are engaged in ascribing meaning and in the  expression o f localised identity - "invented," but with sources and effects very real, very concrete, and very complex. A s Bakhtin suggests, discursive productions necessarily emerge from and feed back into social, political, and economic contexts:  30  The work and the world represented in it enter the real world and enrich it, and the real world enters into the work and its world as part o f the process of its creation, as well as part o f its subsequent life, in a continual renewing o f the work through creative perception o f listeners and readers. O f course, this process o f exchange is itself chronotopic: it occurs first and foremost in the historically developing social world, but without ever losing contact with changing historical space. (1981,254) The result is the expression o f a range o f different voices and perceptions o f relationship to broader patterns and processes, whether support, humour, intervention, critique, and deconstruction, each historically and geographically situated, tangible in cultural practices are alternative visions of home and identities, a consciousness o f competing responses to modernisation, for:  to assert the local is in no sense to deny the global character o f capitalism (both take place simultaneously, o f course) or to obviate the need to theorize the abstract properties (for example, the crisis-proneness) o f capitalism. Our (spatial) point is simply that how things develop depends in part on where they develop, on what has been historically sedimented there, on the social and spatial structures that are already in place there. A sensitivity to space, and to time, reveals that there are a multiplicity of  capitalisms... (Pred and Watts 1992, 11) In this discussion, I w i l l draw out several instances o f the cultural practice o f artists who have engaged Prince Edward Island as localised "home place" and as an originary place, as expressions  o f this place construction.  Their symbolic and  mythologised elements are examined for their communication o f meaning, articulating in various ways how the community has been presented - from within and out - as a place, in art and popular practice. In three original cases, representations w i l l be shown to engage the construction o f Prince Edward Island as a cultural space and play a role in the durability o f memory.  Counter to the  conclusions o f many discussions  of  the  commodification o f culture and place, they are, however, not empty o f critique or  31  consideration o f historical transformation. These practices are part o f the contestation o f meaning o f the Island. The questioning o f a myth o f progress is informed by a sense that something is being obscured and lost in portrayals and images o f the province. For different artists these losses may comprise a historical memory o f self-sufficiency and rural past, a history o f political resistance and struggle for independence, as well as the perspectives o f diverse social subjects. I want to point out that in my discussion o f the interface o f cultural practice, tourism and landscape, it is not my intent to claim that this is all there is to landscape, nor to weave a tight narrative, but instead to offer cases which in the end touch and relate to each other in different fashions, raising implications and issues in their differences and affinities. M y intent is to open up constructions o f place, pointing to sources that highlight the instability o f meaning. A sense o f the intertextual articulation and dialogical character o f landscape w i l l be argued, for "a place comes explicitly into being in the discourse o f its inhabitants, and particularly in the rhetoric it promotes" (Berdoulay 1989, 135).  32 Description of chapters This discussion goes beyond conventional approaches to aesthetic representation, grounding them not in a formalistic approach, but within cultural and social analysis that pays attention to landscape transformation. Placing aesthetic representation within social analysis, my starting point is the understanding that such representation is active i n the construction o f meaning and in its communication, and also acknowledges the complexity of current contexts from which such practices emerge and the landscapes they create and necessarily operate within.  A s a result, the cultural spaces they reflect are necessarily  intertextual and dialogical - not uniform and homogeneous. The theoretical basis for the case studies is laid out i n the first two chapters. "The Art o f Place" begins the discussion by reviewing existing approaches to the relationship of art practices and geography. It examines theorisations o f the cultural construction o f space through literary geographical and art historical lenses, developing the framework through which artistic images and their role in identity, memory, and the imagined dimension o f geographies w i l l be considered in the case studies that follow. Because cultural representation should not be looked at apart from its broader context and applications, the second chapter, "The Place o f A r t , " considers research related to artists  and their potential role in reshaping  geographies  through  the  aestheticisation and commodification o f the landscape. The impact o f representations cannot be separated from the tourism landscape, one o f the realms i n which they circulate. Subsequently, tourism and cultural meaning is addressed, as this is a context and backdrop upon which contemporary representations landscape must be seen.  o f the Prince Edward Island  33 Chapter three addresses the precedents for research on aestheticisation  and  commodification o f folk practice and art i n tourism within the Maritime region in order to provide a broader canvas for the example o f Prince Edward Island. Maritime regional identity has been consistently expressed and refracted through cultural practices, often mobilising folk and traditional associations o f a collective past, and tourism has played a leading role in maintaining this identity. This chapter lays out the wider interface o f art, popular culture, tourism, and regional identity, points which w i l l be returned to in more depth through the cases. Prince Edward Island is dealt with specifically in the fourth chapter, addressing the social production o f the Island's meaning and various threads o f its mediation o f modernisation and tradition. In this light, I w i l l set out the paradigmatic  example—the  historical identification in tourism o f the meaning and traditional identity o f Prince Edward Island with the promotion o f the romantic literary imagery o f Lucy M a u d Montgomery.  A s a response to the historical transformation o f the rural landscape,  Montgomery's work speaks to the values o f the premodern, small-scale  face-to-face  community o f the late 1800s and early 1900s, which is perceived to dominate the historical imagery o f this space. This cultural practice has been central i n the subsequent definition o f the space o f the Island as "home place." I would argue, however, that in the often mysteriously exclusive attention to the work o f Lucy M a u d Montgomery within the construction of the symbolic shape o f Prince Edward Island, the dynamism, struggle, and complexity o f Island cultural practice and place-making have been overlooked. The three cases which follow move beyond the hypostatisation o f Anne o f Green Gables to illustrate differing and richly textured  34 relationships to rural transformation and the changing Island landscape, falling loosely under what I would call its critical depiction, intervention, and reconstruction. Chapter five presents the work o f artist Alfred Morrison, and the philosophy it entails in presenting another construction o f the Island as "home place". Morrison, an artist associated with the "folk art" tradition, began his work in response to the restructuring o f the Island economy and landscape over the twentieth century. In an examination o f the artist's world view and aspirations as he expressed them, I w i l l argue that in his emphasis on tradition and "home place" is also a critique o f rural transformation and a commentary on the changing post-war landscape through to the 1990s. Emphasising the traditional landscape and rural past o f the Island, his work offers a cultural memory and highlights a critical element o f art that is often assumed to be unquestioning, commercial, and romantic. Chapter six, the second case, w i l l examine the cultural work and practice that speaks to another expression o f the dynamic between improvement and romance. I examine the work o f contemporary artists that mobilises the established landscape o f the Island and its accumulated associations  and mythic elements  i n order to  resist  development o f the Confederation Bridge. The intense debate over the construction of the bridge centred around differing views o f the Island and intra-local tensions over its identity, revealing a history o f political resistance and o f struggle to define  the  relationship to the landscape. Going beyond romantic notions, these practices question the idea o f historical progress, offering intervention in narratives o f tradition and progress. Finally, the third case, presented in chapter seven, w i l l examine the work o f Jin-me Y o o n , a Vancouver-based artist o f Korean background whose work places representations of Islandness and o f "home" within an international, postcolonial context. In a way, this  35 case brings the discussion full circle. In contrast to Montgomery's "equivalence" with the landscape, where it is clear that the Island is inextricable from its representation, Y o o n intervenes i n this landscape. In employing the tourism aesthetic itself she attempts to take apart this representation and make visible its veneers.  In the range o f interventions i n  rural transformation, Y o o n critiques the commodification o f the Prince Edward Island landscape to show what is at stake in tourism as a basis for regional development and the marketing o f the Island as a universal "homeland" for a culturally-diverse, post-colonial global population. Her art deconstructs  place images by undermining the tourism  landscape, manipulating promotional imagery and the myths o f Islandness to reveal their exclusions.  In the space that appears between surface and reality, she reveals the  potential remaking o f memories, traditions and cultural identities for a diversity o f social subjects. In the conclusion I return to questions raised earlier in the discussion o f the interface o f folk practice, popular culture, art and tourism. This discussion w i l l review how the empirical work engages the interpretations o f both the cultural production o f space and discussions o f aestheticisation, gentrification, and commodification. M y aim in this research is to press forward the understanding o f the interface o f art, popular culture, commodification, and landscape, the work that place and landscape do and are made to do.  36  Chapter I  The Art of Place: Making cultural spaces in art  Making space cultural  Landscapes, environments and places are not simply physical entities. Rather, they are human creations as well, mediated and constantly reconstituted as experience becomes enmeshed with representational and signifying practices that shape social identity and the meanings o f everyday and social life (Lefebvre 1991). The importance o f these imaginative geographies, fundamental to our understanding o f space, has been subject to exploration at national and local scales. The effect o f such an approach is to challenge a sense o f the insularity and certainty o f identities. It reflects a progressive sense o f place, "where the crossing o f boundaries leads to a complexity o f vision" so that places are inconceivable as "internally homogeneous bounded areas, but are spaces o f interaction i n which local identities are constructed out o f resources which may well not be local in their origin" (Valentine 1999, 56). The status o f place and landscape have been thoroughly established as evolving entities - socially produced, inherently political, and ontologically messy (Gregory and Ley 1988, Duncan and L e y 1993, Anderson and Gale 1992, Keith and Pile 1993, Jackson and Penrose 1993). A s Agnew has maintained, "all people live i n cultural worlds that are made and remade through their everyday activities... and cultural worlds are grounded  37 geographically i n the experience o f place. Culture, therefore, is inherently geographical, defined i n places and through local identity" (1992, 69). While such a claim for groundedness in particular locales is difficult to sustain, perhaps impossible, in an integrated and hybrid "cyberworld", the link between culture and space is reinforced by Anderson and Gale: The cultural process by which people construct their understandings o f the world is inherently a geographic concern. In the course o f generating new meanings and decoding existing ones, people construct spaces, places, landscapes, regions and environments.... In constructing cultures, therefore, people construct geographies. (1992, 4) Once the idea o f "place" is put into question, it inevitably has implications for how we see cultural practices and creative expression. This chapter reviews existing approaches to the relationship o f art practices and geography, examining theorisations o f the cultural construction o f space through literary geographical and art historical lenses. Broaching what is gained and what is lost through such perspectives allows the development o f a framework through which artistic images and representation can be seen i n terms o f their role in identity, memory, and the imagined dimension o f geographies. A basic shift has taken place i n the conception o f culture itself - from stable, to fluid and constructed. Although the concept o f culture has been variously defined, there 3  is general agreement that its basic elements —the grounded, material terrain o f practices and representations, as well as the contradictory forms o f "common sense" and systems o f shared meanings which shape popular life (Hall 1995, 176)—are not fixed or static, but made and remade. Further, these acts and mental constructions are constitutive o f imaginative geographies. Symbolic meanings may be imposed by people who live on the  38 land, or others—planners, politicians, intellectuals, artists, writers, poets, artists, and tourists, all participants in an ongoing dialogue from which particular landscapes arise and which they then necessarily reconstitute. The meaning imposed on a landscape by each group w i l l differ from each other, but it is through the always evolving interplay o f personality, the symbolic or textual, and the "real" or material, that place and landscape take on "flesh and blood." A s David Ley has maintained, "...landscape style is intimately related to the historic swirl o f culture, politics, economics and personality in a particular place at a particular time" (1987, 41). Identities o f landscape are not fixed, but constructed from many layers o f social relations and interpretations. The traditional conception o f cultural expression shaping a unified meaning and identity o f place is challenged; as well, there is an interweaving o f local and global scales.  Contestation over representation is, as a result, "as fiercely  fought and as fundamental to the activities o f place construction as bricks and mortar": "...the creation o f symbolic places is not given in the stars but painstakingly nurtured and fought over, precisely because o f the hold that place can have over the imagination" (Harvey 1993, 23). One  source  o f images  o f Prince Edward Island  are  artists,  producing  representations o f their experience o f place, which are also central to the construction o f memory and identity. Artists, o f course, present differing relationships to the meaning o f landscape, but it w i l l be argued here they may share a "structure o f feeling," values and perceptions based on an aesthetic and expressive sensibility. It has been proposed that displacement and erosion o f communities as literal entities and o f "home" as a durably fixed place has challenged how identity and borders are created and asserted. Conceptual processes o f place creation - imaginative constructions o f place, dwelling, and memory -  39 have been ways o f responding to changing global economic and political conditions. Iconography and narrative are adopted, developed, and mobilised for variety o f reasons at a range o f scales. Mediating deterritorialism and regionalism, cultural practice may be part o f a broader "struggle for place" (Ley 1989). A s Gupta and Ferguson have suggested:  A t the same time, the industrial production o f culture, entertainment and leisure that first achieved something approaching global distribution during the Fordist era led, paradoxically, to the invention o f new forms o f cultural difference and new forms o f imagining community. (Gupta and Ferguson 1992, 9) In investigating these practices and their role i n this imagining, I adopt a qualitative methodology that takes serious account o f individual artist's intentions, experiences and actions, an approach that does not generalise but highlights that the public meanings o f place and o f history are continually worked out at the level o f the (socialised) self. It is there that tensions between representation, memory and sense o f identity are experienced and expressed. The imagining o f place evolves in the interplay o f forces both local and global, private and public in scale, as history interacts "with memory to produce our sense o f personal, familial, group, institutional, national, and international identity" (Pajaczkowska and Young 1992, 199; cited i n Walter 1995, 38). Looking beyond a focus on the structural components o f representation that neglects the reasons the works were created, it is necessary to explore their social and cultural context and their effects. Far more appropriate is a semiotic-based approach that bears i n mind the meaning o f cultural practices and attends to the context o f production and reception. A s Geertz writes:  If we are to have a semiotics o f art (or for that matter, o f any sign system not axiomatically self-contained), we are going to have to engage in a kind of natural history o f signs and symbols, an ethnography o f the vehicles o f  40  meaning. Such signs and symbols, such vehicles o f meaning, play a role i n the life o f a society, or some part o f a society, and it is that which in fact gives them their life.... This is not a plea for inductivism - we certainly have no need for a catalogue o f instances - but for turning the analytic powers o f semiotic theory.... away from an investigation o f them in abstraction toward an investigation o f them i n their natural habitat - the common world in which men [sic] look, name, listen, and make. (Geertz 1983, 119-120) It is only when works are placed alongside context and intent, that insight is possible into the historical and ethnographic " s t u f f  o f culture. Cultural and arts practice and  expression is situated as part o f general history o f communication about space. A l l ways of knowing the landscape—speaking, writing, painting, drawing—are systems o f representation, attributing to that landscape symbolic meanings, and are associated with historical events, myths and legends, as well as contemporary events. Recent research on representation and imaginative geographies has stressed the physicality o f representation (Duncan and Gregory 1999, 3), examining such specific forms o f representation as travel writing, fiction, scientific writing, cartography, and art. They are examined for their implications for subjectivity, raising questions about the interrelationship o f power and place. Representation is an important shaper o f spatial understanding. A s Victor Burgin has maintained, "mental space and social realities are in reality inseparable.... this distinction between the social and the itself an abstraction, a fantasy" (1996, 28, 36). The separation between representation and represented is, in effect, artificial.  Sometimes, the map is the territory in the context 4  where social constructions and representations do not signify an essential or fundamental truth, nor merely mimetic duplications, nor distortions o f a deeper reality, but are powerful, highly concrete and creative interventions i n the social field. Cultural practice  41  has been situated as an integral part o f this evolving spatial imaginary and cultural space, moulding understanding and perception.  Cultural practice and geography: a review of approaches Attention by geographers to the production o f space through cultural practice is not new. There is an extensive tradition o f scholarly interest in art as a site o f cultural study, elucidating the identity and experience o f place through cultural forms such as literature and visual art, supporting Duffy's suggestion that "the 'sense o f place' accruing from the ways in which people experience representations o f present and past landscapes is a fundamental part o f territorial identity and o f geographical understanding" (1997, 64). Recent discussions have emphasised that representations and signifying practices are not reflections o f an existing reality, but produce meaning and shape perception o f place and landscape as they interact with social, economic and political institutions (Barnes and Duncan 1992, Duncan 1990, Duncan and Ley 1993, M c K a y 1994, K e l l y 1993). Narratives and images are implicated in the diverse meanings o f landscape and must be conceived, as Cosgrove and Daniels have stated, "not as 'illustrations', images standing outside it, but as constituent images o f its meaning or meanings" (1988, 1), and hence bound it to other social practices. Furthermore, as a source for such values and cultural meanings, representation has been established as an intrinsic part o f the creation o f "imagined communities" (Anderson 1983), o f concrete struggles, and o f acts o f claiming space and making place (Keith and Pile 1993, Carter, Donald, and Squires 1993, Shields 1991, Jackson 1989, S. Smith 1993). Two areas o f study have offered models for the consideration o f aesthetic forms in geography and implications for understandings o f identity and o f how experience o f the  42  world is compiled through symbol and image and their meanings. This interest has been pursued within the fields o f "literary geography" and "iconography". Neither area o f study can be generalised, however, having varied i n focus and approach with changing theoretical trends, as well as with the particular orientation and intent o f research. Geographers have long recognised the value o f an engagement with literature i n geography (Wright 1924, 1947; Bowler 1955). The early intent to bring literature within geographical inquiry was part o f a challenge to conventional geographical sources and a desire to add to geography a dimension o f the aesthetic, poetic and subjective. Indeed, the value o f going "beyond science" was also recognised by cultural geographer Carl Sauer (1925), who maintained that "the best geography has never disregarded the esthetic qualities o f landscape, to which we know no approach other that the subjective" (in Leighly 1963, 344). Literature was to fulfill the role o f expressive resource: geographical investigation o f fiction would not replace but supplement  the  traditional  geographical research. Since then, the interest i n literature as geographical resource has varied over time and theoretical  frameworks.  Engagements  with the relationship o f literature  and  geography range, for example, from such early works calling for attention to the experience o f place and landscape i n geography as Wright (1924) and Bowler (1955), to later humanistic assessments which tended to approach the 'sense o f place' evoked through literary practice:  Geographers have considered the 'documentary' value o f literary sources, sought to restore geography within the 'humanities', examined landscape perception or evaluated the didactic possibilities o f literature. Various currents o f the discipline have turned to literature in order to explore its relevance to different points o f view: regionalists in search o f more vivid description o f place; humanists seeking evocative transcriptions o f spatial  43 experience; radicals concerned with social justice; others trying to establish parallels between the history o f geographical and literary ideas; or more discursively-oriented researchers addressing the problems o f representation. (Brosseau 1994, 333) Throughout, literature has been engaged fairly uncritically as an object which can be perused, subjected to "casual ransacking" (Gregory 1981, 2), in order to reveal "regions of the imagination" (Keith 1988), which were presumed to provide direct insight into place, or into the relationship between writers and their places. Literary realism has been the dominant interpretive framework. A s a result, literary impressions have been read in terms o f a direct relationship o f representation and reality. Geography's literature has been transparent: "Meaning flows through it like light through glass" (Brosseau 1995, 2). Literary geography has in large measure developed apart from developments i n structuralism, post-structuralism, linguistics, and semiotics in Europe, particularly France, during the 1950s and 1960s which began to consider literature i n a different light, with consideration o f discourse, textuality or other semiotic systems. A s a result, "the actual 'rise' o f 'literary geography', as it is sometimes labelled, did not initially occur within the scope o f research on discursive, semantic or symbolic structures - with the corollary rejection o f the subject and/or history - but within a humanistic project designed to restore 'man', meaning and values in geography" (Brosseau 1994, 333). Reflecting an interest in the subjectively held emotions, meanings, values, and thoughts through which people interpret and act, and in the relationships between people and place, it was a critical reaction to the predominant quantitative geography and spatial science o f the 1960s. This approach to cultural practice focused on human intentionality, on people i n  44 the worlds they create as thinking, acting beings. Literature was one "window" into these created worlds. Literature, among other forms o f cultural expression, was seen to offer a more acute sense o f place and region than conventional geographical description (Pocock 1981, Salter and L l o y d 1977). According to M e i n i g (1983), literature can be used to provide "essential  clues  about  human  experience  with  environment";  literature  becomes  documentary resource as "writers not only describe the world, they help shape it. Their very portrayals establish powerful images that affect public attitudes about our landscapes and regions" (1983,  317). The written record is an inventory, described as "traces o f  human attitudes left i n the form o f diaries, letters, textbooks, scholarly articles, novels, poems and prayers" (Lowenthal and Bowden 1976, 6). Literature is seen as a supplement to conventional geographic study, "a supplemental and special source o f landscape insight" (Salter and L l o y d 1977, 1). Literature was conceived as the transcription o f experience and o f the artist's perception: The deepest engagement with imaginative literature, concerned most fully with both internal and external phenomena, comes from geographers exploring the nature and aspects o f environmental experience as part o f the human condition. The starting point is acknowledgement o f the artist's perception, or, more simply, is perception. (Pocock 1981, 15) This realist reading entails a mimetic conception o f representation, with little sense o f the potential ambiguity o f language or representation. Although there have been strong critiques o f the static use o f literature (Gregory 1981, Silk 1984, Jackson 1989), alternatives have not escaped the tendency to treat the text as a passive interpretation o f geographical hypotheses. What is lacking in traditional approaches, I believe, is a  45  consideration o f aesthetic theories - challenging art as imitation and as instrumental, and considering its potential to intervene, and subvert meanings. I have taken insights from alternative engagements between literature and geography  which  have  made  an  effort  to  incorporate  theoretical  and  aesthetic  consideration o f the literary text and the geographies generated by cultural practice, heeding Wynn's criticism that rarely do these treatments offer "much evidence o f acute reflection on the ambiguity and openness o f literary and artistic meaning, or o f the fact that writing, painting, reading, and interpretation are profoundly historical and contextual acts" (1995, 15).  Brosseau, for example, provides a concrete challenge to the "dead,  inactive and transparent" model o f literature i n geography in "The City i n Textual Form: Manhattan Transfer's N e w Y o r k " (1995). Here, he proposes a dialogical engagement with the literary text: rather than using the text to verify geographical hypotheses, the specificity o f the identity o f each participant - literature and geography - remains affirmed and distinct. The literary text he examines is a modernist text which does not lend itself to the interpretation o f regional identities or perceptions that has predominated in "literary geography". B y focusing on language and structure within the novel, he highlights the discursive dimension o f literature, allowing the text itself to gain a certain degree o f "agency" and "subjectivity":  If geographers undertake to entertain a relationship that is more dialogical with a literary text, they cannot overlook the specificity o f its form (broadly defined) and o f its singular use o f language i n order to be sensitive to the particular way it generates another type o f geography, to the particular way it writes people and place, society and space. (1994, 347-348) The novel is not source for geography, but source of geography: "I would like to move away from the analysis o f how a particular novel writes our geography (or "geographical  46  novel") towards a dialogue with its specific way o f writing people and places i n their various interactions that may constitute a fictional geography in its own right (or 'novelgeographer')" (1995, 6). It is through an interplay o f geography " i n the text" -  its spatio-temporal  coordinates, and the geography " o f the text" - through an openness and ambiguity o f representation, that a text's communication takes place:  To promote a dialogical relationship - the meeting 'of different voices and the confrontation o f different logics - is an attempt to be receptive to what is different in the way novels write and generate a particular geography. Texts are active entities: not only do they often force us to change our outlook, expectations, the way we question them, but they also resist us. (Brosseau 1995, 3) Revealed is the need to develop different strategies to interact with texts that manifest radically different forms. Brosseau echoes Brian Robinson's (1987) call for a geography that would not merely use cultural practices as a source. Robinson proposes that the realism and humanism that has dominated the relationship between literature and geography is thoroughly undercut by the literature o f modernism more generally. These literatures are stubbornly "recalcitrant sources". O n the one hand, the author is difficult to pin down geographically; as well, a self-conscious working o f language is central to the text, versus innocent expression o f place (Robinson 1987, 186). Relying on the experience o f fragmentation and a pluralised reality, the literature o f modernism and surrealism cannot be accommodated within existing interpretive schemes, and thus requires a revisioning o f the engagement between literature and geography. Conventional approaches to literature and landscape have also been challenged by efforts to incorporate a sense o f the broader social processes that entwine cultural production and literary expression. Literature gains a sense o f agency here as well. For  47 literary landscapes are not simply perceptive and environmentally sensitive pictures o f place in time; "ways o f seeing" that allow creative insight into the geographical study o f socio-cultural and environmental phenomena. They must be viewed in terms o f their ideological content and social and political effects.  The text is at once socially  constructed and socially constitutive. This perspective grounds Shelagh Squire's discussions o f literature, i n this case the work o f Beatrix Potter and W i l l i a m Wordsworth in the English Lake District and Lucy M a u d Montgomery's Prince Edward Island fiction. In her approach, representations and their existence in a range o f different contexts raise questions that lead beyond that what she describes as the traditional "humanistic" agenda:  Although it is neither possible nor desirable to divorce the writer and the writer's experience from his or her literary work, as some structuralist critics have is necessary to move beyond a purely humanistic appraisal to set both writer and work within a wider contextual schema. (1992, 141) Squire argues for an approach that accounts for such broader social and contextual elements. The construction o f literary landscapes through romantic ideology and its representation i n imaginative geographies have significant material effects beyond "sense of place". These romantic reshapings o f the social landscape are appropriated and transformed through tourism. In the case o f Montgomery, "just as Montgomery found literary inspiration i n the 'real' landscapes with which she was familiar, her imagined world has today been appropriated for other purposes, thereby shaping new cultural patterns" (1992,  137). Today, literary heritage is given tangible expression i n tourist  landscapes and plays a significant role in regional development: " A l l o f the literary attractions are part o f the evolving cultural landscape, however, and as tourism represents  48 a means through which to experience a particular interpretation o f the past, it is also dynamic, shaping new patterns o f cultural experience" (Squire 1992, 145). Out o f such approaches I argue a reformed engagement between literature and landscape can be built. Literature is therefore not simply expressive o f experience, or reflective o f the artist's soul which can then be examined by the geographer. Writing i n forms ranging from novels to popular fiction are sources o f geography, involved in the production o f landscapes and images o f place that are active in a broader social sphere, and must therefore be situated within the social production o f space. In this discussion I rely upon a theoretical framework that grasps the specificity o f cultural practice and this active role o f literary texts in the creation o f cultural meaning over space and time. I take from these approaches a revised geographical engagement with literature itself. O n the one hand, it must be open to the ambiguity and agency o f representation, and to the different and varied forms written expression may take. O n the other, it must be able to engage with the role o f cultural and aesthetic practices in not only the invention and expression o f a unity o f place, social memory and cultural identity, but i n the general expansion in the production and consumption o f symbolic goods within contemporary Western societies. The production o f landscape has been noted in art practices as well. Landscape has been a central conceptual category i n cultural geography. Approaches to visual art reflecting a re-orientation o f the idea o f landscape have also looked at the production o f landscape and place identity. The study o f iconography or symbolic imagery in geography has interrogated the landscape myths and motifs tangible i n visual and popular images and symbols. Since the 1980s, there has been a renewed interest in landscape with a focus on interpreting the sociocultural and political processes involved in its construction. Here  49 art historical insights have been applied in conjunction with semiotics, literary theory, new ethnography, feminism, postcolonialism, post-structuralism, and postmodernist approaches which variously and together have put issues o f representation, meaning, and human signification firmly on the geographical agenda. Geography's engagement with art history has brought a focus on landscape refracted through aesthetics and representational practice. Its prominence, meaning and role, however, have not remained static, rather varying with time, theoretical framework, or conceptual "lens". A n d the emphasis on the iconography o f landscape, on the symbolic dimensions o f landscape has shaped readings o f a range o f cultural texts. The conception of the relationship o f art history and landscape has had its own trajectory. W.J.T. Mitchell (1994), for instance, maintains that the study o f landscape i n art history has taken two major forms in this century, shifting from a normative analysis o f art to the social critique o f art: the first, associated with modernism, attempted to read the history o f landscape primarily on the basis o f a history o f landscape painting, and to narrativize that history as a progressive movement toward the purification o f the visual field. The second (associated with postmodernism) tended to decenter the role o f painting and pure formal visuality i n favor o f a semiotic and hermeneutic approach that treated landscape as an allegory o f psychological or ideological themes:  I call the first approach "contemplative," because its aim is the evacuation of verbal, narrative, or historical elements and the presentation o f an image designed for transcendental consciousness - whether a "transparent eyeball," an experience o f "presence," or an "innocent eye." The second strategy is "interpretive" and is exemplified in attempts to decode landscape as a body o f determinate signs. (Mitchell 1994, 1)  50 It is this latter treatment o f landscape in art history that has found expression in recent cultural geography as part o f the wider "interpretive turn," encouraging and reinforcing critical attention to imagery and the nature and status o f representation. In the context o f a broad "uncertainty about adequate means for describing social reality" (Marcus and Fischer 1986, 8), a revised understanding o f representation has been proposed.  Countering  a  mimetic  conception,  the  assumption  that  reality  and  representation are given and discrete categories has been undermined, rejecting the definition o f representation as "mere" appearances that are opposed to and devalued i n relation to "reality" (Deutsche 1991, 21). This theoretical re-visioning is useful as it has provoked questions around the representation o f landscape, foregrounding landscape as a value-laden cultural image which can be deconstructed and its layers o f meaning examined. Focusing upon what a landscape as a cultural image "means" has enabled an examination o f what it "does" and its performative capacity (Mitchell 1994); how it works as a sociocultural signifying practice, at once embedded i n and constitutive or relations o f power and knowledge. The emphasis on representation and interpretation is in no way exclusive to approaches which have drawn upon the history o f art to re-examine landscape. Stephen Daniels and Denis Cosgrove maintain that while some geographers "do gesture towards landscape as a cultural symbol or image, notably likening landscape to a text and its interpretation to 'reading,'" an art historical approach is intended to "explicate more fully the status o f landscape as image and symbol" (Daniels and Cosgrove 1988, 1). In the geographical focus on "pictorial way[s] o f representing, structuring or symbolising surroundings" (Daniels and Cosgrove 1988,  1), two particular and related ideas have  emerged - conceptualising landscape in terms o f a "way o f seeing" and o f "iconography".  51 Cosgrove (1984) proposed landscape as a "way o f seeing": "Landscape is not merely the world we see, it is a construction, a composition o f that world. Landscape is a way o f seeing the world" (1984, 13). Cosgrove is indebted i n particular to art critic John Berger, from whom he takes inspiration and the phrase "ways o f seeing". Berger (1972), drawing on the aesthetics o f Walter Benjamin, had explored the social and economic dimensions o f works o f art, arguing that the ideology o f representation in English nineteenth-century art served to naturalise, and hence to mystify basic property relations. Cosgrove similarly is interested i n the social character o f representation. Through the history o f landscape painting, he examines the dialectical relationship o f landscape and social formation. Seeking the material foundations for the idea o f landscape, he argues that the meaning o f represented landscapes is inextricable from the development o f perspective in the fifteenth century which coincided with the need for the accurate measurement o f land within a capitalist system. This way o f seeing then is inevitably and deeply ideological, representing the way i n which a particular class has represented itself and its property to others and cannot be separated from its historical context:  ... it is significant that the landscape idea and the technique o f linear perspective emerge in a particular historical period as conventions that reinforce ideas o f individualism, subjective control o f an objective environment and the separation o f personal experience from the flux o f collective historical experience. The reasons for the emergence o f this view are to be found in the changing social organisation and the experience o f early modern Europe... (Berger 1972, 27). A fundamental contribution o f Cosgrove's approach is the placement o f landscape within a range o f ideological signifying systems; here it is not an object o f empiricist investigation, but a social construct that shapes meanings and values. Cosgrove's  52  critique represents a sustained attempt to deconstruct the idea o f landscape, challenging the "naturalness"  and neutrality that had characterised earlier morphological and  positivist approaches. These, to Cosgrove, are "unconvincing as an account o f landscape to the extent that it ignores such symbolic dimensions - the symbolic and cultural meaning invested in these forms by those who have produced and sustained them, and that communicate to those who come i n contact with them." (1984, 17-18) A l s o foregrounded in Cosgrove's approach is the importance o f the visual, o f an "optics" in the conception o f landscape, for as he maintains, it implies a specific way o f looking. Inherent i n the construction o f landscape, therefore, is a gaze that involves power relationships with important implications for subjectivity. Landscape is far from a duplication o f the real - it involves what Jay (1990) refers to as a "scopic regime" characterised by "an allegedly disincarnated, absolute eye", and what Cosgrove refers to as a "visual ideology":  It is composed, regulated and offered as a static image for individual appreciation, or better, appropriation. For i n an important, i f not always literal, sense, the spectator owns the view because all o f its components are structured and directed towards his eyes only. The claim o f realism is i n fact ideological.... Subjectivity is rendered the property o f the artist and the viewer - those who control the landscape - not those who belong to it.... Perspective locates the subject outside the landscape and stresses the unchanged objectivity o f what is observed therein. (1984, 26-7) The implications o f such a perspective and gaze has also been raised within feminist theories o f representation. Here the theorization o f the gaze has addressed analyses o f the imagery o f women, but has also been extended to a particular visual form -  "that o f the self-contained and unified artwork whose meaning emanates from a  transcendent foundation" (Deutsche 1991, 28). Ideas o f landscape and perspective are  53 linked to voyeuristic models o f knowledge emphasising the objectivity o f the specifically masculine spectator or theorist (Deutsche 1991, Gregory 1994). Questions o f sexuality and gender, however, are not raised by Cosgrove or i n much o f this newer work on landscape, a significant omission noted by Massey (1994, 233) as well as Rose (1993, 87). The concept o f "iconography" o f landscape is also an important part o f the dialogue o f art history and geography (Cosgrove and Daniels 1988). The idea is derived from the work o f Panofsky (1970) and involves the exploration o f the status o f landscape as image, representation, and symbol, necessitating "the theoretical and historical study o f landscape imagery" (1988,  1). If landscape is a way o f seeing the world, examining its  iconography is intended to uncover the layers o f meaning by setting it i n its historical context and analysing the ideas implicated by its imagery. Images are considered not for their  literal content,  but  as they function as metaphor  and allegory, for  their  representational and symbolic force. For Cosgrove and Daniels, these representations  are embedded within social  power structures and the theorization o f the relationship between culture and society draws on Berger as well as cultural critic Raymond Williams. Williams, like Berger, also argued for the necessity o f attending to the social implications o f landscape imagery. Critiquing landscape i n English literature, Williams argued that landscape meanings are highly political and contested: "a working country is hardly ever a landscape. The very idea o f landscape implies separation and observation. It is possible and useful to trace the internal histories o f landscape painting, and landscape writing, landscape gardening and landscape architecture, but in any final analysis we must relate these histories to the common history o f a land and its society" (1973, 120).  54  The social thus lies at the heart o f iconographic interpretation: the examination o f visual images in order to disclose symbolic meanings "allows us to see human landscapes as both shaped by and themselves shaping broader social and cultural processes and thus having ideological significance" (Cosgrove 1984, 269). Landscape meanings are revealed as unstable, contested and highly political. The valuable insight here again is the deconstruction o f the established notion o f landscape, revealing it "not as a material consequence o f interactions between a society and an environment, observable in the field by the more-or-less objective gaze o f the geographer, but rather as a gaze which itself helps to make sense o f a particular relationship between society and land" (Rose 1993, 87). While it enables much, the art historical lens also has its limitations.  Rose  suggests Cosgrove and Daniel's emphasis on the interdependency o f landscape and capitalism renders peripheral other interpretations o f landscape.  She maintains, for  example, that Cosgrove's interpretation o f a particular art work, Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, as a form o f visual ideology, a symptom o f the capitalist property relations that legitimate and are sanctioned by the visual sweep o f the landscape project, can also be read i n other ways.  Drawing upon feminist art historians, she suggests that "more is involved in  looking at landscape than property relations," namely a gaze that constructs the landscape as feminine (1993, 93).  Proposing the  integration o f a feminist approach to  representation, Rose's point is that the prominent theorists i n the critique o f landscape have not demystified the optics i n their own work, and that other forms o f engagement with visual images are possible. Even as the interpreter o f the "way o f seeing" and o f the iconography o f landscape undermines dominant cultural representations, the interpreter remains in the dominant authoritative position o f conveying to the reader the meaning o f  55 the landscape. A s a result, it is the geographer-as-interpreter's reading o f the contestation involved i n the art historical image that is relayed through the geographer's writing. What is lost in this lens as it has been generally applied is a sense o f the dialogical relationship between interpreter and image. Interpreting landscape through the lens o f art history and literature has important implications for geographical research and this discussion. influenced the re-orientation o f the idea o f landscape.  Foremost, they have  The emphasis on the symbolic  dimensions o f landscape has involved readings o f a range o f cultural texts: "They may be represented i n a variety o f materials and on many surfaces - in paint on canvas, i n writing on paper, in earth, stone, water and vegetation on the ground. A landscape park is more palpable but no more real, nor less imaginary, than a landscape painting or poem" (Cosgrove and Daniels 1988, 1). Landscape, therefore, is not simply deconstructed, but is seen as increasingly contingent and contextual in cultural geography. Gregory (1994) maintains that this renewed interest i n landscape is one o f the cardinal achievements o f the new cultural geography - "one built around a recognition of its conceptuality.... the new cultural geography has shown...that the very idea o f landscape is shot through with ambivalences, tensions, and grids o f power that cannot be reduced to the marionette movements o f the economy" (1994, 98-9). Furthermore, focusing on representational practice in geography involves an emphasis on aesthetics - the subjective and symbolic as well as material dimensions o f culture, examining various forms o f cultural expression and images, and their role in shaping geographies and geographical imaginations. It is necessary to note, however, that it is not simply attention to landscape conception, but the theoretical approach employed that shaped how the symbolic and aesthetic dimension o f landscape is understood in  56  relation to the social. In the case o f Cosgrove and Daniels, an interest in the symbolic has been an ongoing part o f the tradition o f English Marxist historiography which has influenced them, emphasising the role o f symbolic imagery in the constitution o f class relations and the exercise o f power (Daniels 1993). The intent o f the focus on landscape as "way o f seeing" and "iconography" is a critique o f unequal social relations, important as it begins to demystify the perspective and voyeurism inherent in the geographer's gaze at landscape. It is the argument concerning representation as both constitutive as well as an intervention that I w i l l take from these approaches.  To say the impact o f cultural  expression lies i n the subjective and imaginative is to miss the point; it is a means by which cultural ideas are produced and reproduced, creating geographies i n a much more potent sense. Both approaches reinforce that landscape is not an inert or static thing "out there", but a representation  which plays an active role in shaping meaning and  understanding. Returning to Said's concept o f "imaginative geographies," it is precisely through the circulation o f cultural representations in concrete forms that invoke both power and ideology, like  literary and artistic production, that imaginative geographies  gain solidity and weight, shaping values, beliefs, and attitudes. If cultural practice is part of the ongoing reconstruction o f the landscape, there is no authentic identity or history to be regained. Further,  i f social constructions  and representations  are  implicated in the  organisation o f social spaces, "fashioned, shaped and invested by social activities" (Lefebvre 1991, 73), then aesthetic practice can intervene in that space. W e must be careful, however, to question how it is we see the aesthetic challenge taking place. I w i l l return to Deutsche, and her essay "Representing Berlin" in Evictions (1998), in which she  57 tackles this tension directly. In the case o f social histories o f art, often the work, rather than its effects has been prioritised. A s a result, there is often an assumption o f critical positioning, as i n the case with paintings o f urban settings: "social art history has frequently been attracted to paintings o f the city because it believes that this subject matter is intrinsically social iconography" (Deutsche 1998, 122). Separating the art from the city, cultural representation from the social field, artists' attitudes to a (false) external reality become the focus o f attention, divorced from any consideration o f representation that questions the  discursive construction o f urban settings  and the  effects  of  representation:  To approach city paintings as products o f preexisting individual imaginations, expressions grounded i n preexisting experiences, or even as reflections o f a preexisting social reality is to deny that the painted city is a representation - a site where images o f the city are set up as a reality. Treating city paintings as vehicles that simply convey meaning, conventional approaches foreclose questions about the role that these images play in producing meaning - the meaning o f the city as well as the experiences and identities o f city dwellers. (1998, 140)  The settlement of identity; the politics of memory Extending Deutsche's call for attention to the production o f meaning, the point o f the emphasis on representation is not to render the world immaterial.  B y locating  representations i n a social world, what is to be taken from these theoretical ideas is that they envisage landscape images and ideas in terms o f their politics and performativity in society.  Landscape images are duplicitous, states Daniels, at once expressions o f  dominant values and media for their reproduction as "natural". B y grounding aesthetics in the social realm, this approach vastly broadens our conception o f the political to  58 encompass forms o f representation, discourse and cultural expression.  Monuments  (Johnson 1995), popular music (Lipsitz 1994), and ghost towns (DeLyser 1999), for example, are all signifying practices which are themselves productive and reproductive o f "realities" - social meanings, relations, subjectivities, values, and identities.  This is  important to recognise, as the landscapes that typically get attention i n both art historical and literary realms indicate another limitation o f the field o f commentary. A r t history and literature are traditions associated with what has traditionally been seen as "high art," and though the conception o f landscape has indeed become increasingly fluid, when combined with the broadly Marxist emphasis on the use made o f aesthetic images by political and economic interests, the overwhelming majority o f recent discussions focus on dominant representational practices. Cosgrove proposes culture as "symbolisation, grounded in the material world as symbolically appropriated and produced. In class societies, where surplus production is appropriated by the dominant group, symbolic production is likewise seized as hegemonic class culture to be imposed on all classes" (Cosgrove 1983, cited in Rose 1993, 90). Landscape becomes a part o f this hegemonic culture; i n Cosgrove's work, it is patrician, seen and understood from the social and visual perspective o f the landowner. In discussions o f writing and geography, there has often been the restriction o f attention to what has formally been called "literature," again with "high" cultural associations. The result is that this approach has the potential to render peripheral the geographies that may confront and challenge dominant landscapes - the cultural geographies associated with the dynamic negotiation with dominant cultural representations. A possible way to resolve this exclusion also provides a way to resolve the inevitable tensions between literary and iconographic approaches in their focus on text  59 versus image. Each mode o f expression has a specific history, often at odds with each other. Jay (1989) and Bishop (1992), for example, have traced the history o f resistance to visual culture generally, and examined the hegemony o f word over image. Bringing them to a point o f rapprochement means being attuned to differences i n visual and written media, and by placing them within an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary social field necessitates seeing across contending literacies.  Rather than arguing priorities, it  becomes possible to examine the various ways linguistic, visual, written, musical, filmic, architectural, and other forms o f signification combine, converge, intersect and resist each other. It is also necessary to examine the interaction o f different cultural forms. "Too often," propose Duncan and Gregory, "journals, letters, and published writings are assigned to literary scholars and historians; sketches, water colours and paintings to art historians; and photographs and postcards to historians o f photography. W e suggest that the alternative strategy o f attending to the physicality o f representation imposes the obligation to read these different media together and, i n so doing, to attend to their different valences and silences" (1999, 4). There is a shift instead i n focus to points o f convergence, as we turn from an epistemological to metaphorical or aesthetic relationship (Bishop 1992). Landscape is produced through diverse cultural forms, all ways o f regarding things, forms o f signification offering different ways o f apprehending and comprehending spaces. A central relevance o f imaginative cultural forms for geography has been located within the symbolic and metaphoric sphere o f social relations and identification, within the reinforcement o f perceived identity and the spatiality o f social groups. "Imagined communities" (Anderson 1983) take on material form i n part through processes o f narration (Bhabha 1990, Barnes and Duncan 1992), representation (Short 1991, Cosgrove  60 and Daniels 1988, Daniels 1993, Anderson and Gale 1992), and through the invention o f tradition (Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983, Lowenthal 1994). The cultural meanings arising from such practices become fused within the very fabric o f place, as Senecal has noted: "Le territoire est une emulsion de l'identite collective: nation, region, quartier, pays se composent a meme les mythes, non seulement pour se nornmer, se reconnaitre, mais pour se concretiser" (1992, 40). A s a result, landscape and place are not simply "locations," but are social constructs, repositories o f meanings, attitudes and values that are constantly being re-made and re-articulated through representational forms (Shields 1991, Duncan and Ley 1993, Anderson and Gale 1992, Cosgrove and Daniels 1988). Discursive expression is central in giving visible shape and form. Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities (1983) has offered one example exploring the relationship o f cultural practice and nationhood. Proposing that such a sense o f shared identity entail "imagined communities", he maintains this form o f identification is constructed and made possible discursively. Nations are imagined "because the members of even the smallest nation w i l l never know most o f their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear o f them yet in the minds o f each lives the image o f their communion" (1983, 15). Nations are imagined "because, regardless o f the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail i n each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship" (1983, 16). Cultural practice has a central role to play i n the articulation o f collective experience, o f belonging to a social group and identification with place. Samuel has argued similarly, "The idea o f nationality...belongs to the realm o f the imaginary rather than or as well as - the real; it depends on ideas o f what we might be rather than what we are" (Samuel 1989, ix).  61 Providing an anchoring sense o f the past, a collective sense o f memory is a key part o f this. Hobsbawm and Ranger have addressed the cultural and political uses o f such images in the invention o f a number o f "traditions" which have served to inculcate certain values and norms. The result is that "the history which became part o f the fund o f knowledge or the ideology o f nation, state or movement is not what has actually been preserved in popular memory, but what has been selected, written, pictured, popularized and institutionalized by those whose function it is to do so" (Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983, 13). Various examples have been drawn upon to relate the way landscape has been imagined and represented with notions o f national and cultural tradition. Short, for example, explores how images o f countryside, wilderness and city are used i n the construction o f national identity: "an analysis o f landscape painting thus provides us with an entry point into how a society sees its relationship to that landscape" (1991, 197) In Fields of Vision, Daniels discusses "how landscapes, in various media, have articulated national identities i n England and the United States from the later eighteenth century" (1993, 7):  National identities are co-ordinated, often largely defined, by 'legends and landscapes', by stories o f golden ages, enduring traditions, heroic [sic] deeds and dramatic destinies located in ancient or promised homelands with hallowed sites and scenery. The symbolic activation o f time and space, often drawing on religious sentiment, gives shape to the 'imagined community o f nation. Landscapes, whether focusing on single monuments or framing stretches o f scenery, provide visible shape; they picture the nation. (Daniels 1993, 5) Imaginative processes o f identification, however, are not limited to national scale. The creation o f geographical community takes place at a range o f scales. The ties between  62  an "imagined community" and space or territory are not natural or essential, but actively created. "Keeping in mind that notions o f locality or community refer to both a demarcated space and to clusters o f interaction," note Gupta and Ferguson, "we can see that the identity o f a place emerges by the intersection o f its specific involvement in a system o f hierarchically organized spaces with its cultural construction as a community or locality" (1992, 8). Senecal has addressed this interaction o f the cultural and the spatial as the "spatial imaginary":  Les lieux, les trajets, les territoires se presentent ainsi impregnes de la conscience, de l'intentionnalite humaine, de l'identite. Parcourir l'espace, c'est devoir apprehender une realite subjective, composee des fragments de differentes epoques passees, assemblage de formes et d'habitus, formant l'enveloppe invisible des constructions structurelles et fonctionelles actuelles. C'est devoir aussi affronter les aspects sensibles qui, par dela les evidences, marquent les diversites spatiales, les variations incessantes de formes, les changements de comportements et de genres de vie, puisqu'ils en constituent la profondeur culturelle, empreinte de memoire et des traces de l'alterite. (1992, 28) Shields offers the idea o f "spatialisation" — "the ongoing social construction o f the spatial at the level o f the social imaginary (collective mythologies, presuppositions) as well as interventions in the landscape (for example, the built environment)" (1991, 31). Social  spaces emerge  differentiation  from  i n relation  to  and  are  other  made  meaningful  interconnected,  through  interacting  the spaces,  process  of  acquiring  connotations and symbolic meanings. This social construction o f the spatial involves:  the transformation o f purely discursive (i.e. ideational, symbolic, and linguistic) notions o f space and o f "imaginary geographies" into empirically-specifiable everyday actions gestures o f the living persons [sic], o f the crowd practices and emotional community o f affective groups, of institutional policies and political-economic arrangements, right up to the scale o f the territorial nation-state...and beyond to form geo-political alliances, rivalries, and spheres o f influence. This over-arching order o f  63 space, is reproduced in concrete forms and re-affirms reproduces "discourses o f space" which constitute it.  as well  as  (Shields 1991, 7) Supporting both symbol and reality, landscape takes on meaning and assumes the weight o f myth and density o f "homeland" through the interaction o f a range o f cultural practice, such as narrative, visual accounts, song, poetry, drama, and folklore, offering a complex o f "myths o f ancestry, historical memories, borders o f difference," and a "common name" ( A . D . Smith 1986, 15) that is central to the imagining o f community. In part, their importance lies i n creating a collective memory, as well as the questions and challenges they may pose. Memory cannot lie outside this cultural practice, just as cultural practice cannot lie outside memory. For whether personal or collective, memory serves as source o f knowledge and basis for action, providing the conceptual categories that underlie experience, as well as the material for reflection and expression. In this way, memory, as Fentress and Wickham have stated, can be "regarded as an expression o f collective experience: social memory identifies a group, giving it a sense o f its past and defining its aspirations for the future" (1992, 25). Further, memory is not immutable, nor a static, preserved fragment o f the past; it is in turn constructed, sustained, and moulded by experience and cultural practice: Memory has a texture which is both social and historic: it exists i n the world rather than in people's heads, finding its basis in conversations, cultural forms, personal relations, the structure and appearance o f places, and in relation to ideologies which work to establish a consensus view o f both the past and the forms o f personal experience which are significant and memorable. (Bommes and Wright 1982, 256) Johnson (1995) has suggested representations o f the past and place, and historical narratives i n forms such as art, architecture, museums, heritage tourism sites, and  64  monuments are sources o f spatialisation. They are key sites around which local and national political and cultural positions are articulated, and as such, they are important sources o f popular consciousness and political iconography. "Particularly since the 19th century," she notes, "public monuments have been the foci for collective participation in the politics and public life o f towns, cities, and states" (1995, 51). The question is not authenticity, but the sources and effects of the creation o f such imagery. " A n d what is the significance o f imagining the past i n these different ways? Cultural studies invariably ignore the process o f memory and focus exclusively upon its content" (Bishop 1992, 15). A s Benedict Anderson has suggested, " A l l communities larger than the primordial villages o f face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined. Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style i n which they are imagined" (1983, 15). Identity is reconstructed and recreated in and through cultural practices that are not part o f a static inventory with fixed meanings, but elements o f an ongoing dialogue responsive to the demands o f both past and present. " W e need the keep the sea from freezing." Andreas Huyssen has insisted, "In frozen memory, the past is nothing but the past" (1995, 260). To conclude, this chapter has surveyed a range o f literature addressing the relationship o f cultural practice and geography.  I have argued there is basis for an  approach that moves beyond a mimesis, looking instead at the role representation plays in the production o f meaning, the meaning o f space, as well as experiences and identities. In so doing, it is necessary to look at particular diverse points o f cultural production, in order to sketch i n relief the dynamic negotiation o f the stories whose telling has a role to play in creating space, producing collective memory, or defining "home." In this way, our eyes  65 open to the process o f struggle as narratives o f place are constantly destabilised, rewritten, and reconstituted:  ...we also have to think about the meaning o f dwelling, and to acknowledge, not only the dangers o f reactionary forms o f dwelling (for example, some types o f 'community' or nationalism), but the legitimacy and value o f people's struggles to create their own places and is one [observation] that must be placed insistently alongside the rhetoric o f movement that privileges detachment from place; we must do this in order to break down a new hierarchy o f difference created through the seemingly fashionable mobility-dwelling duality. (Pratt 1992, 243) This dialectical relationship is central to a conception o f contemporary cultural forms as productive o f imagined geographies and as "arts o f memory," in which elements o f 5  identity related to tradition, place, and landscape coalesce.  66  Chapter  II  T h e Place of A r t : C u l t u r a l practice a n d landscapes o f c o n s u m p t i o n  'To think like a poet': the artist, aesthetic gaze and the re-enchantment of space Anderson (1983) and others have shown how national, regional, and local identity emerges i n the midst o f imagination and globality. The relations o f space and identity must, i n other words, be understood in terms o f the production o f cultural difference within an increasingly interconnected global system o f cultural, economic, and political relations (Gupta and Ferguson 1992).  Today, aestheticisation o f the landscape and  identity through cultural practices often comes to expression within  contemporary  cultures o f consumption. In all cases, these creative practices can be described as elements o f a process o f "place creation", part o f individuals' efforts to mediate, as Oakes has suggested,  "the deterministic features o f tradition - what is 'given' - with the  necessities and possibilities o f contemporary structures o f political economy" (1993, 48). In this mediation, cultural producers may offer self-conscious representations o f space - images and narratives that are not transparent, but aimed at the aesthetic evocation of the historical transformation o f the rural landscape, at once defined by present circumstances, bearing tradition and directed at the future. A t the same time, their practices are necessarily entwined i n wider cultures o f consumption, which today are often implicated i n the re-definition and remaking o f place and identity. Bearing expressive values, arts producers are potentially powerful communicators and shapers o f taste. Often, the new meanings generated are involved i n the wider commodification and  67 gentrification o f spaces. This chapter w i l l set the ground for examining the positioning o f arts producers in relation to the countryside generally, and to Prince Edward Island's rural landscape, contextualising their practices and the values communicated through them. Various recent accounts have posited the artist and a wider aesthetic culture as the knot from which a number o f contemporary social, cultural, economic and political threads trail - threads which also have a tangible and substantial spatial dimension. The "counter-cultural" positioning o f cultural producers has been suggested (Martin 1981, Campbell 1987, Ley 1996). What I take from these models is a rough template for seeing the relationships and roles o f arts producers within what I have clearly already set out as a complex social field. While the binary opposition necessarily masks variation, it is useful perhaps to see it as defining points on what is necessarily a continuum, and as a way o f examining the artist's presence i n the landscape and its effects.  Within the recent  intensification o f expressivist and consumerist cultures, artists, as cultural producers, have been seen as facilitators o f the imaginative reshaping o f the contemporary landscape. They are seen as powerful sources o f "enchantment",  o f "cultural layering" (Simpson  1981) and o f a "citation o f difference" within space (Ley 1996). This generation o f new meanings o f space and place through aesthetic practice has been intrinsic to recent geographic restructuring at both global and local levels. A t a global scale, this has taken form as "shifting bohemias," as cities have waxed and then waned as world centres in the global cultural order over the last century, manifest vividly in a movement o f hegemonic control o f artistic production from Paris to N e w Y o r k (Guilbaut 1983). A t the level o f the local, the production o f symbolic meaning has been linked to changing urban and rural landscapes i n rapidly restructuring postindustrial economies. Urban areas such as N e w York's Lower East Side, Toronto's  68  Queen Street, Vancouver's Yaletown and Gastown areas, or rural spaces, such as Peggy's Cove, N o v a Scotia; Rockport, Massachusetts; and Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, have served as sites where a consistent pattern is visible: an oppositional, or "retreat" or "frontier" feel o f artist-inhabited or artist-represented enclaves has fed urban and rural gentrification and revitalisation, the festivalisation of space, heritage practices, and tourism ( N . Smith 1986, Deutsche and Ryan 1984, Bowler and McBurney 1991, Z u k i n 1982, 1990, Simpson 1981, L e y and M i l l s 1993, Ley 1996, B i r d 1993). A t a variety o f scales, these processes convey a contemporary socio-cultural geography marked by a spatial process o f tension between periods o f movement and periods o f stasis o f social groups, centred upon the artistic-cultural figure, thus implicating the arts and culture as powerful geographic agents:  - a trajectory frequently initiated by the social migration o f transitory groups o f squatters, students and artists seeking affordable, temporary accommodation. This process can be traced across the maps o f the modern and postmodern metropolises as localities and communities are included or excluded from the centres o f wealth, decision-making and power. (Bird 1993, 123) These accounts o f changing contemporary geographies refracted through the artist and aesthetic counter-cultural practice depend at a more basic level on a particular envisioning o f the thread binding the artist, space and place - the dynamic and dialectical relationship between aesthetic expression, the individual that is its source, and the social sphere; between expressive practice, cultural producer, and landscape. Broadly, the recent currency o f accounts o f the centrality o f the figure o f the artist in the social sphere and geographic restructuring is a commentary on a general process o f social change involving the ascendancy o f the cultural sphere and the intensification o f the primacy o f the aesthetic gaze.  69 The current appeal o f the figure o f the artist has been seen as part o f a more general world-view, one directed at the re-enchantment o f space and o f the world. Here, an emphasis on "utility" is challenged by a foregrounding o f depth o f meaning, style, and pleasure. The resulting inclination towards mysticism and mythologisation has been addressed by Charles Taylor as the "expressive turn" (1989, 22), focusing less on the nature o f the object and more on the quality of the experience evoked. In fact, "the very term 'aesthetic'," notes Taylor, "points us to a mode o f experience" (1989, 273). V i a the artist comes an attendant emphasis on sensation, on feeling, and on the aesthetic image more widely. In this context, the banal reaches new heights: "The demiurgic ambition o f the artist, capable o f applying to any object the pure intention o f an artistic effort which is an end i n itself, calls for unlimited receptiveness on the part o f the aesthete capable o f applying the specifically aesthetic intention to any object, whether or not it has been produced with aesthetic intention" (Bourdieu 1984, 30). Writing in 1981, Bernice Martin has argued similarly for the centrality o f expressive practice i n contemporary culture, perceiving this current orientation as one moment in an ongoing tension between two general ideologies that have prevailed in Western cultures over the part two centuries. She suggested that counterpoised are the expressive or romantic dimension, which "represents a romantic theme treasuring the subjective, the interpersonal and the aesthetic" and the instrumental or rational dimension - that "associated with the world-view o f modernism: functional, technological and sharing the purposive-rational values o f bourgeois society" (Ley 1987, 41). Because she sees these as existing in tension, the centrality o f the aesthetic today attests to a certain degree o f success or victory in the form o f an "expressive revolution," inextricable from wider socio-cultural trends. "I see the process o f cultural change i n the post-war decades,"  70 writes Martin, "as a continued working out o f the principles o f Romanticism which had rooted themselves i n North American and Western European culture at the outset o f the modern age" (1981,1). While binary models like that o f instrumental versus expressive and dominant versus counter-cultural, are simplistic and clearly based on a perception o f dominant cultures from the subject position o f a dominant historiography, I am going to use the terms for reasons o f methodological efficacy as reference points along what is inevitably and clearly a heterogeneous and uneven social field. These commentators offer a model for viewing the artist and artistic as potentially at once the bearers, manifestations and social bases o f change.  A n d this role is situated as fundamentally one o f opposition,  derived from romanticism's critical roots, its opposition to the rational. Expressivism has implied a strong hostility to the developing commercial, industrial capitalist society; to the dead, spiritless, increasingly secularised world - the world o f the "waste land." Martin locates the latest ascendancy o f expressivism as being tied to the assertion o f the "other" and to the critique o f everyday life associated with the artistic counter-cultural revolution of the 1960s, emerging as a critical aesthetic and populist politics which re-made the cultural fabric. A s she writes, "The shift began as a sort o f cultural revolution among a small minority o f crusading radicals, and finished by altering some o f deepest - and therefore most customary and commonplace - habits and assumptions" (1981, 1). From the counterculture, critique diffused to the cultural new class more generally, but the artistic subculture and the collection o f counter-cultural forces surrounding it which occupied the foreground o f that period were "a particularly colourful symptom, herald and agent o f structural changes which were occurring in the fabric o f advanced industrial societies" (1981, 6).  71 While the simplicity o f Martin's binary cannot be accepted unproblematically, and the qualities necessarily coexist and overlap, it provides a heuristic for describing moments and a dimension o f social relationships within a complex, fluid, social field. C o l i n Campbell has reinforced this link between marginal counter-culture expression and the expressivist orientation: "similar cultural revolutions had occurred before, and...the world-view espoused by the counter-culturalists could only be adequately described by the adjective 'romantic'," defined so not only for their world view o f romantic idealism but also for the aestheticism o f their cultural politics (Campbell 1987, 3). For Campbell, however, the re-enchantment o f space associated with romantic values not only involves an ideology o f transgression; rather, it is also tied intimately to the spirit o f consumption. The aesthetic gaze - source o f the generation o f new meanings within the landscape exists necessarily at a point o f liminality between aesthetic critique and aesthetic pleasure. The existence o f counter-cultural critique is, therefore, aesthetic  subcultures hover in an uneasy  field  inherently dialectical: "all  o f tension between rebellion and  affirmation, marginalization and co-optation" (Bowler and McBurney 1991, 55). Spaces associated with cultural transgression thus lend themselves to spaces o f cultural consumption, mediated by the aesthetic production, the "artistic mode o f production" (Zukin 1982). Cultural geographies o f modernity have thus been seen as dynamic mappings o f the movement o f the frontiers between mainstream and marginal, centre and periphery, as consumerist cultures consistently displace expressivist social groups to further, as yet "unappropriated," spaces. This tension within the concept expressivist or aestheticist has been also noted by M i k e Featherstone, for whom the aestheticisation o f everyday life involves three trends. One takes form as transgressive aesthetic and spatial practices:  72 Firstly we can refer to those artistic subcultures which produced the Dada, historical avant-garde and Surrealist movements in W o r l d War I and the 1920s, which sought in their work, writings, and in some cases lives, to efface the boundary between art and everyday life. Postmodern art in the 1960s, with its reaction to what was regarded as the institutionalisation o f modernism i n the museum and the academy built on this strategy. (Featherstone 1991, 66) This is paralleled by the "transgression o f transgression" on two fronts. First, the aestheticisation o f everyday life refers to the project o f turning life into a work o f art which "should be related to the development o f mass consumption i n general and the pursuit o f new tastes and sensations and the construction o f distinctive lifestyles which has become central to consumer culture" (1991, 66-67). Second, aestheticisation refers to the rapid flow o f signs and images which saturate the fabric o f everyday life. What becomes clear through these accounts is a particular dimension o f the politics o f postmodern cultural geographies: the parallel emergence o f an aesthetics o f refusal and a rise o f consumerist society, bridged by a romantic aestheticism, embodied in aesthetic counter-cultural form. The Romantic ethic is the nexus o f counter-cultural practice and consumption due to the juxtaposition within Romanticism o f a critical idealism and an ethic o f self and o f pleasure. The result is the difficult and dynamic coexistence  of  critical  aesthetically-  and  artistically-inclined subcultures  and  the  development o f new forms o f everyday life which have co-opted the critique and "turned up" the aesthetic, manifest spatially as the commodification o f the landscape and "the gentrification o f vast areas o f the central city, historic preservation i n control o f larger and larger fragments o f the city, the rise o f entertainment zones, or the mallification o f downtown shopping streets" (Boyer 1988, 93). The evacuation o f critique in favour o f the market has been noted in particular with respect to previously artistic and counter-cultural residential areas, as in such  73 settings as the Lower East Side and SoHo areas o f N e w York. Here there has been a cooptation o f the aura o f avant-gardism, and the market colonisation o f the previous locations o f artist spaces and practices. Occurrences in the Lower East Side along these lines are perceived by Deutsche and Ryan as a "co-operation" o f art scene and the process o f gentrification, manifest in the almost complete commercialism o f art:  Throughout the '60s and '70s significant art, beginning with minimalism, was oriented toward an awareness o f context. Among the radical results o f this orientation were art practices that intervened directly in their institutional and social environments. While a number o f artists continue contextualist practices that demonstrate an understanding o f the material bases o f cultural production, they are a minority i n a period o f reaction. The specific form this reaction takes i n the art world is an unapologetic embrace o f commercialism, opportunism, and a concomitant rejection o f the radical art practices o f the last twenty years. The art establishment has resurrected the doctrine that aestheticism and self-expression are the proper concerns o f art and that they constitute realms o f experience divorced from the social. (Deutsche and Ryan 1984, 105-106) Sharon Zukin has explored the spatial implications o f this trend through the lens of the practice o f "loft living" (1982) and the tension between place and market in SoHo. Here, the trajectory o f urban renewal has involved the changing use o f originally industrial warehouses through their occupancy by artists, and then the transformation o f informal artists' live/work lofts to middle class residences. The attraction o f the middle class to the spatial location associated with an informal social network o f an artistic subculture is based on the area's aesthetic and counter-cultural identity that implies value in terms o f cultural capital in a wider economy o f urban spaces. Artists themselves are the sources of "magic-making," giving the area an image o f style simply by their presence. Taken over by capital and the middle class, the "artistic mode o f production"  74 becomes self-conscious: "revitalization really involves putting into place an accumulation and cultural strategy" (1982, 176): in twentieth century America showed that it had a more directly 'capitalist' use. Particularly striking was art's utility to urban real estate development. In burgeoning centers o f international trade and finance, such as N e w Y o r k on the East Coast and San Francisco i n the West, developers found that art, when it was set within the proper physical and institutional framework - the museum or the cultural center - could become a vehicle for its own valorization. The growing value o f art also enhanced the value o f related factors: the urban forms that grew up around it, the activity o f doing it, and most important, the status o f consuming it. These processes o f valorization commanded - or even demanded - a wider public for art and culture that had existed until this time. (Zukin 1982, 177)  It was the counter-cultural historical identity o f the setting that made it marketable. A s Z u k i n notes, "In terms o f the cultural values that made loft living worthwhile, the real estate market in living lofts was set up to sell the social changes o f the 1960s to middle class consumers in the seventies and eighties" (1982, 191-192). David L e y has also elaborated this tangled dance o f "refusal with style" and "consumption with style" geographically, linking the beginnings o f gentrification in the inner city to the critique o f everyday life associated with the counter-cultural student movement and its enclaves o f the  1960s (1994, 1996). Consumptive forces  were  facilitated on two fronts here: the revalorisation o f the specific site o f the inner city as a meaningful site o f spontaneity and difference, and the aestheticism o f the critique itself as a cultural politics. A s i n SoHo, the appeal o f the oppositional identity o f the area and the emphasis on the avant-garde lifestyle exalting the figure o f the artist facilitated the incursion o f the un-critical, market-driven aestheticisation that has pervaded recent consumer culture and urban forms.  75 This tension between critique and consumption is not particularly contemporary; but is played out concretely at specific points and moments. The dual-edged nature o f aestheticisation was, for instance, noted by Walter Benjamin earlier i n the twentieth century when the poetisation o f the banal associated with the dream worlds o f mass consumption co-existed with such practices as Brecht's radical theatre, Surrealism and Dadaism (1986). M i k e Featherstone locates the roots o f this tension in the nineteenth century:  The aestheticization o f everyday life through the figural regimes o f signification...central to postmodernism, then, may have its origins in the growth o f consumer culture i n the big cities o f nineteenth century capitalist societies, which became the sites for the intoxicating dream-worlds, the constantly changing flow o f commodities, images and bodies (the flaneur). In addition those big cities were the sites o f the artistic and intellectual countercultures, the bohemias and artistic avant-gardes, members o f whom became fascinated by and sought to capture in various media the range o f new sensations, and who also acted as intermediaries in stimulating, formulating and disseminating these sensibilities to wider audiences and publics. (Featherstone 1991, 70) Over the past twenty years, artists and the cultural avant-garde have played a similar role i n the creation, dissemination and transmission o f sensibilities. They are the source and loci o f the images and identities which have fueled the conversion o f socially peripheral spaces such as declining rural spaces, derelict industrial sites, or areas populated by artists, squatters, the hippie counter-culture or marginalised ethnic groups, to tourist landscapes, upscale "yuppie" boutique strips, condominium neighbourhoods and residential waterfront redevelopments. Throughout, Zukin has argued, there is an inversion o f "the narrative o f the modern city into a fictive nexus, an image that a wide swathe o f the population can buy, a dreamscape o f visual consumption" (Zukin 1992, 221).  76  Rural restructuring: artists and the aestheticisation of the countryside Commodification o f the landscape is inextricable from the process and character of modern urbanisation. In rural places, the gentrification model also works. Generally, however, the definition o f the concept o f "rural" has been elusive and often narrow, drawing upon popular conceptions o f rural areas based on rusticity and idyllic, smallscale community living. A s a result, approaches to the rural have generally been overly simplistic, ignoring the interpenetration and connectedness o f social spaces presented i n the previous chapter. A s Robinson notes, in defining the rural, approaches have "tended to ignore common economic, social and political structures i n both urban and rural areas" (1990, x x i ) . Rural areas, though traditionally associated with specific characteristics, such as agriculture and rural economic activity, l o w population density and dispersed settlement patterns, peripherality, and remoteness (Cloke 1992), have transformed i n organisation and function through a wider spatial process: "while the stage theory o f gentrification is idealized and frequently incomplete, nonetheless it is a useful tool i n treating gentrification as a dynamic diffusion process, where residential location is the innovation that is adopted in turn by a chain o f quaternary workers who are aligned according to their ideological proximity to the priestly caste o f the artist" (Ley 1996, 192). The migration o f artists to rural areas can thus be seen as part o f restructuring and commodification o f the landscape, an element o f a changing understanding and necessary redefinition o f the rural associated with changes to local and global relations more widely:  (i) increased mobility o f people, goods and messages have eroded the autonomy o f communities  77  (ii) delocalisation o f economic activity makes it impossible to define homogeneous economic regions; (iii) new specialised uses o f rural spaces (as tourist sites, parks, and development zones) have created new specialised networks o f relationships i n the areas concerned, many o f which are no longer localized; (iv) people who 'inhabit' a given rural area include a diversity o f temporary visitors as well as residents; and (v) rural spaces increasingly perform functions for non-rural users and in these cases can be characterized by the fact that they exist independently o f the action o f rural populations  (Mormont 1987, 31, cited i n H a l l and Page 1999, 180) Rural areas have been reconceptualised as overlapping, dynamic social spaces. In this view, rural places, despite their image o f remoteness, are not separate from wider cultures o f consumption, rather, they are established as sites o f and for consumption. This is reinforced by Cloke, who maintains the countryside and rural communities are a context to be bought and sold. Discussing culturally specific Western and particularly British manifestations o f "countryside," he suggests rural lifestyle can be colonized; icons o f rural culture are commodities which can be crafted, packaged and marketed, rural landscapes have new potential uses, "from 'pay-as-you-enter' national parks, to sites for the theme park explosion" and rural production spans "newly commodified food to the output o f industrial plants whose potential or active pollutive externalities have driven them from more urban localities" (Cloke 1992, 55). Urry (1988, 1992) notes that changes in taste cultures and the rise o f a cultural middle class have led to greater emphasis on consumption o f rural landscapes, drawing other social groups with parallel values to the pursuit o f pastoral idyll, an attraction to the cultural symbols related to the rural lifestyle, and an emphasis on outdoor environments.  78 Commodification has been offered as a model for viewing contemporary rural landscapes. Greg Halseth (1997) has examined changing profiles o f rural places and their complexity.  In  understanding  process  of  rural  gentrification,  he  suggests  "commodification" provides a conceptual framework:  A s it is now understood and applied to the study o f social and economic change in the countryside, commodification refers to the valuing o f rural landscapes, places, and lifestyles. Visitors, or residents moving from urban places, i n effect "purchase" the experience o f being i n the rural landscape. This purchase o f an experience or o f a lifestyle occurs just as a consumer purchases other goods, services, or activities. (1997, 247) In this consumption, image is the prime commodity. A s Ley notes in association with the new urbanism, "It is a commerce which is scarcely functional; it creates value through its symbolic associations.  Indeed, its discourse falls through the net o f Fordist mass  consumption, for it is engaged in that most postmodern o f activities, the production o f meaning i n positional goods whose possession makes a statement o f status, offers a mark of distinction" (Ley 1996, 299). Important i n the growing significance o f the taste for and commodification o f rural landscapes is the attraction o f the counterculture and the figure o f the artist. Arts producers play an important part in this commodification framework, at once part o f changing social and political geographies o f rural places, and changing economic relations within global restructuring. Consumption demands cultural practices and draws upon the symbolic shape o f place. The presence and activity o f artists today and i n the past have attributed to the landscape meaning and cultural memory that is rich for maximisation by tourism and heritage practices, as well as gentrification. The result is a rural landscape  o f aestheticisation, through the attribution o f value attractive  to  79 consumption,  often  resulting i n the  co-existence  o f counter-cultural and tourist  landscapes, as part o f wider spatial trends. Research has shown that artists are a key part o f ex-urban migration, often attracted to marginal, small-scale, affordable living situations i n rural areas:  Reinforcing, and i n many ways closely linked with the philosophical musings on the virtues o f the country over the city...has been a growing movement to seek escape i n the countryside itself. From this has emerged the perception and use o f the countryside as an amenity; an environment set aside for urban pleasure and relief....we can add the various manifestations o f the back-to-the-land movement, from the Utopian agrarian communities o f the nineteenth century to the rural communes and alternative-lifestyle seekers o f today. (Bunce 1994, 77) Over the last century, as i n the city, the critical sensibilities o f artists, and their creative practices have subsequently resulted in the attraction o f some rural areas for consumption. A s Bunce affirms i n The Countryside Ideal, this pattern can be seen even in the later 1800s:  A t the vanguard o f exurban development were writers and artists seeking pastoral retreats within easy reach o f their publishers and their urban patrons. These were followed by a growing class o f the well-to-do: professionals, executives and entrepreneurs, as well as those seeking a peaceful place for retirement. (1994, 91) A  century later, the "back to the  land" movement  also brought a new  concentration o f artists to rural settings. In the 1960s and 70s, "hippie communes" which first appeared in the late 1960s were symbols o f the counterculture. Later, ideology entwined with the new environmental awareness and the search for an alternative and sustainable lifestyle encouraged movement into rural areas. Although Bunce restricts himself to British and American manifestations o f the "countryside ideal", i n Canada, the  80  same set o f factors brought settlement to marginal areas o f particularly Ontario, British Columbia, and the Maritime provinces with their supply o f cheap land. Their ideals featured a commitment to alternative technology, including organic fanning, small-scale industry, crafts and renewable energy sources, communal and co-operative  efforts.  Farming was the chosen lifestyle: "Writers, artists, potters, weavers - the arts and craft culture in general - have long dominated the movement. The farm is thus a romantic locus for art and whatever income it can bring" (Bunce 1994, 110). The nostalgia for the rural has increasingly been transformed into commodity form, as both natural environments and productive spaces conform to the idealisation o f countryside as a place o f leisure, refuge, alternative living and authenticity:  In a reinvocation o f arts and crafts aesthetics, the search for rural authenticity in the replication o f country vernacular extends from the perfect cottage restoration to interior design. does reflect the values o f that element o f exurbanite society which has given self-conscious and tangible expression to the countryside ideal in its private landscapes. That this has spilled over into the public landscape is evident in the refashioning o f exurban places around a culture o f country-style consumerism. In rustic inns and country restaurants, antique shops and craft boutiques, village fairs and summer music festivals, the culture o f exurbia has become a profoundly consumer experience. It is woven seamlessly into a preservationist ethic in which the creation o f rural authenticity goes hand i n hand with commercial opportunity. (Bunce 1994, 101) In the relationship o f rural places to gentrification, there is much ambiguity. Reflecting the growing role o f regions i n a global economy, the development and commodification of place may be a response to challenges to rural existence, an effort to reconstitute and reconstruct the role o f a region, culturally and economically, foregrounding the agrarian, rural dimension o f place i n order to bring outside capital into the region. Economic restructuring has been accompanied by a resurgence o f local and regional economic  81 planning as a means to assert control over space and assure survival and a future role for each locality (Cox and M a i r 1988). The outcome is that " i n some instances it has become the dominant cultural force, displacing traditional rural activities with a process o f gentrification that has converted whole communities into amenity-based residential settlements. Y e t it also offers the prospect for the revitalisation o f rural communities through the integration into the economic and social fabric o f exurban landscapes" (Bunce 1994, 110). Recent developments i n social theory suggest that i n the uses o f rural places for tourism and wider gentrification, attention must be paid to the construction and negotiation o f meaning (Cloke 1992, Mormont 1987, Bunce 1994, Jess and Massey 1995).  Shields (1991) has provided a model for an examination o f the importance o f  perceptions o f peripheral settings, "places on the margin," investigating the establishment o f meaning held by non-residents, the evolving geographic imaginations o f difference and transgression through which locations become saleable commodities to non-residents. Shields suggests the positioning o f the marginal as the site o f such tension and transgression, relying upon the work o f Bakhtin, embodied in his concept o f the "carnivalesque." Locating the expression o f carnival in particular forms and moments o f community marked by transgression o f conventional arrangements, his focus was the penetration o f a carnival element and practice into everyday life as manifest in the medieval folk tradition. Carnival implied for Bakhtin a participatory space where official norms, orders and institutions were juxtaposed with a second, inverted world, parallel to that o f official culture - a world associated with spaces o f the margin (Bakhtin 1973). Today, however, these sites are experiencing the impact o f wider global restructuring as frontier, fringe, "carnival" spaces associated with marginal social groups  82  are re-claimed by the mainstream because o f the alternative, counter-cultural resonance o f their identity and sense o f place. Artistic representation as well as an artistic presence and their sensibilities shapes meaning and the redevelopment  o f particular imagined  communities. In this vein, Norkuna (1993) has explored the role o f John Steinbeck's writing i n the construction and gentrification o f the literary landscape o f Monterey, California. MacCannell has examined the creation o f Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, as an image through the vehicle o f the art o f Andrew Wyeth. In this case, MacCannell asserts that Chadds Ford is a "represented subject i n two-dimensional art, a human community condemned to struggle endlessly to be just like its image, pure surface" (1992, 287). B y extension, the status o f place as an island adds another level o f marginality, otherness, and carnivalesque associations.  A central feature o f its difference is its  surrounding shoreline, a physical "limen" - the space o f the collision o f water and land entailing an indeterminacy which has been paralleled by the ambiguity o f islands within cultural and political maps o f meaning. Historically, islands have been spaces o f mystery, escape, romance and desire, wavering between "regions o f stigma" and "regions o f status" (Ley 1983, 158), and able to hold an endless range o f contradictory combinations o f associations which gives them powerful poetic and aesthetic resonance. In this way, seen as sites o f the carnivalesque, islands may become settings for "festival markets" where place is subjected to the aesthetic gaze in the form o f consumption-oriented leisure.  Tourism and cultural meaning In  such  cases,  the  "invented"  landscapes  embedded  within  spheres  of  commodification frequently give rise to the production o f difference for consumption  83 associated with the symbolic terrain o f tourism and heritage practices. Tourism, Squire has argued, depends ultimately upon the mobilisation o f cultural meaning: Tourism is about meanings and values which are both taken for granted and socially constructed. Landscapes become tourist places through meanings ascribed to them by visitors and promotional agencies. A s a form o f social activity, tourism is embedded i n the material context within which it is created and interpreted. (1994, 5) Artistic and literary expression have often served as sources for these symbolic values, as have historical narratives  o f events,  sites, or figures which lend themselves  to  commemoration in the form o f public monuments or public rituals such as festivals or parades (see, for example, Squire 1988, 1992; MacCannell 1992; Johnson 1995, 1996; Marston 1989; Jackson 1992). Increasingly, it could be suggested that tourism, a rapidly expanding sector o f contemporary economies, is a key influential force now shaping representations  o f identity, landscape, and place.  Constructions o f identity and the  imaginative geographies they convey are the very stuff o f tourism practices. Each tourism product is distinct and unique, but efforts to embed the association of an image, narrative, person, or event in cultural identity often form the basis for broader cultural tourism and heritage projects encouraging the "diffuse absorption o f 'local colour,' the 'taking in' o f a whole exotic scene with emphasis on material objects such as buildings, clothing, and the like..." (van den Berghe and Keyes 1984, 349). MacCannell observes that evoking a sense o f authenticity is generally the aim o f such endeavors, reinforced through an emphasis on tradition. "The progress o f modernity...," he writes, "depends on its very sense o f instability and inauthenticity. For moderns, reality and authenticity are thought to be elsewhere; in other historical periods and other cultures, in purer, simpler lifestyles" (1989, 3).  84  Through such representations, the symbolic terrain is at once expressed and reconfigured. In the case o f fictive landscapes o f tourism, such an understanding o f the relationship o f cultural practice and experience allows the perception o f cultural expression as productive o f spaces and geographies. Many o f the tourist landscapes that evolve from literary and artistic topographies challenge the mimetic separation o f representation and the "real" (see Squire 1988, 1992; MacCannell 1992). A r t and literature offer a certain lens through which place is depicted as well as the opportunity to participate i n the fictionalised experience. In turn, as the cultural practices are used as resources for tourism, the physical landscape often undergoes a transformation, gradually corresponding to its image i n art. In its pursuit o f the "authentic," tourism has become one o f the primary forces now shaping representations o f cultural landscape, identity and heritage. Tourist activity is growing at a rate o f five to six percent each year (Johnson 1996, 551) - activity which depends on cultural practices and products. Creativity and tourism are thus inextricably linked.  A s tourism and heritage research indicates, the process o f the construction o f  such symbolic promotional imagery is complex (Goodall and Ashworth 1990, Ashworth and Tunbridge 1990), providing a vehicle for the representation o f a range o f myths and symbols drawing upon, and shaping, the identity o f place and community. Tourism and heritage practices constitute one o f the ways in which, following Cosgrove and Daniels, "every culture weaves its world out o f image and symbol. For this reason, the iconographic method remains central to cultural enquiry" (1988, 8). The iconography o f "home" is also inscribed i n and by relations o f power, and is thoroughly a site o f contested meanings. B y designating valued elements o f the cultural and historical landscape, senses o f personal and community identity may be supported or challenged.  85 Within discussions o f space and postmodernism, the sharp local variations - the variegated "senses o f place" - that tourism-oriented expressions o f place and history demand,  are  posed  as  emblematic  o f the  constant production,  recouping,  and  appropriation o f local identity characteristic o f the geography o f flexible accumulation (Harvey 1989, Urry 1988). Tourism is associated with the collapse o f "space-time" associated with globalisation, through which the stock o f place imagery i n the consumer's musee imaginaire has expanded dramatically and we are able to "read with facility a vast array of cliched signs o f real and fictitious elsewheres" (Goss 1993, 20). Expressions o f place and o f heritage through such forms o f promotional culture are viewed as simulacra and opposed to "real identity" and "real history" (see Hewison 1987, 1989). This is the predominant framework in which expressions o f place and identity associated with cultural-historical tourism have been viewed, and indicates the polarity o f authenticity and inauthenticity around which "much debate on the issue now flounders" (Matless 1992, 51). Rather than viewing the results o f this influence as necessarily inauthentic, superficial, or homogenous, it is productive to explore the inseparability o f economic and cultural realms, placing the role o f commodification in an ongoing historical process o f cultural construction (Cohen 1988; Oakes 1993; Johnson 1995, 1996; Squire 1992; Urry 1995). Tourism representations are implicated i n the self-conscious creation o f the value o f a space in terms o f its "cultural capital" (Zukin 1990), as well as in the circuit o f the production and consumption o f cultural meaning, as "one o f the ways that the social relations o f groups may be structured and experienced and...part o f the 'maps o f meaning through which the world is made intelligible'" (Jackson 1989, 2).  86  In this view, and the one I w i l l argue through the next chapters, place identity does not dissipate i n this global context, but is localised and mediated through the contemporary cultural forms o f public discourse and representation available. Tourist sites and heritage practice may become the settings for the assertion o f place and local identity, media for self-narration and a "struggle for place" (Ley 1989). The images o f place which find expression within consumption practices are cultural texts involving the organisation and interpretation o f experience and collective memory, and often, o f the meaning o f "home". A s MacCannell has suggested, "tourism is not just an aggregate o f merely commercial activities; it is also an ideological framing o f history, nature, and tradition; a framing that has the power to reshape culture and nature to its own needs" (1992, 1). It is precisely because tourism products are more than cultural texts, potentially signifying identity, that they have functioned i n a host o f other ways and i n other roles counter to spectacularisation and arguments for endless free-floating signifiers.  Posing  an alternative vision for the role o f cultural production i n cultural tourism and regional and community development, Jafari has maintained the possibility for cultural tourism practices to enhance marginal and agrarian regions, through economic development and the preservation o f regional identity: It is essential that the developments best represent the host community, and that policies be devised to ensure harmonious developments by both private firms and public agencies. This should include the restoration o f existing structure and revitalization o f the cultural dimensions...central to the spirit o f the host community. (Jafari 1992, 576) Such prescriptions for tourism development, however, do not acknowledge the struggles over signification that already take place through and i n commodified landscapes. The  87  ability to see the cultural processes o f place and ethnic identification as engaging circuits of political economy gives Oakes (1993) a way into the Chinese tourism landscape, where he argues tourism has facilitated the revival o f M i a o culture. He describes  such  reconstituted rituals as a Dragon Boat festival - a large scale tourist attraction and site o f commercial exchange that simultaneously maintains a role in traditional courtship practices. In various forms, tourism development has been appropriated by local groups in cultural development. In light o f the negotiation o f M i a o culture with broader systems o f control cultural continuity or revival become possible. Blundell (1993) has observed transformative  practices as well, arguing that  through their own "souvenir" production, aboriginal cultural producers in Canada are altering the widely held meanings o f aboriginal communities and cultural forms. The commodification o f aboriginal cultural forms by non-native producers has been contested by the production o f objects by First Nations artists, challenge the representations o f mass-produced items that dominate the souvenir trade i n Canada. Here again there is a struggle over signification, while emphasising cultural continuity: the tourism landscape becomes a medium for preserving these forms in the collective memory o f First Nations communities and reinforcing cultural identity. The last point I w i l l make here leads into the next chapter that addresses how these themes have been played out in a Maritime context. I have argued in this chapter that we cannot look at cultural practices i n a vacuum. I have laid out a review o f research that has placed cultural producers within a context o f changing urban as well as rural landscapes, and made a case for a degree o f broadly similar world view and broadly similar tastes among them.  Cultural products regularly escape their contexts, yes,  slipping across vertical and horizontal borders without warning and w i l l be given multiple  88 meanings. But by considering their sources - a geography o f cultural producers with values, beliefs, and strategies, as Oakes, Blundell, and others have, I suggest that commercial logic does not necessarily extinguish cultural integrity. M y point is not to suggest that forces o f national and international political economies are not powerful. Rather, the artist and cultural producer whose practices are consumed and who are often objects o f the tourist gaze themselves, and the activities o f cultural production, all exist within and engage commercial processes so that they cannot be conceived o f as victims or responses. The idea I want to move forward with is that commodification does not inherently or necessarily destroy the meaning o f cultural products, like arts, crafts, and performance. If we resist the slippage between cultural production and the economic logic o f its circuits, a space is created where new layers of meaning may be added. Addressing the opposition o f authenticity and commodification, Cohen instead suggests a continuum with the effect o f bringing attention to the experiences o f cultural producers: For example, folk musicians , who play for money to an external audience, may be excited by the opportunity to present their art and proud to display their competence. There is no reason to assume that their music lost all meaning for them, merely because they have been paid for performing it. It would be absurd to argue that all popular music is meaningless for the artists merely because it is commercialized. (Cohen 1988, 381-382) Significantly, he suggests the possibility o f a continuity o f cultural meaning, for "commoditization does not necessarily destroy the meaning o f cultural products, neither for the locals nor for the tourists, although it may do so under certain conditions. Touristoriented products frequently acquire new meanings for the locals, as they become a diacritical mark o f their ethnic or cultural identity, a vehicle o f self-representation before an external public" (1988, 383). Cultural production within tourist landscapes thus may  89  entail potentially important and powerful processes o f self-definition and self-imagination within communities, meshing place, identity and memory. The resulting images and narratives o f tradition and identity are potent and constitutive forces, for cultural practices may serve as interventions permitting the articulation o f strategies that address the distribution o f power and resources i n society.  90  Chapter III  Imaginary Homecomings: Art, popular culture, tourism, and Maritime identity  Let the old pride o f ancestry be bent to a new realization. Let us have old home weeks and stories and poetry and moving pictures and more local history in our schools and colleges and anything else that w i l l bring this great fact o f Maritime Canadianism home to our hearths and bosoms as it never came before. (Sharp 1919) 6  Culture's transformations In 1996, the government o f N e w Brunswick produced a map for its summer tourist season, locating various cultural producers and institutions geographically. Titled "Cultureroutes", the map followed the lead o f another Maritime province, N o v a Scotia, and was followed i n 1999 by Prince Edward Island i n featuring artists and cultural producers and their specific locations as part o f government tourism strategies. In Prince Edward Island's studio tour brochure, D o n M a c K i n n o n , then Minister o f Development, invited visitors to "meet the craftspeople/artists in their own surroundings and purchase a memory o f an unforgettable weekend on Prince Edward Island." O n their surfaces, these maps are transparent expressions o f the matrix o f an interrelationship o f cultural practice, tourism, and identity. But as the previous chapters have shown, behind that static expression lies a much more complex set o f stories - the processes that have led to a certain geography o f arts producers, the role o f their practices i n signification and the  91 construction o f meaning and memory, and commodification and transformation o f that meaning i n the landscape. In 1996, Prince Edward Island recorded 1415 individuals employed in art and culture, 2.04% o f the employed labour force, N e w Brunswick reported 7025 or 1.99% o f the employed labour force, N o v a Scotia 10345 or 2.44%, and Newfoundland 4325 or 1.88%. These figures compare with a national average o f 2.7%, though it is heavily concentrated i n the major cities; Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are home to about half o f all artists in Canada (Ley 1996). The artists represented on such directories w i l l inevitably be a smaller selection than the actual population o f those involved in arts and culture as they often depend on direct requests to be included. Across the three maps, there this commonality: work in the area o f visual art is reported at the highest frequency, followed i n order by practices using fibre, clay, and wood materials. Artisanal products in the media o f metal, glass, jewelry, and leather figure least prominently. Other cultural forms, such as literature, music and film, are not represented at all. A small percentage o f the art producers listed are involved i n M i ' k m a q and Acadian cultural practices. Even with a cursory glance, the information is telling.  The relatively high  frequency o f visual artists - often producers o f landscape paintings - stands out, and landscape has come to be the key icon o f regional identity; fishing villages, working shores, rural landscapes, and industry towns are now reconstituted for the tourist aesthetic.  Fibre arts like quilting, weaving, and knitting, as well as pottery and wood  crafts, are cultural practices that easily become commodities, particularly i n the Maritime provinces where cultural history is consistently expressed through such craft i n order to mobilise folk and traditional associations o f a collective past. A l o n g with heritage and folk festivals, commemorative markers, heritage renovations, architectural conversions,  92 and the museumisation o f sites and events, such folk practices have come to serve as concrete expressions o f a cultural memory.  In terms o f the representation o f ethnic  groups, tourism has played a role i n defining minority ethnic and cultural identities within the landscape, expressed in such forms as folk festivals, craft production, and cultural regions.  A l l o f these are elements o f the process by which culture is transformed,  subjected to aestheticisation and represented for consumption, i n short the process o f commodification o f the landscape. This chapter examines the interrelationship o f cultural practice and art i n tourism as it has been played out within the Maritime region. A wider interface o f art, popular culture, tourism, and regional identity i n the Maritime provinces w i l l be drawn out in order to elucidate several points i n relation to issues raised in the previous chapters and to provide the backdrop upon which the case o f Prince Edward Island can be seen. A n overarching architectonic vision o f this interface would necessarily be flawed, for there is too much range. M y intent here is to open the expressive landscape to show ways cultural practices have been engaged in the commodification o f the landscape, as well as the ways they have engaged that landscape themselves. B y focusing on the "Maritime region" I do not mean to imply its inherent insularity or to reify its given distinctiveness or uniqueness. M y interest lies in its construction. In their engagement with regional imaginaries, cultural producers and their representations have drawn upon stylistic and creative influences at multiple scales, and have had roles to play and readership well beyond the "local" and "regional." Through several precedents in empirical research on Maritime cultural practices, I w i l l examine what representations have been made to do through the tourism landscape. A t the same time, I want to keep in view the informing presence o f the extra-literary cultural, social,  93  economic, and political elements within cultural practice that prevents us from denying the various, contingent, even messy nature o f culture and its transformations. Identities at any scale are somewhat spectre-like, materialising at  moments,  fleeting at others, and a generalisable identity o f the Maritime region has been elusive from the start. The sense o f identity that unites a group, spatialising history, does not occur naturally.  It has to be created, moulded, formed over time by ideologies and by  different groups with differentiated  interests. In his study o f the Maritime Rights  Movement, Forbes (1979) locates the birth o f the desire for a regional sense o f identity in the regional protest movement that emerged in the early 1920s in an effort to offset declining economic political influence.  He acknowledges,  however, that it was  necessarily an act o f imagination, for there was little in history to provide a truly collective historical experience through which the people might develop a strong regional consciousness:  Diverse settlement patterns likewise contributed to prevent the development o f a common historical tradition. Descendants o f the Acadian French looked back to a "golden age" before the expulsion o f 1755 disrupted their society and left the remainder a refugee minority in their own territory. The descendants o f pre-loyalist settlers i n Halifax and western N o v a Scotia fixed upon the 1749 founding o f that city and the victory o f the English over the French as the crucial period i n the establishment o f their society. N e w Brunswickers, particularly in the lower Saint John River valley, exalted the Loyalists as the founders o f the province and portrayed their values and virtues as deserving o f emulation. In the eastern half o f N o v a Scotia the Scottish myth reigned supreme, as its residents celebrated the landing o f the Hector at Pictou in 1773 and extolled the Scottish pioneers for introducing the best features o f the provincial character. (1979, 2) Forbes locates the impetus for a coherent cultural identity and regional mythology in the struggle against political and economic inferiority in the early 1920s. Reform  94 sentiment focused upon a desire to resist political and economic marginality i n broader national imaginative geographies. A n y sense o f Maritime identity, however, would need to be constructed due to economic rivalries and the persistence o f distinct cultural identities based around language, religion, ethnic identity, and historical experience. In order to develop a recognition o f the region as a unique entity with distinct regional values and aspirations, Maritimers would have to produce themselves. A broad program of cultural education was needed. There was an overt call for a linking o f cultural practices - "for old home weeks and stories and poetry and moving pictures and more local history i n our schools and colleges and anything else that w i l l bring this great fact o f Maritime Canadianism home to our hearths and bosoms" - by R . V . Sharp for the Sydney Record in December 1919. Titled " D o you know who we are?" Forbes suggests Sharp's article conveys a new sense o f Maritime identity that was emerging in the early 1920s, based not on political unrest as had been the case with previous assertions o f regionalism, but emergent from aspirations for a distinct regional identity to offset a "hinterland dynamic." Despite economic weakness, the initiative for cultural education seemed to parallel a range o f other developments in the arts and culture:  Radio, a key force in bringing music into the home and the schools i n the 1920s and 1930s, also assisted the work o f collectors and broadcasters such as Helen Creighton in presenting traditional songs and folkways to the public. Competitive music festivals, community theatre groups (often with links to the Dominion Drama Festival), local branches o f the Canadian Authors' Association, the Maritime A r t Association and cottage and handicraft programmes all came into existence in the inter-war years and stimulated feelings o f local pride and aesthetic achievement. (Davies 1993, i i , see also Tippett 1992) Forbes' reading o f this particular moment raises two important points. First, i n binding  a  range  of  expressive  practices  -  stories,  poetry,  moving  pictures,  95  commemorations o f local history, and old home weeks - to patriotism, local identity and pride, this period is significant i n that it illustrates an early trend in Maritime tourism, the thread linking cultural production at once to promotion and "boosterism," as well as to nationalist self-definition and identity formation.  Returning to ideas developed in my  discussion o f expressive practice and the social construction o f space i n the first chapter, it is possible to see a common literacy across different signifying practices in their role in relation to the performativity o f their imaginative geographies, and the invention o f tradition and collective memory. There have been strong and persistent  connections  between cultural production and nationalistic movements, mediated by an aestheticising, romantic gaze. In the Atlantic provinces, there is a much earlier vein to this. Philip M c C a n n has exposited on the role of nineteenth century cultural practices i n the invention o f Newfoundland tradition during the period 1832 to 1855, which was also an attempt to foster and promote nativist culture and patriotism (McCann 1988). The resulting forms o f cultural expression produced would have more than a nostalgic appeal. The motivation for these 2 0 century practices was varied, and an element o f the social backdrop was the th  regional movement for a distinctive identity and history.  Forbes suggests, "The  movement, which would become known for its slogan 'Maritime Rights,' had its roots firmly grounded among the deepest concerns and aspirations o f the people - aspirations of a political, economic, social, and cultural nature which were seriously threatened by the relative decline o f the Maritime provinces in the Canadian Dominion" (1979, 37). Secondly, Forbes' proposes that Maritime regional identity was a project, a conscious effort to gain power through cultural, economic and political  struggle,  acknowledging the instability and fragility o f the Maritime regional identity that was being constructed  due to the fractures  o f history, culture, religion, language  and  96  geography that existed. The resulting imaginative geography that was being constructed to counter an imposed peripherality was unstable and incomplete. Within the region, we can see other early imaginaries linking cultural practice and local identity. Within N o v a Scotia, W y n n has examined the development o f the identity o f a subregion, the Acadian Evangeline region, and how cultural practices such as the photography o f A m o s Lawson Hardy were used i n production o f a nascent identity (Wynn 1985). During the late 1 9  th  century and early 20th, the impetus o f hunting and fishing tourism impetus led to the promotion o f the region's natural landscape as its identity, which involved cultural producers as well. A s a professor o f English at King's College i n Windsor, N o v a Scotia i n 1891, poet Charles G . D . Roberts, known for his literary evocations o f the Tantramar region i n southeastern N e w Brunswick, authored the first o f several editions o f The  Canadian Guide-Book:  The Tourist's and Sportsman's Guide to Eastern Canada and  Newfoundland. In this visitor's guide, he lends his aesthetic eye to a descriptive and detailed account o f places and routes around the region, interspersed with advertising material (Roberts 1891).  Later, the region's landscape was involved i n the construction  of Maritime "beauty" through the development o f national parks i n the m i d - 2 0  th  century  (MacEachern 1997). Even i n these few abbreviated examples, it seems the imagination o f the region as a distinctive region has had multiple layers and different sources, and is not a single uniform construction. A s we shall see, the tourism landscape and cultural practices that have supported it show little evidence o f a common Maritime identity that might be based around the centrality o f sea, land, wilderness, or a common demographic and cultural histories, but rather indicate experiences shaped by different geographical, cultural,  97  ethnic, provincial, and other "subregional" realities, all o f them expressed in cultural forms. W i t h respect to the cultural dimensions o f tourism development and Maritime and regional identity, the work o f Ian M c K a y has been central.  M c K a y has addressed the  construction o f N o v a Scotia as powerful symbol o f home and tradition in his discussion o f place, culture and identity i n The Quest of the Folk: Antimodernism and Cultural Selection in Twentieth Century Nova Scotia (1994).  In a series o f essays, M c K a y ' s  project is a "genealogy o f 'maritimicity'" ( M c K a y 1988), discussing the role o f such metaphors for Maritime identity as the "fisherfolk" and the "rockbound coast" i n the construction o f regional culture, the cultural, political and institutional practices that have given rise to them, and also, what they exclude. It was i n the 1920s, coincident with the Maritime Rights Movement, that N o v a Scotia began to be promoted as Canada's Ocean Playground, a pastoral retreat where visitors could enjoy the authenticity o f a rural, peasant lifestyle. It was through sites and symbols like the Bluenose, the idea o f Scottishness, and Peggy's Cove, that N o v a Scotia would come to be identified among tourists as well as residents.  The invention and  attribution o f meaning to the marginal coastal community o f Peggy's Cove was achieved through the literature o f J.F.B. Livesay. Livesay's 1944 publication titled Peggy's Cove, was an example o f literary travel writing that contained written sketches and photographs, and was key i n the establishment o f this tourism landmark. It also provides insight into modern ways o f seeing the fisherfolk and the rockbound coastline o f N o v a Scotia's south shore, as well as illuminating current emphases on tradition. Livesay, M c K a y suggests, "invented" Peggy's Cove, projecting onto the past and present o f this St. Margaret's Bay fishing community his own concerns and values, a folkloric romanticism. Striking a  98  chord with broader, potent structures o f feeling, it subsequently took on status within a symbolic landscape: The central pastoral propositions - that there is something intrinsically quieter and simpler about the Maritime region, that what is most worthy o f commemoration i n regional history are the folk ways and dying crafts o f the nineteenth century have become a kind o f popular "commonsense."...Maritimers find their sense o f collective identity i n their folk traditions, i n their fiercely independent hamlets, i n their amiable rejection o f the twentieth century. Storm-tossed Peggy's Cove, securely nestled around its harbour, provides this social myth with the full guarantee o f nature. ( M c K a y 1988, 34) The mythology was reinforced by the work o f cultural mediators, those who gathered and mediated the communication o f cultural practices, such as Helen Creighton. In the 1920s, Creighton began collecting and recording songs, stories, and sayings among the "folk." The identification of the region with folklore and folk tradition had begun two decades earlier with the collecting o f R o y MacKenzie, and the region began attracting collectors from the United States and Britain. " W i t h varying degrees o f sophistication and intelligence, those engaged i n the 'Quest o f the Folk' painted a portrait o f organically unified societies with rich oral cultures" ( M c K a y 1993a, 5). Such collecting upheld an image o f traditionalism and gave credence to the idea o f the region as a site o f cultural authenticity that was organically unified and somehow pure, uncorrupted, and isolated from modernisation. Creighton quickly became an effective promoter o f the folk traditions, and early on was involved in their creation as products for consumption. In the process, M c K a y suggests the practices were moved from their everyday uses and rooted firmly i n commodification, marketed i n the genre o f a commercial antimodernism. Broadcast to wide audiences, the folk practices underwent a process o f transformation. Their reception  99 has also changed over time.  Today it is clear that Creighton and her work i n the  persistence o f culture appeals to local patriotism and nationalistic ideology. However, as M c K a y notes, however, the imagined community evoked by Creighton's folk culture is actually quite ambiguous: "Creighton defined a local tradition - the province's unofficial anthem, Farewell to Nova Scotia, which was 'discovered' i n the mid-1930s, would not be heard without her -  and her popularity was derived more  from  her passionate  identification with place than with any widespread enthusiasm for the interpretation o f specific folk customs" (1993a, 11). The use o f such sites, objects, and images as icons o f region entails an invented tradition, which M c K a y argues involves significant cultural selection and serves social and political functions. In N o v a Scotia, these images o f rusticity and the "simple life" constituted a set o f fused myths that provided N o v a Scotians with an overall framework o f meaning, a new way o f imagining community, and an image o f the province that was essentially innocent o f the complications and anxieties o f twentieth century modernity: " N o v a Scotia's heart, its true essence, resided in the primitive, the rustic, the unspoiled, the picturesque, the quaint, the unchanging: all those pre-modern things and traditions that seemed outside the rapid flow o f change in the twentieth century. True N o v a Scotians were those who could trace local roots from the pre-modern era" ( M c K a y 1994, 30). The transformation o f physical landscape into symbolic landscape is tied more generally to a broad antimodern mythology o f "The Folk", mediated and woven into everyday lives within twentieth century N o v a Scotia through specific tourism practices, the activities o f cultural producers o f folklore and handicrafts, as well as the art and literature o f the region. M c K a y links the expression o f identity to a wider "structure" o f feeling that can be found across forms o f regional culture i n the second quarter o f the  100  twentieth century: " i n the transitions from commissioned marine paintings o f vessels to sentimental seascapes and coastal views, from photographs documenting individuals and industries to Turneresque photographic studies o f the sea, from rural manufactories to recently revived (or contrived) 'traditional' handicraft 'industries.'" (1988, 35). The tourist realm that emerged was not separate from the lived experience o f Maritimers, however. A s M c K a y maintains, " It was rather the emergence o f a new vocabulary o f identity and the self, the mobilization o f a new army that seemed to give access to a deeper, pervasive influential and individualized truth o f society, history, and politics" (1994, 35). M c K a y ' s critique o f the new sense o f place that evolved is based on the essentialism and cultural selection it entails. The selectivity was not a case o f deliberate exclusion, but rather followed the script o f hegemonic politics; "shaped by ideologies and social processes o f which they were not fully aware, such cultural producers did not conspire to falsify the past, their sincerity and good intentions are not at issue. What is at issue is the conservative essentialism they installed as a way o f seeing their society" (1994,  40). M c K a y ' s critique argues this fabricated identity is thoroughly false as it  involves the erasure o f historical realities such as mercantile exploitation, racism, and poverty. Further, the reliance on a glorified, mythical harmonious past mutes political struggles o f the present: "The Simple Life o f the Folk: this is the enabling framework I seek to identify, to explain, and to critique... I view the reduction o f people once alive to the status o f inert essences as a way o f voiding the emancipatory potential o f historical knowledge" (1994, xvi). What I want to draw out here is the vision o f the interface o f cultural practice to commodification underlying M c K a y ' s approach, and its effects. In the aestheticisation o f  101  cultural practice and its subsequent use i n tourism identity, M c K a y ' s framework cannot conceive o f other roles for this representation except illusion, which results in his quest to find a "true" and "real" cultural identity for the region. He proposes one based on "real" history rather than a "false" myth, recovering the people that the myth o f the "fisherfolk" has ignored and excluded, as well as the history o f industrial growth and the labour tradition associated with it. The result is the elision o f differences among representations, suggesting that images were unproblematically and uniformly adopted "from the writing o f novels to the construction o f tourist attractions" (1994, 188). Although he offers some exceptions, i n his view much o f the literature emerging from this context uncritically reflects the wider mythical landscape and therefore can be read for the same myth o f the Folk, for a nostalgia for a lost golden age o f "innocence": ...a plausible short list o f cultural producers who worked with and on the Folk can be drawn up and it includes many figures generally considered highly significant i n the region. In addition to Creighton and Black, the list includes the creative writers Frank Parker Day, Andrew Merkel (with the "Song Fishermen: group around him), Thomas Raddall, Hugh MacLennan, and Ernest Buckler... This is by no means a comprehensive list o f the cultural producers susceptible to the appeal o f antimodernism and the Folk, it merely names those who made glaring and obvious use o f the idea o f the Folk and expressed a strong support for their "simple life. ( M c K a y 1994, 216) From M c K a y ' s standpoint, literature embodies the same "way o f seeing" as that o f history produced for the "tourist gaze" (Urry 1990). "From the invention o f Peggy's Cove as an icon o f regional identity," maintains M c K a y , "the transition could as aptly be traced i n regional literature, i n the mass enthusiasm for the schooner Bluenose, and i n the conscious reinvention and manipulation o f Scottish traditions" (1988, 43). Writers and  102  tourism are both seen as coordinators o f this antimodernism, working conjointly to produce a distinctive and commodified sense o f people and place: "it would be far too simple to suggest that local cultural producers either merely reproduced or were entirely separate form the touristic stereotypes o f N o v a Scotia. Yet, with very few exceptions, an interest in defining the N o v a Scotian identity... was intertwined with a tendency to define every aspect o f the Folk as 'picturesque' and 'quaint'" ( M c K a y 1994, 226). N o t only artists were responsible for the aestheticisation o f landscape and its commodification, for M c K a y also identifies a specific group o f coordinators o f a broad commercial antimodernism. Most o f the key signs o f cultural identity "were constructed by a small group o f cultural producers, mainly based in Halifax.  These people built a  powerful ideological network - o f both words and things - which guided (and still guides) many N o v a Scotians to a sense o f their cultural identity":  The project o f these cultural producers was a complex and contradictory one o f "modernizing antimodernism." Radio producers, advertisers, photographers, print journalists, travel promoters, state functionaries: here were the dramatis personae o f the sweeping cultural changes in the N o v a Scotia o f the interwar years. ...Local producers, themselves thoroughly integrated into North America urban culture and often residents o f greater Halifax, tended to highlight in their novels, paintings, broadcasts and photographs those aspects o f N o v a Scotia society they knew would be popular i n the international marketplace. From this position within modern culture industries the local cultural producers developed a profoundly antimodern message about the province (and often, the wider Maritime region) (1993a, 1) James Overton (1996, 1988, 1985, 1980) has explored various points o f a similar matrix o f the folk/primitive construction in Newfoundland culture and tourism, where a parallel development o f the tourism landscape occurred. He interprets the interplay o f nostalgia and tourism in Newfoundland and a regionalist sentiment in relation to the  103 construction o f a Newfoundland culture which has experienced a cultural revival since the 1960's. He, like M c K a y , locates the roots o f this invented tradition and culture in a view o f rural and underdeveloped areas based on a romantic way o f seeing: "The romantic gaze is towards the past and it is from this standpoint that they criticize the present" (1996, 103). Romance and consumption are bound together and have been shaping the identity o f Newfoundland since the mid-1800s, drawing tourists, and as M c K a y describes in N o v a Scotia, romance has also fueled a burgeoning cultural neo-nationalism, in which tourism is a facilitator: " A particular version o f Newfoundland was 'invented' for tourists. But it was not invented just for tourists.  The same totems, icons, and images highlighted for  tourists came to be seen as the essential symbols o f Newfoundland national identity" (1996, 17). It is rural Newfoundland and its way o f life which are held up as characteristic o f collective identity i n the vision o f the cultural nationalists and the tourist literature. For Overton, this is not due to the innocent adoption o f a myth, or overlapping taste cultures, but to the multiple roles played by cultural producers. " M a n y o f the same people were involved both i n creating a sense o f national identity and i n publicising Newfoundland. These largely middle-class individuals had a broadly similar world view and broadly similar tastes" (1996, 17)  Artists, as well as academics, and politicians are identified as  members o f the new middle class, and as playing a central part i n the formation o f this nationalist mythology. A s in N o v a Scotia, the expression o f identity comes from individuals o f the new middle class, often with roots or perspectives nurtured "away." A s Overton notes, "it is significant that much o f this literature is the product o f a group o f emigre and returned emigre intellectuals, a group o f new middle-class people with material or spiritual roots in rural Newfoundland and the outports" (1996, 119).  104  Cultural practices became support.  increasing integrated with state and institutional  Once "the ' R e a l ' Newfoundland" exists as an idea, "it is fed back onto the  landscape and the pattern o f people's lives.  A whole set o f government actions is  undertaken to make reality conform to this image" (1996, 118). Overton addresses the role, for example, o f Memorial University's extension service, encouraging  and  supporting projects o f performing and visual arts, as well as craft development.  The  result was a burgeoning cultural industry: "Capitalizing on the Newfoundland mystique, they produced a variety o f goods for the new body o f consumers that had emerged since Confederation i n 1949. The 'way o f life'  of rural producers was packaged and  commodified for consumption by the new middle class" (1988, 8). The "real" Newfoundland culture is an invented, imagined community with meaning in social and political terms. H i s purpose, he notes, is to  suggest that culture is a particular lens through which the world is "seen" and to raise some questions about how this lens was ground and the nature o f the vision that it allows. Concepts express real needs and feelings, they are an effort to grasp something significant and important about experience, they can be a protest against certain conditions or a sign o f oppression. ...the small region and the cultural community that the radical regionalists and those concerned with Newfoundland culture make much of are an emblem for a wide range o f social values which they regard as desirable. In effect, the region and culture become the standpoint for pointing out the inadequacies o f urban-industrial life. In the process, regional life and popular culture are romanticized and idealized. (Overton 1988, 16) A s i n N o v a Scotia, space as well as its meanings are transformed.  Through the  aestheticising gaze, the gentrification o f the landscape takes place, as fishing villages, and working landscapes undergo reconstitution for the tourism aesthetic. A l o n g the east coast of the A v a l o n Peninsula, for example, the presence o f the East Coast Trail now lends abandoned outports, fishing harbours, and working farmland a recreational use. O l d  105  houses undergo renovation and conversion, as has taken place throughout St. John's and smaller communities like Cupids; entire areas o f the landscape are heritage, featuring archaeological digs or historical pageants, and the museumisation o f culture leads to new buildings and sites o f commemoration and festivals. The romantic ideology that infuses culture encourages consumption. Overton's critique o f this construction lies in the selection that takes place i n representation.  "In this whole process," he writes, "a mythical rural dweller is created  who embodies both true human nature living i n harmony with nature (ecology movement), and the real nation (blood and soil ideology) The myth o f rural innocence is only sustained by a neglect o f certain aspects and features o f rural life (economic exploitation, for example), and by separation o f phenomena which, in reality, are closely intertwined:  the city and the country" (1996, 119).  Sharing a political-economic  approach with M c K a y , Overton argues such myths are "false," emerging as part o f an antimodernist impulse in a period o f socio-economic crisis. It is a seductive argument, because there is no doubt there are elements o f the pastoral, romance and nostalgia i n the region's cultural expression. The outlook has led others, like Vaughan, to see only simplification in Maritime myth. "The stereotypes used to market 'life in the Maritimes' constitute an act o f cultural impeachment; a replacing o f the diversity o f the east coast with a culturally resonant, supposedly benign, one-note ideal." (1994, 172) Both Overton and M c K a y pinpoint an aspect o f the potential role played by artists and cultural producers in the commodification process, by their membership i n a particular taste culture - M c K a y ' s cultural elite, Overton's new middle class. This bears further attention. A s addressed in the previous chapter, arguments have been made for a certain disposition o f cultural producers  - one shared by tourists as well. Bearers o f a  106 romantic/cultural nationalism based on authenticity and rural community values, they are involved i n the gentrification o f landscapes. The mythologising process they are involved in  has  material  effects,  supporting  such  activities  as  historic  preservation,  commemoration, and cultural education. However, while Overton and M c K a y engage the transformation o f culture and landscape that is achieved through an aestheticising gaze, such commentaries do not separate expression from the process o f commodification i n the social and cultural systems, like tourism, that might adapt it. The result is the antimodernist shading o f representation is conceived o f as "commercial antimodernism," in M c K a y ' s words. Little space is left for an active engagement with the cultural expression as a form o f imaginative experience, or to consider the significance o f the expression o f folk elements like the texture o f place and the texture o f language and idiom within the texts. N o r is there room for a consideration o f complexity or differences in the relationship between cultural practice and the construction and imagining o f identity and place. Understandings o f the interface o f tourism, culture, and society are not unproblematic. T w o directions have been suggested by research: the first emphasises the examination o f cultural expression for its ambiguity o f meaning, which allows for not only  commercial,  but  critical  antimodernism,  while  the  second  suggests  the  transformative character o f cultural practice must be taken into consideration i n its production o f meaning.  Imaginary homecomings G w e n Davies (1991) offers  an instructive contrast.  Addressing Maritime  literature from an understanding o f representation as a way o f knowing and as having an active role to play i n shaping sensibility, she provides a means to dismantle M c K a y ' s and  107  Overton's reading o f Maritime literature o f the early twentieth century.  Regional  literature, and other cultural forms, hold within them particular imaginings o f place. In the literature o f the early twentieth century, she sees the potential for expression o f a collective identity i n literature o f the region - one based on what she terms the "home place." W i t h roots in earlier social and economic realities o f the east coast, "home place" becomes a "symbol o f cultural continuity and psychological identification i n the face o f social fragmentation, outmigration, and a continuing hardscrabble economy" (Davies 1991, 194). The literature produced o f this context is not merely an "effect", or "the product o f middle class romanticization" (1991, 196). Rather, Davies sees a struggle to represent the changing Maritime experience, to deal actively with issues o f realism and representation i n aesthetic creation: "For the writer o f literature, articulating the nature o f Maritime identity is a nebulous and elusive process" (1991, 196).  A s for their  contemporary uses, adaptations, and circulation, the representations can still be seen as relevant today when the struggle to define and represent  home is paramount  as  communities adjust and redefine themselves and their role i n a changing global context. Davies argues for recognition o f the subtlety and range o f expression i n Maritime literature that is addressed by Janice K u l y k Keefer i n Under Eastern Eyes: A Critical Reading of Maritime Fiction (1987). Keefer contributes a definition o f regional literature that can encompass heterogeneity, where the imaginative involvement with the region can range from representation based on realism to self-reflexive to critique. Such writers are "saturated (as in the case o f Buckler, Raddall, Richards)" or "ironically gripped (as with MacLennan and MacLeod) by the Maritimes" (1987, 5). A sense o f place and o f the past does permeate writing o f the early twentieth century writers. B y delving more closely into the work o f two writers, I hope to show layers o f subtlety in their geographical  108  imaginaries.  While literature employed i n advertising historical sites can be open to  charges o f exploiting history and o f feeding an antimodernist urge to locate primitive frontiers and simple folk, Davies argues it can also be situated i n terms o f a revised sense of nostalgia, one which has to do with not simply longing for the past, but for the particularity o f place, and longing for "home" (1993, i i i ) . In this sense, expressions constrained by everyday life and dependent upon cultural and historical tradition should be seen not only i n terms o f romanticisation, but also as efforts to represent historical transformation, expressing tensions between tradition and "modernisation", rural and urban. Take, for example, Ernest Buckler's The Mountain and the Valley (1952) and Charles Bruce's The Channel Shore (1954), two Maritime literary landscapes. While it is possible to see how both authors present selective portrayals o f rural life - romanticising and thus reinforcing the "quest o f the Folk" and an illusion o f a golden age o f rurality, also tangible in their writing is a critical engagement with transformation - a critique o f modernity, evoking different ways "modernization" has been worked out on the rural ground.  Similarly, Erik Kristiansen (1994) has argued that both these narratives offer  more than conservative romanticism which "celebrates a vanished way o f life" (Keefer 1987, 200). Bruce and Buckler were not myth-makers o f the past, but instead proposed a "critical antimodernism" entailing an engaged rather than reactionary relationship to their present.  Focusing on the "history" that exists i n aesthetic productions, Kristiansen  examines different responses to the emergence o f a Maritime modernity as manifest in Bruce's community o f the Channel Shore and Buckler's Entremont. In order to offer an illustration o f possible engagements with modernisation, my discussion here w i l l focus on simply one dimension o f the authors' responses to  109  historical transformation: how the past is brought to bear on the present in both o f these narratives. Central to both novels is the depiction o f time and the role o f memory. Both focus on changing rural landscapes and employ geographies o f home and away, rural and urban to structure the narratives.  Neither community is a romantic refuge - isolated,  idyllic, cut off from the rest o f the world. But neither have modernising forces destroyed community.  Both  narratives  address the  complexity o f lived  experience,  the  interconnectedness o f past and present, home and away. Bruce and Buckler can be seen as actively engaged with modernity, describing communities that were being undermined by growing urbanism and capitalism.  But both are interested i n the interplay o f  transformation and continuity. In this regard, memory - the site o f past in the present - is central.  A s the  communities re-form under pressures o f change, memory has the potential to disrupt the progress o f linear time, mediating past and present. It is through memory that continuity and change may converge, for memory is at once a mark o f transience and trace o f inherited worlds. Through the play o f memory, historical transformation is highlighted not as an abstract process, but as mediated at the level o f people and their communities. Attention turns to, as Charles Bruce's character o f Grant says, "Queer how time lived" (1954,217). Bruce's The Channel Shore tells the story o f one transforming rural community. Change is a recurring theme i n the narrative, both physical and historical, and is often addressed directly: "The map's crossed lines, its small figures indicating elevation, its streams and roads and headlands, were merely reminders.  O n linen-backed paper the  county did not change. But in his mind the country lived as earth and rock, still lake and running water, barrens and clearings and standing timber, never quite the same from year  110  to year." (1954, 299)  Bruce constantly invokes the distance that separates past and  present. O n the one hand, this temporal distance is expressed i n the landscape: "This was the frontier o f an old prosperity. B y the opening years o f the nineteenth century all the land along the water from Copeland to Findlay's Bridge had been taken up...A few side roads like the school-house road remained, leading back through places stubbornly kept in cultivation.  But most o f the backwoods had turned to woods."  This  transformation is not a thorough and complete rupture, however, for the old persists in the new.  The use o f space reveals a lived dimension, the locus o f continuity - these  abandoned sites are now "places to search for small fruit grown wild, to explore for no reason at all, to name for a meeting place" (1954, 12-13). The historical transformation that is the novel's focus is mediated though the characters' lives and activities. Channel Shore  The  portrays a group o f individuals -each intertwined differently in the  tension between progress and "venture", and place and community. Lives are lived in this ambiguous position - not sheltered from modernity, nor unbound from the pull o f place.  Human relationships within the narrative thus represent a dialogue between  various responses to modernity and the choices and challenges they pose  (see  Kristiansen 1994). The distance between past and present is also evoked in terms o f memory and imagining. The role o f literature for Bruce, as Kristiansen has noted, is as a vehicle for remembering that enabled h i m to mobilize memory to resolve, on an imaginative level, conflicts and frustrations that seemed irresolvable outside the bounds o f aesthetic imagination (1994, 240). Memory is quite central within the text as well. Memory is continually interjected - traces o f childhood, generation - in order to situate the present: "...Something out o f time past came back to him" (1954, 299).  Ill Ernest Buckler is also interested in the relations o f past and present, continuity and change.  The rural community o f Entremont depicted in The Mountain and The  Valley is one that is also undergoing transformation. Buckler places his main character, D a v i d Canaan, at the centre o f these tensions.  Around him, community and family  change - dying and leaving - and David himself grows increasingly alienated from other people and the surrounding landscape. intellectual level.  A struggle with change is also depicted at an  A s an artistic figure - extremely sensitive, perceptive - David is  constantly struggling against transience, trying to express memory, emotion, "halfforgotten but instantly recognized pictures, odors, feelings, thoughts and impressions" (1952, 67) Buckler, like Bruce, sees the potential for continuity. T w o strategies within the text provide metaphors for a challenge to linear time and change. First, the prologue and epilogue mirror each other, so that the progress o f David's life i n the end seems contained within one day -  the final day o f his life.  grandmother provides an element o f constancy.  A s well, the character o f the  The only character remaining at the  farm i n the end, she is involved in weaving a rug throughout the narrative, a rug made up o f fragments o f clothing associated with particular events in the characters' lives. These pieces o f cloth and their associations are recombined, out o f temporal sequence, within the rug, which serves as a symbol o f the potential for continuity and re-invention.  The  grandmother represents a kind o f eternal, unchanging present, while simultaneously traversing various time periods. piece - "Scarlet.  A s she weaves, memories are associated with each  That was scarlet.  That was the cloak David had worn the night  someone laughed at his piece in the school play" (1952, 294-295). A s well, her memory  112  is a source o f narratives o f the past for David:  "He thought o f them i n the magic  moment when his grandmother said, " D i d I ever tell you about the time...?" (1952, 52). Memory is central for Buckler in evoking a potential for continuity. A s in The Channel Shore, transformation meets resistance where there is human negotiation and the potential to capture the past i n the present. Intruding forces o f change cannot undo human associations and the lived experiences they refer to: A n d now he was halfway up the mountain, where the leafless hardwood began. Past the branch road where he and Chris had built the lean-to and believed that it made them feel like men for the first time; past the branch road where he had done the thing with Effie that he'd thought was the miraculous shortcut to manhood, but hadn't really changed anything; past the highest point o f the brook that held all their images at some time or other as they knelt to drink, and now fell downward behind them. (1952, 282) A s in The Channel Shore, it is lived experience that is the site o f the crossroads o f continuity and transformation, where memory can bring the past to bear on the present. Buckler saw the ultimate potential for continuity in the face o f impersonal modernising forces quite pessimistically, however, perhaps represented  best i n David Canaan's  continually burning headache, his isolation, as well as his death which prevents h i m from writing o f his experience and that o f his family and community. A s the physicality o f both titles indicates, memories are bound to distinctive landscapes.  Examining the  way place  and  historical transformation  have  been  represented and re-imagined in Maritime narratives such as The Channel Shore and The Mountain and the Valley reveals not so much romanticism, but instead a complex concern for the intertwining o f place, time and memory.  Alternative responses to a  Maritime modernity are tangible. These texts do not indicate a straightforward romantic  113  "quest o f the folk," or a yearning to return to a glorified past state, as much as the necessity to bring diverse pasts to bear on the present. For as Samson notes,  Such variation reflects more than local colour or interpretive differences; it reflects the material and discursive bases o f a world positioned for change on a number o f different fronts, but where the outcome was by no means clear. There was no single countryside, no single essential type o f country "folk"; it was, as Charles Bruce writes, "made up o f people" - real ones, not peasant dreams o f urban historians nor the mythological progenitors o f neoconservative capitalism. (1994, 268) A s Brosseau (1995) reminds us, it is the particular geography generated by the work, its mediation o f space and time, tradition and modernity, that allows for the different outcomes i n such narratives. Texts are active, their representations performative, which also leads to a second dimension o f the interface of cultural practice i n the expressive construction o f landscapes - its engagement with its transformation.  From romance to tourism Tourism landscapes are fundamentally about transformation, as cultural practices change contexts and take on new meanings, including new meanings to landscape. Shelagh Squire's work on the dynamics o f cultural meanings in tourism settings provides a second means to approach cultural practice as they are involved i n shaping place and i n commodification processes.  In her research on Lucy M a u d Montgomery and the  construction o f the Prince Edward Island tourism landscape (1992, 1996), Squire engages an archetypal case o f literary tourism and an important precedent that must be considered in addressing cultural practice against the backdrop o f Maritime regional identity. Although Montgomery w i l l be dealt with further in the next chapter as to her engagement with modernisation, I w i l l lay out several points o f Squire's theoretical  114 foundation here. For Squire, Lucy M a u d Montgomery and her works, notably Anne of Green Gables (1908) demand an approach that moves in multiple contexts beyond simply the meaning o f the text to examine its role i n the production o f landscape and spaces. A s in heritage tourism more widely, literary tourism is premised on the public's desire to experience the "otherness" in time and space.  It therefore trades in images and  expectations o f people, places and particular historic periods (Squire 1996). The meaning of the literary text extends beyond its written form to involve the landscape. A s a result, questions o f representation, changing representations o f places through time, and the positions o f both "image makers and interpreters are therefore crucial" (Squire 1994, 5). The tourism landscape o f Prince Edward Island is very much tied to the promotion of the characters and narratives Montgomery created.  Tourist images o f Prince Edward  Island pervade the visual environment, in part shaped by these literary influences. A t one level, Montgomery's work is place-specific and historically- and culturally-contingent. Her recorded rural landscapes and villages, the small Island identity, and expressions o f nostalgia are a potent part o f regional consciousness. The landscape evoked was that o f the late nineteenth century, and a sense o f Island self-sufficiency suffuses her literature. Montgomery represented Prince Edward Island on different levels. She drew upon the local landscape, later acknowledging the fictional Avonlea was loosely based on factual elements o f Cavendish:  Thus, the long hill i n the centre o f the village, the sand shore, the site o f the old school and the local graveyard form part o f the present community much as they did when Montgomery incorporated them into her writings. Other details are also autobiographical: the literary 'Lover's Lane' was a path leading to pasturage on a village farm, the 'Haunted W o o d ' was part of another farm property and the 'White Sands Hotel' was based on a seaside hotel in nearby North Rustico. (Squire 1996, 121)  115  But imagination is used i n the transformation o f landscape into fiction (Epperly 1992, Tye 1994, Squire 1996, 1992). Montgomery's vision was shaped by her intense attachment and affection for community and landscape, recording it with emotion and nostalgia. Montgomery evokes the Island as a pastoral utopic site o f rural tranquillity and renewal, exhibiting a romantic, expressive aesthetic: "Montgomery's own thinking, and that o f her characters, is influenced by nineteenth-century concepts o f romance and valour, themselves much influenced by the Romantics..., and also by the Romantic and then the Victorian-Romantic revaluing o f medieval romance; Montgomery's nature descriptions are strongly influenced by the Romantic poets and by late Victorian romanticism" (Epperly 1992, 10). Images evoking pastoral nature, and a spiritual attachment to the environment appear in her fiction, journals and poetry. These images articulate sentiments that resonate widely at the level o f its evocation o f the Island as an agrarian Utopia and site o f bucolic nature, as well as its expression o f folk culture arising from a limited context. While "it reflects the author's childhood experiences and love o f a larger sense, Montgomery's novels reveal much about Canadian landscape preferences and, in particular, about the rural myth that still pervades the Canadian cultural consciousness" (Squire 1994, 138). Through the vehicle o f a romantic ideology, Montgomery offers a perception o f the environment based on the idealisation o f the primitive and o f rural life, and an attention to the aesthetic dimensions o f landscape. A s i n the cases presented by M c K a y and Overton, this aestheticised perception lends itself to consumption and the desire for authentic experience, Through the work's incorporation in the tourism landscape, "ways of seeing" become "ways o f being," and the basis for the transformation o f space i n tourist regions such as Cavendish, the location o f Green Gables, as well as countless  116 attractions and products relayed through the literary works. A s well, the novels have been interpreted i n other forms, so that the author's experience o f turn o f the century Prince Edward Island and its social conditions, are appropriated and transformed within a much broader cultural framework:  Such far-reaching cultural dimensions o f Montgomery's work, and o f Anne of Green Gables in particular, suggest that the books carry a variety o f contextual meanings. One aspect o f their literary identity and o f their links to nascent Canadian literature may be theorized i n terms o f the rural idyll. Yet this rosy view o f village life as depicted i n Montgomery's work is rich in mythic connotations that today still impinge on the Canadian cultural consciousness. Montgomery's impressions o f Prince Edward Island have been abstracted from the literary texts, transformed into symbols o f Canadian cultural identity, and represented i n other forms, in particular, through tourist development. (Squire 1992, 142-43) A t a very basic level, there are clearly many ways o f seeing place and landscape, and literature is one influence on perception. Squire calls for attention to not only the production o f meaning in the text, but to the contexts in which cultural practices circulate. In her framework, it is the meaning and representation o f space and its effects that bears attention: cultural practice is constitutive o f space and not its reflection and thus enters into the transformation o f landscape, undermining questions o f the realism or veracity o f the resulting geographies. The process o f commodification through aestheticisation is not equated with falsity or illusion. This conceptualisation o f the transformation o f cultural forms suggests we have to consider  the  specific,  contingent  ways  the  interface  of  art,  aestheticisation,  commodification and identity are played out, and the multiple contexts and meanings o f other cultural practices. Take for example, another case o f the integration o f literary work in tourism, that o f Acadian writer and performer, Antonine Maillet. In both novels and  117 performance, Maillet's writing features a strong sense of the time and place of folk traditions of New Brunswick Acadians. She has focused her writing on the experience of the economically-deprived and uneducated - scrubwomen, smugglers, bootleggers conveying a folk culture through character, textured dialect in both written form and oral performance, and through situations which show both comic and romantic vision. The audience for this work is international; she has performed her plays and monologues to Canadian, American, and European French communities.  Fig. 3.1 Promotional brochure for "Le Pays de la Sagouine," Bouctouche, New Brunswick  In 1992, a tourism site based on her work La Sagouine (1974) was developed in Bouctouche, New Brunswick. "Le Pays de la Sagouine" was recreated on an small island - LTle-aux-Puces" (Fig. 3.1). Located in the Acadian cultural region in New Brunswick, it features a long wooden boardwalk that takes visitors to a small re-created village - a stage from which actors perform monologues in Acadian vernacular, based on Maillet's characters. The audience is mainly French Canadian, largely families, who often remain  118 to have their photographs taken with the characters (Fig. 3.2). With a slight irony, this is portrayed not only as a transformation, but also a return. As the book jacket on a collection of these monologues reads, "Avec la creation en 1992 du Pays de la Sagouine au coeur de l'Acadie, le monde litteraire de l'Antonine Maillet retournait a ses originies. Ses personnages - et notamment la fameuse Sagouine qui a fait entendre sa voix unique a travers le Canada, les Etats-Unis et l'Europe - avaient desormais leur port d'attache: l'lleaux-Puces, ilot de foins sale dans la baie de Bouctouche."  Fig. 3.2 Visitors pose with the character of " L a Sagouine"  Consider as well the effects on regional imaginaries of the circulation of such representations as Cape Breton writer Sheldon Currie's - "Glace Bay Miners' Museum" a darkly humorous short story published in 1979 in the Antigonish Review and then in a collection of his stories. It is a portrayal of Cape Breton that would seem to resist romanticisation.  Published as a novel, The Glace Bay Miners' Museum (1995)  contributed to the script for a film based on the work, Margaret's Museum, that was released that year. The story was also the basis of a CBC radio play by Wendy Lill in 1991 and extended as a stage play in 1995, co-produced by Eastern Front Theatre and  119 Ship's Company Theatre in August 1995 at Ship's Company Theatre in Parrsboro, N o v a Scotia, and subsequently in Halifax.  The transformation o f meaning and representation  of space as cultural practices gain new audiences is not lost on Currie:  In 1962, i n Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I wrote a ballad about a coal miner named Charlie Dave, I used the song i n a short story, The Glace Bay Miners' Museum, which was later adapted by others into a radio play and a stage play, I rewrote the story as a novel, and it is now a feature film. I sometimes ask myself: Where did the story get the strength to withstand so many transformations, and finally to attract the enormous resources o f the movie industry to our beloved island... Margaret's Museum is an artistic monument testifying to the hardship endured by coal-mining families everywhere. It is a supplement to the real-life Glace Bay Miners' Museum, the brick-and-mortar building that looks out like a sentinel over the Atlantic Ocean and the invisible tunnels that stretch out under the sea. (Currie 1996, 28) The over-arching social and cultural value systems where questions o f heritage preservation, authenticity and community values are central have also precipitated numerous blendings o f tourism with nationalist impulses towards local identity i n the form o f festivals.  The Maritime region is well known for its promotion o f what are  typically called "folk" practices i n differentiated forms - folk music i n N o v a Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Celtic and Gaelic music traditions i n Cape Breton, Acadian cultural traditions throughout the provinces, traditional artisanal arts and crafts, and "folk art".  Traditionally seen as symbolic cultural behaviours and forms o f regional culture,  even earlier this century, as Creighton indicates, "the folk" that was produced represented the syncretic blending o f established tradition-based regional forms with new cultural elements. A romantic world view runs through much tourism and tourism production, as community, ethnic and regional festivals are based on production and consumption o f staged authenticity. Narvaez and Desdouits suggest they are "widespread, self-referential  120 rituals in which tradition and 'heritage' are invented and validated through the availability o f purchasable signs" (Narvaez and Desdouits 1992, 2). Tourism plays a leading role i n mediating cultural practices, identity and memory through such events and festivals. The tradition o f folk studies and folklore research i n the region has also been involved, reinforcing the sense o f definition to a diversity o f geographically- and ethnically- based communities.  The process o f gathering and  recording lends the work authenticity and reinforces geographical imagination o f belonging in a similar way to tourism. In turn, not only a cultural value, but an economic value is placed on the cultural practices. It is such communities and practices that come to expression i n festivals and folklorists themselves have often been involved directly i n the festivalisation o f folk traditions to enable their dissemination. A s M c K a y illustrates with respect to Creighton, early folk music and stories were often commodified and traded in the marketplace. More recently, Edward (Sandy) Ives, former Professor o f Folklore at the University o f Maine at Orono, Director o f the Maine Folklife Center, and the Northeast Archives o f Folklore and Oral History, began a career as a folksinger which led him to folksong collection. H i s work on Prince Edward Island songmaker Larry Gorman has led to the Larry Gorman Folk M u s i c Festival held annually in Prince Edward Island, which features local and regional singers and songmakers. Louise Manny, who recorded many New-Brunswick folksongs initiated the Miramichi Folksong Festival, which is currently i n its thirty-fifth year.  In other forms, Antonine  Maillet, as well, began her work i n the study o f folklore and went on to study at the Universite de Laval researching Rabelais i n relation to Acadian popular arts, influencing her later writing and performance.  121  Fig. 3.3 Promotion of the Rankin Family in Mabou, Cape Breton  In Cape Breton, Ronald Caplan's research on Cape Breton traditions led him to publish Cape Breton's Magazine, a publication "devoted to the history, natural history and future of Cape Breton Island." Am Braighe, a Celtic newspaper published from Mabou, Cape Breton by Frances MacEachen is devoted to promoting Gaelic culture, and includes articles about Gaelic culture as well as articles written in Gaelic. It also publicises song and music festivals, as well as products related to Gaelic and Scottish tradition. The link between Gaelic cultural practice and Cape Breton identity is strong. These periodicals are distributed throughout Cape Breton in community stores such as the one above in Mabou, a community that has become defined in terms of its associations as the "home place" of the Rankin Family (Fig. 3.3). The family of musicians has been integral to the Gaelic cultural revival of the last two decades, and also emblematic of its commodification. Before disbanding in recent years, as their music gained popularity it was viewed increasingly as having "sold out" to American markets which demanded a more "contemporary country" sound. Efforts to reconstruct an authentic "traditional" Gaelic culture are defining points of Cape Breton self-identity and its definition beyond  122  its borders.  Musicians are viewed as "ambassadors" bearing Cape Breton's distinctive  cultural authenticity and innocence globally. Such cultural practices have been influential in the transformation o f the landscape. Writer Silver Donald Cameron, as both mediator o f that identity in popular literature and researcher as Dean o f Community Studies at the University College o f Cape Breton, provides a brief inventory o f cultural sources in the landscape:  Y o u can touch it at the Gaelic College i n St. A n n ' s , which during the summer offers instruction in the language, the music, the dancing, the weaving. Y o u can touch it at the Highland Village in Iona, on Barra Strait, where historic Scottish houses have been moved from all over Cape Breton along with a store, a blacksmith shop, and other buildings to form a complete panorama o f the Scottish built heritage. Y o u can touch it at the innumerable summer festivals and Scottish concerts. (Cameron 1996,219) The tourist gaze has established culture and history as symbolic resources, and today tourism is a key medium for the expression o f identity. Finally, I would like to consider the politics o f representation that come to light when we start from a premise that  cultural  practices  are  constitutive  of  landscape  and  its  transformations.  Representations and their imaginative geographies may be put to use in struggles over the landscape. Elsewhere I have examined the assertion o f identity in touristic cultural forms in Sackville, N e w Brunswick (McCabe 1998).  Here, a conflict over representations  highlighted the complexity o f constructions o f home. In 1993, two interpretations o f the landscape came to the fore o f local public discussion, centring around two proposals for tourist-oriented constructions o f place, one based on efforts to integrate the literary landscapes o f turn-of-the-century resident, writer, and poet Charles G . D . Roberts, into the local tourism landscape.  The other centred around conflict over a proposal to establish  123  the contours o f an Acadian cultural geography as part o f a wider tourism promotion o f the Acadian history o f the region. In the case o f Sackville, one such cultural element that has been transposed to tourist-oriented practices is the association o f 19th century "Confederation poet" Charles G . D . Roberts with the area. The period o f time Roberts spent i n the Tantramar area was tremendously influential to his writing; his books and poetry are all powerfully evocative o f this place. The intimate connection between much o f Roberts' poetry and fiction and the physical site o f the region o f the Tantramar is reflected in the references to the Sackville area and environment that pervade Roberts' writings. Roberts' particular literary lens is that o f an elementary nostalgia and a critique o f the historical transformation he saw overtaking the landscape.  Writing his poetry and  prose in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Roberts' vision o f nature, landscape and place owed much to writers in the English Romantic tradition. Roberts' vision and literary work continue to have a presence a century later, influencing Sackville's contemporary cultural community. Recently, his relationship to the area has taken on another dimension, reclaimed from local memory and knowledge by tourism promotion. He is seen as a cultural resource, a valuable part o f the identity o f place. A s a regional poet, Roberts offers his own representations o f place, a resource to be mined by a new generation o f local boosters.  The reception o f these ideas was quite positive. For  example, newspaper coverage in an article was titled "If Scotland has 'Burns Country' Then W h y Not 'Roberts Country' for Tantramar." A n earlier period o f Acadian settlement has also become an important source o f such symbolic meaning. Coinciding with the Roberts discussion, The Sackville TribunePost carried an article regarding a proposed tourism endeavor involving the construction  124  o f stone caims or monuments commemorating the location o f Acadian settlements. The context for this was the 1994 reunion o f Acadian descendants, a huge festival that would draw 200,000 visitors to nearby Acadian communities i n the region. Reaction was swift and heated. Within a month, the weekly paper published nine letters to the editor: six o f them negative, three positive.  The negative responses often focused on the use o f  taxpayers' money for this project and questioned the constitutionality o f the proposed cairns. Tourism provides a vehicle for the representation o f a range o f myths and symbols drawing upon, and shaping, the identity o f place and community. Roberts' appeal can be tied to several factors. The first has to do with the current desire and inclination for such expression.  A s in the work o f Livesay and Montgomery, Roberts' writing and its  expression o f a tension between tradition and modernisation, rurality and transformation, arises from and reinforces a wider cultural discourse. But as the response to the Acadian monuments indicated, however, the iconography o f "home" is also inscribed in and by relations o f power, and is thoroughly a site o f contested meanings. B y designating valued elements o f the cultural and historical landscape, senses o f personal and community identity may be supported or challenged.  There is clearly a  politics to representation and the resulting public landscape. If the tourism environment is indeed a cultural production, the implications o f such choices and tensions over collective representations go far beyond questions o f economic development, i n fact engaging how residents conceive o f themselves and o f the meaning o f the place i n which they live. The differing responses to the incorporation o f historical cultural practice into the tourism landscape highlighted the contestation over the meaning o f place and the  125 substance o f collective memory. Cultural expression embodies the artist's orientation to historical change and political, social and cultural conditions - and their integration in tourist landscapes thus entail important and powerful processes o f self-definition and selfimagination within communities. Through such tourist representations,  the symbolic  terrain is at once expressed and reconfigured. These landscapes are cultural productions expressing social relations and thus play a role in defining what subjects and images are available for communication and public circulation. The defining images in turn shape the attitudes, actions and alternatives people can imagine and propose. They are at once rooted i n the field o f power relations i n which they take place, and act on and influence those relations. To conclude, I have provided here a broad overview o f the interrelationship o f cultural practice, place and commodification in Maritime region, laying out empirical research and the theoretical precedents that have been offered. What is clear is that there is no single unified Maritime identity.  Rather, particular constructions have arisen i n  particular places and times for differing purposes, often with an underlying mythologising o f unity based on a cultural romanticism. However, these imaginative constructions o f the region do not necessarily or naively reflect or refer to the wider social landscape, but may be attempts to represent an elusive, changing world. Identity is not a straightforward matter o f transmission or salvage, but is constantly reinvented and recreated within the dialogue and contestation that is culture. A n d so, cultural practices may be vehicles for memory and identity, deeply involved i n the politics o f representation  and the re-  interpretation and reshaping o f space in the present. A s a result, the interface o f cultural practice and commodification is characterised by differentiation rather than uniformity.  126  Expressions o f identity o f place and o f homeland in cultural practice may certainly have meaning beyond the lure o f nostalgia for vanished or dreamed places. In the next chapter I w i l l address the social production o f the Island's meaning and various threads o f its mediation o f modernisation and tradition. In this light, I w i l l set out the paradigmatic example—the historical identification i n tourism o f the meaning and traditional identity o f Prince Edward Island with the promotion o f the romantic literary imagery o f Lucy M a u d Montgomery. Framed within such a perspective, I argue that i n her case and the ones that follow it is necessary to examine the way place and historical transformation have been represented and re-imagined in arts practices. In locating the practices i n this matrix, they reveal not romanticism, but instead a complex concern for the intertwining o f place, time, and memory. Alternative responses to a Maritime modernity are tangible. These texts do not indicate a straightforward romantic "quest o f the folk," or a yearning to return to a glorified past state, as much as the necessity to bring diverse pasts to bear on the present. The meaning o f expressive cultural practices lies not in the forms themselves but in how the forms are put into action at a given moment and place to re-articulate or dis-articulate dominant spatialisations and ideologies.  127  Chapter IV  The Architecture of Islandness: Mediating tradition and modernity, home and away  The architecture of Islandness Cultural practice has been central in giving form to the construction o f the collective value and myth o f "Islandness," and i n the creation o f cultural meaning over space and time. Bound to landscape and culture, historical and economic circumstances, the myths o f place that have evolved are built from a sense o f shared historical experience, as well as o f difference and independence from what lies beyond the physical and symbolic boundary o f the shoreline. Although physically autonomous, imaginative geographies have done as much work as the sea in dramatising the distance between, and the difference between, the Same and the Other.  The architecture o f Islandness is  comprised o f layers o f varying interpretations o f relations between individuals, their actions, social structures, and environmental setting. It is, by its very nature, a dynamic cultural interplay o f home and away, tradition and modernisation. Islanders  have  consistently drawn upon the "land beyond" i n constructing their economic, social, cultural, and political meaning. A s well, its agrarian landscape that has been slow to modernize but aestheticised with ease has been embedded firmly i n efforts o f selfdefinition. That is not to say that substantial conflicts and fissures cannot exist within the Island. A t any point in time, imaginative geographies w i l l inevitably be challenged and  128  jostled by others within a heterogeneous social field. This chapter w i l l address the social production o f the Island's meaning and various threads o f its mediation o f modernisation and tradition.  In this context, I w i l l set out the paradigmatic example—the historical  identification in tourism o f the meaning and traditional identity o f Prince Edward Island with the promotion o f the romantic literary imagery o f Lucy M a u d Montgomery. A s the previous chapter indicated, in her response to the historical transformation o f the rural landscape, Montgomery's work was incorporated into an already existing structure o f feeling, a romantic antimodernism with roots and reach far beyond the Island. This broad sentiment promoted the values o f the premodern, small-scale, face-to-face community o f the late 1800s and early 1900s, which is perceived to dominate the historical imagery o f this place. Montgomery's cultural practice has been central in the subsequent definition o f the space o f the Island as "home place." The primacy o f her association with the Island may be the reason that beyond the hypostatization o f Anne o f Green Gables, the three cases o f cultural practice which follow w i l l engage other imaginaries o f Islandness, revealing persistent tensions o f tradition versus modernisation. Forces o f localism and identity, o f course, are not exclusive to islands.  The  creation and use o f symbolic resources that at once inform and are informed by the historical, economic and political conditions o f locale, as well as respond to broader global forces, are integral to the definition and maintenance o f all places. A s has been established i n the previous chapters, geographic imagination and historical memory are not static, but malleable and always evolving. They are produced and negotiated through complex interaction and across multiple geographic scales. Such an interdependent and relational nature o f identity characterises Prince Edward Island. "Keeping in mind that notions o f locality or community refer to both a demarcated physical space and to clusters  129 o f interaction," note Gupta and Ferguson, "we can see that the identity o f a place emerges by the intersection o f its involvement in a system o f hierarchically organized spaces with its cultural construction as a community or locality" (1992, 8). H o w geography and history have been expressed forms the crux o f Prince Edward Island's "Islandness". Material experience o f place is mediated through expressive practices that act to define, shape, and extend perception and understanding. The lived, representational space o f the Island - the product of the interweaving o f different cultural sources - is a hybrid, intertextual space, for images do not remain extraneous, but are intrinsic to material circumstances o f experience. Each account o f space  interacts  recursively with other forms o f understanding. A t the intersection o f social constructions, cultural conceptions and practices, social space is "infinitely fine-grained, myth-laden, qualitatively inflected, and people-filled" (Shields 1992, 189). A t issue in cultural expression is not a question o f realism, or the veracity o f images,  for as Burgin acknowledges, "representations cannot simply be tested against  reality, as reality is itself constituted through the agency o f representation" (1996, 238). More significant is the process and impact o f particular imaginings o f place and history. The meanings and myths associated with the construction o f landscape are not freefloating or randomly attributed.  Selected elements o f the past and o f landscapes  symbolising the particularity o f territory and shared tradition become a focus for individual and collective identification, and play a role in the reproduction and transformation o f that place. Images and narratives which occur i n cultural practice are constructed into collective and individual memories, creating the recognisable fictions o f place identities, supporting specific political aims and ideologies (Ashworth and Larkham 1994).  130 In Prince Edward Island, these images and narratives also come to expression in tourism, reinforcing certain perceptions and uses o f the Island landscape. Prince Edward Island's history is characterised by changes experienced by many communities engaging such forces o f economic restructuring. In rural areas, this transformation has most often been manifest as challenges to an established staple economy and a rise o f forms o f aestheticisation as places shift from being centres o f production to sites for consumption. A s a result, Urry maintains, "there is hardly a village, town or city which does not have the promotion o f tourism as one o f its key objectives. A n d this is increasingly true worldwide" (1992, 10). International tourism research has found Island tourism to be based on the creation and reinforcement o f difference. "Islands are perceived, by visitors, to offer a significantly different environment to the pace and pressures o f 'normal,' particularly urban, living...islands are seen as slower paced, perhaps 'backward' in their culture, emphasising traditional, old fashioned values - a real chance to 'get away from it a l l ' " (Baum  1996, 21). A n island takes on meaning i n contrast to the physical and  psychological realities o f everyday existence. A high level o f dependence on tourism is, therefore, a characteristic feature o f many small island communities. Whereas tourism in, for example, Germany represents 1% o f G D P , i n the United Kingdom, 1.5%, in Prince Edward Island, it represent approximately 9.9% o f the Island's economic activity i n 1996 (Prince Edward Island 1997, 3).  The main pursuit o f Prince Edward Island's private  sector remains the production o f food (Beaudin 1998, 94): the contribution o f agriculture to the total G D P o f $2,648 million o f current dollars in 1996 was $294 million.  That  year, tourism ranked second, contributing $171 million (Prince Edward Island 1997). However, by then o f 1997, after the opening o f the Confederation Bridge, the number o f  131 visitors during the prime tourist season from mid-May to the end o f October had grown from 788,000 i n 1996 to 1.24 million i n 1997 (Prince Edward Island 1997, 3).  7  As a  result, tourism strengthened its contribution to the G D P by attracting an estimated $262.7 million i n visitor spending in 1997, compared with $171.2 million over the same period in 1996. Cultural practice is inevitably affected.  T w o important facets o f the tourism  industry in the area o f culture are the arts (embracing the visual arts, musical and dramatic performances) and craft production. The association o f artists with Prince Edward Island is longstanding. A s early as the late 19  th  century, a creative cultural community was  established. Locations on the Island served as residences to enclaves o f those with artistic and literary inclinations. The solitude and character o f many outlying areas o f the Island have been attractive to the cultural community, such as a thespian colony i n Bay Fortune which dates from the late nineteenth century, where actors and writers have resided for much o f the last century. The first summer actors' colony was established here around the turn o f the century by Charles Flockton. The colony was later home to Elmer Harris, the American playwright who wrote the play Johnny Belinda. Harris' residence subsequently belonged to late Canadian actor Colleen Dewhurst and her husband George C . Scott, and reflecting the wider transition to consumption, it now houses the Inn at Bay Fortune. ' The 1970s drew many arts and craft producers to the Island as part o f the "back to the land" movement, a counter-cultural element drawn by inexpensive land, who shared an interest i n environmental awareness, small-scale rural values, the historical integrity o f landscape and cultural continuity. They settled i n areas such as the D i x o n Road i n central Prince Edward Island. Certain rural landscapes  and locations were attractive  as  "oppositional spaces: socially diverse, welcoming difference, tolerant, creative, valuing  132 the old, the hand-crafted, the personalized, countering hierarchical lines o f authority" (Ley 1996, 210). The area o f D i x o n Road and locations such as Victoria and Flat River have gained significance and an alternative cultural image as centres o f cultural production, and still house substantial creative communities and craft production that are incorporated within the tourism and craft industry. Inwood and Chamard (1986) have noted the relatively greater importance o f the small-scale artisanal production in the rural Maritimes, which is in clear evidence i n Prince Edward Island. In 1998, there were 170 outlets on Prince Edward Island where crafts were sold, sometimes directly by individual producers and by stores offering a variety o f products by a range o f cultural producers. There are hundreds o f craft producers on the Island, most o f them pursuing their trades as second careers or as income supplements, and the supply o f crafts is already outstripped by demand (Beaudin 1998, 104). Tourism is a major economic support for artists, performers,  and cultural  producers. A study conducted by Heritage Canada in 1998 reported that the cultural sector as a whole, including arts, crafts, and technical support to theatres, contributed as much as $64 million to the Island G D P in 1995 and employed twenty-four hundred people (Durand 1997). The value o f such practices in the Island's economic development has been acknowledged, for example, in The Story in the Landscape: The Promise of Cultural Tourism, a 1997 report o f the Cultural Tourism Planning Committee:  Culture tourism has a view towards sustainability o f nature and way o f life as well as promoting development and marketability by including heritage tourism, literary tourism and ecotourism. It was also recognized that cultural tourism is not a product but a process, one o f making our communities more liveable for ourselves and consequently o f interest and enjoyable for visitors, too. (Joliffe 1997, 7-8)  133 M u c h effort and promotion goes toward the association o f the Island with Montgomery's fictional Anne of Green Gables (1908). The spin-offs from literary work are clearly important economically; visits to the Cavendish area accounted for nearly half of overnight stays by visitors to rural areas o f the Island. In Charlottetown, one o f the anchors o f the Island's tourist industry is the Confederation Centre o f the Arts which includes an art gallery, as well as a theatre where the long-running musical Anne of Green Gables and currently a new musical based on Montgomery's Emily of New Moon have formed the core o f the Charlottetown Festival. Island-wide, businesses and institutions reinforce and provide a context for the literary themes. Prince Edward Island's tourism has been largely arts-led. Creative arts and craft practices have a high priority in tourism development. Resident arts producers, however, are more inclined to be involved i n activities and events unrelated to Montgomery's creations.  A number o f other communities are home to theatre and music.  The  harbourfront Jubilee Theatre i n Summerside, the K i n g ' s Playhouse i n Georgetown, and the Victoria Playhouse, all endeavor to offer locally written and developed productions. Festivals are a core o f the tourism industry and numerous musical events take place annually, featuring local performers.  The Prince Edward Island 2000 Visitors Guide  provides an inventory o f 81 festivals and events, including the Summerside Highland Gathering, bluegrass and fiddling events at Rollo Bay, the Indian River Festival, Irish festival, the Prince Edward Island Environmental Coalition's Greenfest, and the P E I Shellfish Festival. Other musical events, such as ceilidhs and shindigs - once associated with house or kitchen parties - are now scheduled weekly throughout the summer and as part o f many local and thematic festivals, featuring a roster o f Island  performers.  Attempts to spread the activity over a longer period have been the subject o f discussion in  134  the arts and tourist communities. The Island is also rich in museums and historicallybased attractions and thematic displays.  W i t h the exception o f a few events that are  aggressively marketed, most rely on drive-by traffic and local press coverage.  The play of modernity: the social production of space in Prince Edward Island In the twentieth century, the trajectory o f Prince Edward Island (as i n the case o f many regions and communities) has been increasingly determined by tourism.  This  transformation o f Prince Edward Island into a destination has been facilitated by economic restructuring, social change, government policy intervention, and the attribution o f cultural capital. A s the landscape has transformed, cultural producers have inevitably negotiated relations o f "home" and "away," tradition and modernity. The Island is a composite o f ideas, and therefore subject to change and challenge.  The sense o f the  Island's " I " — the layers o f its geographical identity — have evolved under historically specific circumstances intra-locally and i n tension between local expressive practices and broader networks o f geographical relations, regionally, nationally, and internationally. A n approach is needed that both grasps the necessarily interactive field through which economic and political processes are mediated and the complex geography o f power in which places and their identities are invented and installed. The countervailing factors in this invention - elements o f human practice and of the local "customisation" o f processes and practices -challenge any simple cause-and-effect model. Cultural practice expresses a fluid, constantly reworked culture and memory. I w i l l address here several threads o f the Island's narrative o f identity relevant for this discussion. The prevailing image o f Prince Edward Island has been tied intimately to its insularity, as well as to its rural past and an associated sense o f a pristine and pastoral  135  environment—a symbolic landscape that has offered a powerful iconography. "The Island" as it is imagined by cultural producers as well as by visitors and promotional agencies has been powerfully identified with specific images o f the highly visual landscape, images which have become heavily-marketed tourism icons such as the sea, rural landscape, red clay roads, sandy beaches, fishing villages, lighthouses, and "Green Gables," the house representing the residence in Lucy M a u d Montgomery's fiction Anne  of Green Gables. This chain o f landscape-based metaphors and myths has been linked to offer a potent sense o f "home place" within the international tourism industry, with connotations of the rustic, the premodern, the traditional, the authentic, the quaint, the pastoral, and the picturesque. These elements have been presented as an iconography o f remains: while the world may have modernised and homogenised, on this isolated island an unchanging core culture and distinctive heritage persists. Such landscape fragments  serve as cues,  functioning as metaphor and allegory for homeland, tradition, and belonging. A garden myth has predominated in a range o f aesthetic practices and tourist imagery:  A t the centre o f the question o f identity—of the "Island way o f life" —has rested a garden myth, which organized for Islanders an ideal picture o f themselves as an independent agricultural people protected from the world in an unspoiled pastoral setting. Some elements o f the idyllic metaphor...were always strong enough to make the garden myth compelling and realistic. (Milne 1992) In fact, despite the pastoral imagery, the rural landscape has changed dramatically over the twentieth century. While the main pursuit o f Prince Edward Island's private sector remains the agricultural production o f food, the number o f farms has declined. Those that remain have increased i n size. In recent years, the agricultural industry has  136  grown substantially as M c C a i n Foods L t d . and Cavendish Farms (as part o f the Irving group) have established and expanded their potato processing facilities.  Like the  economy based on the land, that based on the sea has also changed. Prince Edward Island has a moderate-sized highly-seasonal fishery, whose development has been restricted by a restricted territory and declining w i l d fish stocks. Simultaneously, the tourism industry has grown to compete with agriculture as the primary economic activity in the province.  In tourism images, ironically, despite the  changing landscape, traditional images o f a resource-based economy based on the land and sea are predominant themes. A t the end o f the twentieth century, the Utopian garden myth is undermined by the decay o f rural communities, economic and political dependency,  the presence  and convenience o f the Confederation Bridge, and the  burgeoning tourist economy o f roadside attractions and theme parks. Y e t the image o f the Island resists and persists as "home place." Tourism is simply the most recent catalyst for struggles over the relationship o f people to place, and questions o f land use and land ownership that have been entwined within the political history shaping the identity o f the province. The loss o f control and independent  ownership o f the land have been a persistent  concern. The tensions  established between absentee landowners and tenant producers with the land lottery o f 1767 continued until after Confederation when the provincial government bought back the land from the landlords.  8  But "the land question" and issues over ownership and use  of land remain emotional issues today (Robertson 1988, 136). There have also been persistent tensions between the dependencies o f this small province and regional inequality, and the mythic narrative o f its national status as "birthplace" o f Confederation. The Island's status grew with the Charlottetown meeting  137 o f the Fathers o f Confederation, preparing the way for the Quebec Conference in 1864, and the founding o f the Dominion o f Canada which followed. Prince Edward Island has since been known as the Cradle o f Confederation. The Island, however, did not j o i n Confederation until 1873, and only with hesitation. Promised by the federal government was the completion o f the trans-Island railway that the Island government had begun in 1871, fulfilling the federal guarantee o f continuous communication with the mainland. The offer was challenged by critics who argued that the laws o f political equality were being violated when it came to Confederation. For much o f the recent history o f Atlantic Canada, the Maritime provinces have been dependent for their survival on the federal government, a dependency that is above all financial i n nature and has been a fact o f political and economic life since the beginning o f Confederation (Acheson 1993, Bakvis 1993). This has been an issue more broadly within Maritime culture:  The Atlantic provinces are a geographical hyperbole in the national text, and the people who live here have provided the centre with a key mythology in the narrative o f nation building —the mystery o f the folk, the feudal drama o f an early "homeland" people who mark the beginning o f the time line o f progress. (Vaughan 1994, 169) Confederation is linked to a historical rupture. The end o f the "colonial" period coincided with changing economic and political conditions that marked the beginning o f a historical transformation o f the Island landscape.  The technological basis o f industry  was changing from wind, wood, and water to steam and iron, a new era i n which Prince Edward Island did not have the resources to compete. Damage to the economy was incurred as well with the abrogation o f the Reciprocity Treaty i n 1866, as well as the massive debt resulting from  the building o f the Prince Edward Island railroad. The  "terms o f union" under which the Island joined Confederation proved to be inadequate,  138 and failed to remedy basic economic problems. The financial situation o f the Island worsened considerably i n all sectors - agriculture, fishery, and forestry: "The events o f the early 2 0  th  century seemed to be producing their benefits elsewhere.  Prince Edward  Island was just a small isolated community located [away] from the great centres o f economic enterprise" (Schwartz 1979, 102). Simultaneously, the provincial status and political jurisdiction o f Prince Edward Island gained with Confederation enhanced the insularity o f the Island in a cultural and perceptual sense. Technological developments i n the early century were influential, encouraging greater integration o f the Island within larger networks.  Mechanisation o f methods o f  production led to a shift to greater specialization and larger factories. This was paralleled by changing markets, from local production and consumption to introduction o f national and international mass markets and consumption. After 1946, there was another period o f rapid economic expansion and change. N e w technologies and changing economics changed the Island. When in 1969, a massive exercise in federal-provincial development planning began, the cultural "break" with the prewar era had already occurred. The Government o f Canada and the Government o f Prince Edward Island defined the challenge: "...the Province is a predominantly rural area, has experienced widespread low income, has substantial adjustment problems and has significant potential for economic and social development" (Department o f Regional Economic Expansion 1970, 14). Through the Comprehensive Development Plan, the federal government was to take an active role i n provincial affairs, with the objective " further the social, economic and institutional improvement o f the Area, through the development o f physical and human resources, social services, resource supporting and commercial services, and through the setting up o f an effective intergovernmental structure for the coordinated implementation  139  of the Plan" (Department o f Regional Economic Expansion 1970, 7). This was perceived by a portion o f the Island's population as further loss o f local control, as modernisation models that were imposed on an island population more intent on preserving its rural identity. Most o f the changes that have occurred i n the economy since 1950 reflect a further movement  away  interdependence  from  a  mythical status  of  self-sufficiency  and  toward  more  upon global connections, with a resulting commodification o f the  landscape. Over the last centuries, there has been continuity i n the issues that draw passion here, such as land use, exploitation o f resources, and political dependencies. These are basic themes that link the Island, through its history:  The motto o f Prince Edward Island, Parva sub ingenti, "The small under the protection o f the great," is an apt metaphor for Canada's smallest province. It is also a bitterly paradoxical expression o f the Island's status as a "have not" province, largely dependent on others for survival, first as a colony under British rule and then as a somewhat reluctant new province o f Canada. A s Prince Edward Island comes to the end o f the 2 0 century, the goal o f greater self-sufficiency and self-reliance remains as elusive as ever. ( M a c K i n n o n 1998, 175) th  This  has  also  influenced  its  identity  internationally,  derived  from  an  acknowledgement o f common cultural and historical links and shared experiences across many o f the small islands, particularly o f the North Atlantic region. Like other islands, Prince Edward Island has faced formidable challenges concomitant with small size and relative remoteness, such as underdevelopment and regional disparities: "peripherality both i n terms o f real physical distances as well as relative neglect i n metropolitan centres; acute dependence on limited resources with attendant crises o f supply or terms o f trade; and heartbreaking cycles o f outward migration" (Bartmann 1998, 5). Prince Edward  140  Island must be seen within the socio-economic development trajectories o f small island territories, for the global project does not render all flush and even under its crushing weight. In itself, globalisation tolerates and even reinvents differences and inequalities (Massey 1994). The result is a constant tension within Islandness o f tradition and modernity, home and away. Symbolising home and its boundaries and identity becomes a way to negotiate change from a marginalised position, a conscious localising o f identity and action. The imagining o f Islandness must be seen within global restructuring which has had profound implications for sites within this spatial order. Each imaginative evocation of place has its grounding in a particular socio-economic-political context, emerging under historically specific circumstances, in tension between dominating forces and local expressive practices, deterritorialism and the saliency o f place.  Massey offers a  provisional, unfixed sense o f place that is helpful in conceiving o f Island as "home":  ...the identity o f place is i n part constructed out o f positive interrelations with elsewhere. This is i n contrast to many readings o f place as home, where there is imagined to be the security o f a (false, as we have seen) stability and an apparently reassuring boundedness. Such understandings o f the identity o f places require them to be enclosures, to have boundaries and - therefore and most importantly- to establish their identity through negative counterposition with the Other beyond the boundaries. A n understanding o f the socio-economic geography o f any place...reveals that such a view is untenable. The identity o f a place does not derive from some internalized history. It derives, i n large part, precisely from the specificity o f its interaction with 'the outside'. (Massey 1992, 13) Through the self-conscious attention to cultural and geographical location, and to the dynamics o f power relations that are manifest in past and present objects, practices and landscapes, autonomy and identity are asserted through what Audre Lorde has called the "sharpening o f self-definition" (Lorde 1990, 287). Senses o f place - not unitary and  141  homogenous - emerges dialectically with the delineation o f symbolic boundaries and the reconstitution o f tradition to mark belonging - "how people experience and express their sense o f difference from others, and how their sense o f difference becomes incorporated into and informs the nature o f their social organisation and process" (Cohen 1982, 2)  Establishing Prince Edward Island as "home": Lucy Maud Montgomery Within these multiple layers o f tradition and modernisation, the popular imagined geography o f home has been identified most clearly with the legacy o f Lucy M a u d Montgomery. A n intensely regionally-based writer, her well-known creative fiction is intimately tied to Prince Edward Island's identity, and more broadly, Canadian culture. Montgomery offered a particular envisioning o f the changing landscape. In her writing, Montgomery's depiction o f the Island place and culture was as much the reflection o f her intense attachment to the Island, as it was a conscious attempt to evoke a particular geography. Like other writers o f the late 1800s, her landscapes were rich i n nostalgia and powerful sensory imagery, i n the tradition o f the late nineteenth century pastoral idyll: "Montgomery revelled in pastoral nature, and throughout Anne of Green Gables she attempted to put into prose the intangible aspects o f landscape and place that Prince Edward Island evoked for her. Her journals and letters are replete with reference to this spiritual attachment to 'home'... Love o f home was synonymous with love o f the Prince Edward Island countryside, an attachment that shaped all her fiction" (Squire 1992, 139). Imagination o f the past and a collective memory infuse her expression and intense identification with Prince Edward Island. A s Squire notes, this was in part a personal strategy, for "writing enabled her to escape from domestic concerns into a world o f imagined childhood memories" (Squire 1996, 122). The resulting fictional geography  142  speaks to small-scale, intimate rural communities, and offers a commentary on the historical transformation o f the rural landscape. Although written during a period o f time when new modes o f transportation and communication were powerfully altering the prevailing sense o f time and space (Kern 1983), Montgomery's fictions were set in limited locales with local horizons. While various modernisms were being expressed i n art, literature, and philosophy, her work conveys a strong sense o f tradition and romance, placing a high value upon and authenticating the "rural order which persisted across Prince Edward Island from the late 1800s until its rapid dissolution i n the middle decades o f the twentieth century....It was a traditional folk society, with an inherited integrity and character, and it provided in its own way for the needs o f its inhabitants" (Weale 1986, 3). Montgomery's evocations o f home must be seen i n terms o f broader influences and wider sensibilities.  Montgomery's engagement with landscape and with change  synthesises a number o f values and attitudes associated with Romantic movements that had taken form in Europe, England, and North America. B y the twentieth century, the movements had largely ended, but the impact o f Romanticism as a cultural epoch, an ideology, as well as a literary and aesthetic movement, was in each case shattering and extensive. Romanticism's most powerful contribution was a legacy o f a way o f seeing or mode o f perception, as well as a set o f values and sensibilities, fundamentally transforming prevailing attitudes to the natural landscape. Romanticism has provided an economy o f meaning - a framework for the rhetorical organisation o f landscapes and lifestyles. Influenced by the cult o f the picturesque, it has affected artistic expression and landscape attitudes into the 2 0  th  century.  Romantic ideology favoured a distanced, objectifying gaze that characterises the aesthetic eye. This aesthetic gaze did not "scan" objects in the landscape cursorily but  143  stopped to mythologise them, attributing to them a particular aura o f the genuine, o f value and authenticity. In this way, the Romantic way o f seeing emphasised the aesthetic qualities o f landscape, where landscape and place are clearly not simply "location," but repositories o f meanings, experiences, attitudes and values.  Romanticism thus indicates  an enthusiasm for the "picturesque," its precursor, and the consciously visual, giving form to a particular aesthetics o f landscape. The cult o f the picturesque, which flourished i n the eighteenth century and the beginning o f the nineteenth, involved an appreciation o f landscape based on a search for subjects that exemplified beauty and the aesthetically pleasing, locating the spiritual in nature. The pastoral, romantic lens was increasingly assimilated to seek out the primitive, rural, and innocent, and would eliminate elements that did not fit or transform them to the aesthetic gaze. Squire notes a kind o f blindness "among romantics when confronted with the effects o f industrial development and expansion.  Seemingly oblivious to the  factories, copper mines, and slate quarries that dotted the rural landscape, these seekers o f majestic solitude saw, and later wrote about, a mythical Wales that had no existence beyond the bounds o f their imagination" (Squire 1988, 245). Nevertheless, their work had an important impact on the landscape. consumption.  The enchantment o f space lent it to  In the case o f writers in the romantic tradition, they often defined  themselves in relation to particular regions and played an integral role i n making and creating "place" shaping a new form o f nature tourism, illustrated most convincingly i n the attraction o f tourists to areas associated with the picturesque before 1800 (Andrews 1990) and Wordsworth's stimulation o f tourism i n the Lake District o f England (Squire 1988). Literary and artistic landscapes appealed to these visitors, generally members o f cultural and intellectual elites, who shared the same sensibilities as the artists.  144  The precedents o f the cult o f the picturesque and 19  th  century Romantics are  significant here. Montgomery's writing lends itself to the same dynamic. Despite the critique o f change embodied i n her writing, the commentary on turn-of-the-century modernity  articulated  i n her  landscapes  was  nevertheless  bound  to  economic  commodification through tourism circuits. Montgomery's representations had a powerful transforming impact on Island tourism. Written i n the early 1900s, her evocation o f "home place" suited the needs o f early promoters. In response to outmigration in the late 19  th  and early 2 0  th  century, " O l d Home Week" had been created, setting a precedent for  actively luring back migrants and attracting tourists. In 1905, the provincial government began to support the P E I Development and Tourism Association. Over the next three decades, the Island began self-promotion. With the publication o f Montgomery's first 9  novel Anne of Green Gables i n 1908, tourists to Cavendish were drawn to the fictional world of Avonlea. B y the 1930s, residents were renting rooms to tourists. The desires o f outsiders to experience the locale o f Anne began to deposit layers o f meaning on community life o f the area. B y the 1920s, the promotion o f Anne had begun. Sentiments expressed in Montgomery's literature have resonated with visitors and over the twentieth century have created tourist interest i n the area. When the area was selected as a National Park site in 1936, the decision was tied more closely to tourism than to environmental protection, two forces that have been in tension ever since (MacEachern 1991). The park covered 12.24 square kilometres o f shorefront property and encompassed the Cavendish sand dune system and 800 acres o f farmland, including Green Gables which was one o f the first areas  identified  for  development  (Home  1979). The  house  that  had inspired  Montgomery's fictional construction o f Anne's home was owned by the Webb family.  145  Unlike some o f their neighbours, they accepted expropriation and worked on the site and lived i n part o f the house for a nominal rent (Tye 1994). The house was altered i n order to match the fictional house visually, and to be Green Gables imaginatively. B y the 1970s, Parks Canada reviewed its interpretation o f the Green Gables site and began to disentangle fact from fantasy. In 1983, they began to concentrate on reflecting an interpretation o f the literary aspects o f the book while site development concentrated on providing context for the fictional work, interpreting the cultural and human history o f Cavendish in the late 1800s (MacKinnon 1983, 6). In the area o f Cavendish, Montgomery's literary landscapes come to concrete expression through Parks Canada interpretation and through local private business. In the 1995 season 73% o f all pleasure travellers who came to Prince Edward Island visited the Cavendish tourism region (Enterprise P E I 1995, 26). N o longer a farming and fishing community indistinguishable from its neighbours:  Cavendish is one o f Canada's best known summer resorts. Believing that tourism has the power to bulldoze local culture, we may be tempted to assume that as an essential stop for visitors to Prince Edward Island, Cavendish now exists only as a place constructed for tourists. Certainly the community changed as outside developers capitalized on its marketing potential. Not only were farming and fishing eclipsed, but governmental agencies and entrepreneurs replaced early locally controlled tourist operations - ice cream stands and guest homes operated by farm women as an extension o f their domestic role - with 'attractions' - amusement parks, museums, and commercial outlets - to create an external veneered representation. (Tye 1994, 122). Today this takes form as the hyper-commercialism o f Montgomery's fiction, the basis for a provincial tourism region called "Anne's Land," businesses such as the Anne Shirley Motel, M a n i l a ' s Pizza, Anne's Tea Party, and Green Gables convenience stores which cover the Island.  A t the core o f tourism efforts is the central north shore  146  landscape. Here, there is strong support for the Tourism 2000 plan established in 1988 - a twelve year strategic tourism plan, suggesting five tourism development  strategies,  including an annual 3% increase i n visitor numbers, with an emphasis on developing more natural and heritage-based attractions (Peach 1995). Part o f the narrative o f region and nation, Montgomery's romantic invented landscapes are reinforced by television shows based on other Montgomery books, such as Road to Avonlea and Emily of New  Moon, which have generated national  and  international attention for Prince Edward Island. The most recent television adaptation o f Montgomery's work, Emily of New Moon, based loosely upon Montgomery's Emily of New Moon [(1925)1973], Emily Climbs, [(1924)1973] and Emily's Quest [(1927) 1973], has now produced its own tourist landscape.  Unlike the film based on the book and  earlier television programmes, the programme was filmed on Prince Edward Island, and currently tours enable visitors to view sets such as the house where the character o f E m i l y resides and the "Disappointed House."  In 1999, the fictional town o f Avonlea was  brought to reality (and fantasy) on a 50 acre site. Financed by the Linkletter Group, the tourist attraction offers Island arts and crafts, performance, and a variety o f recreated 19  th  century buildings and features the schoolhouse where Montgomery pursued one o f her first teaching assignments. The transformation o f cultural forms has an international dimension, as Anne's popularity with young women in Japan has forged new landscapes and images. Due to the popularity o f the Anne mythology in Japan and beyond, a large part o f international promotion is Anne o f Green Gables-related.  The novel is part o f the Japanese school  curriculum and for many Japanese, the character is synonymous with the place o f Prince Edward Island (Squire 1992). Anne is featured in comic books aimed at young women  147  and presented in Japanese theme parks, while literary tours to Prince Edward Island are planned by the company holding the Japanese rights to the novels (Squire 1996). In "Canadian Land", a jumbled collection o f stereotyped sites has been assembled to represent Canada, where young Canadian women play the roles o f Anne and Diana: In the international market, the Anne theme has special appeal for young Japanese women. Montgomery's evocative landscape descriptions, no less than her independent, though family-oriented, heroine, have attracted a cult following... In both the international and domestic markets...tourism works on the Anne dream, creating an industry out o f literary heritage and giving what were once purely literary experiences tangible form. (Squire 1992, 144) Literary heritage is appropriated from its original context and acquires new cultural meaning. This is not simply heritage as spectacle, however. Cultural expression plays a deeper role, shaping landscape meaning, perception and experience. Over time and over space, varying images shape the regional imaginary o f Prince Edward Island, from within and without:  Subsequently, the literary landscape has been transformed - through television dramatizations, tourist brochures, and today, through the growing phenomenon o f mass tourism. Just as Montgomery found literary inspiration in the "real" landscapes with which she was familiar, her imagined world has today been appropriated for other purposes, thereby shaping new cultural patterns. (Squire 1992, 137) The effect o f this circulation o f meaning has been the accelerated gentrification o f the countryside, its cultural capital drawing not only tourists but new resident groups. "Over time the bucolic beauty, accessibility and relatively cheap land prices made Prince Edward Island attractive to absentee owners once again. Tourism promotion, in particular, brought many to the Island and, as one commentator noted at the time, 'the Department o f Tourism has unwittingly become a successful real estate agent'" (Michael  148 1974, 3).  Whether to "Come play on our Island," the Prince Edward Island tourism  slogan, or to "Come stay on our Island," the values and meaning associated with the landscape have been central to its attraction as "home". Understanding the complexity o f the construction must incorporate a sense o f the range o f users - tourists, local workers, cultural producers, as well as residents, who seek individual meanings in landscape and i n relation to the work o f Lucy M a u d Montgomery, though to various degrees. "In independent searches for authenticity," suggests Tye, " a l l constituencies, relying on images originally created by Lucy M a u d Montgomery, shape the community. They frame, inscribe, and transform it into a site where the author herself is ultimately reproduced and reinterpreted" (Tye 1994, 123). Tye's  point  bears  further  consideration.  If cultural practices  undergo  transformation, so must their authors. Lucy M a u d Montgomery and her characters have come to be identified, sometimes equated, with Prince Edward Island. Her poetic and prose evocations o f the Island are perhaps less directly "about" the Island than we might assume, and must be considered in terms o f their connections beyond the Island. A s Squire notes, "the tourist industry was not solely derived from popular interest i n the writer and her work. Rather, both production and consumption o f the tourist setting were integrated into over-arching social and cultural value systems where questions o f heritage preservation, authenticity and values for country life played a pivotal role" (Squire 1994, 10). To relate her simply to the Island is to succumb to insularity. Montgomery was not alone, except i n respect to her Island location. Her attention to limited settings, bucolic landscapes, and the natural was shared by other cultural practitioners o f the period, such as poet Charles G . D . Roberts, Stephen Leacock, and Andrew Macphail. A s  149  Kristiansen notes, "this theme is not confined to Maritime novelists; it was a preoccupation o f many 19 - and early-20 century social theorists. Ferdinand Tonnies' th  th  ideal types, gemeinschaft and gesellschaft (literally, community and society), provided a paradigm for examining differences between small pre-modern societies and modern urban-dominated ones" (1994, 227). There was a profound dis-ease i n turn o f the century Canada, as well as i n the United States, where Lears (1981) has observed an antimodernism i n cultural practice manifested as a retreat to the exotic, the pursuit o f intense physical or spiritual experiences, and the search for cultural self-sufficiency through the Arts and Crafts movement. Lears argues that this antimodern impulse was pervasive and could not be dismissed as "simple escapism," but reveals some enduring and recurring tensions between tradition and change. This wider recoiling from modernisation that was taking place as time and space collapsed meant that there was a ready readership for her work, i n urban centres such as Montreal and Toronto, as well as Boston and N e w York. The Island was a perfect foil, and willing creative resource. In her novels, landscape is a fluid construct. Montgomery's expression is a form o f cultural communication - conveying a certain vision o f the Island as a landscape o f integrity, authenticity, and value. Montgomery's writing is a form o f social history. A s Bumsted argues, "While a charge o f sentimentalization can easily be levied against her...[s]he was too accurate a social observer (and too Calvinist i n background) to attempt to eliminate or even disguise the less favourable aspects o f that society. A l l the warts are present i n the novels - local gossip and backbiting, an abiding suspicion o f outsiders, a narrow religious sectarianism - as well as the positive virtues o f landscape, family, and community" (1982, 32). Montgomery depicts agrarian society i n rural Canada as it faced early stages o f modernisation and industrialisation.  150  A l s o represented are associated tensions between the local and global. Recording rural life and idyllic rural communities from which one often had move away i n order to sustain oneself personally and economically, she creates a rich mythic dimension. Many o f her characters reflect this ambivalence and the movement between the Island and "away" creates an image laden with symbolism. This was reflected in her own life as well:  Her journals and letters are replete with references to this spiritual attachment to "home". In 1891, on a visit to her father in Saskatchewan, she write to a Cavendish friend: "I wish I were home this spring...Often in my dreams I see the dear old shore with its brown rock and pebbled coves and the blue waters o f the sparkling g u l f (Montgomery to M a c N e i l l , 22 A p r i l 1891; Bolger 1974, 124). Love o f home was synonymous with love o f the Prince Edward Island countryside, an attachment that shaped all o f her fiction. (Squire 1992, 139) From a perspective "away," a stronger sense o f nostalgia is possible, fostering a potent sense o f identity, community and home. ' " D o w n home,' 'the home place,'" notes Davies, "makes a veiled appearance in Maritime Provinces literature i n 1907 with the local colour writing o f L . M . Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables...'''' (Davies 1991, 193). In her writing, such an image o f home embodies a wrestling with change and with loss o f place. Deeply concerned with small, face-to-face, premodern communities, she responds to forces  that would transform  landscape,  integrating them  into an impersonal,  modernised society. Expressed in fiction and art, the space o f the Island becomes vested with meaning and has been transformed to other purposes. Today, as Squire notes, Montgomery's novels are being read i n contexts different from those within which they were  originally written; "tourist  development  in particular has  seized upon  the  Montgomery heritage and reinterpreted it i n various ways" (1992, 144). This expression,  151  therefore, shapes new experiences, reconstructing and conveying the Island as core o f home, authenticity, and tradition. Cultural practice is one element o f Jackson's "maps o f meaning" through which sense o f place is made (Jackson 1989). Lucy M a u d Montgomery, however, is not the sole source o f the structures o f feeling that pervade the imagining o f community. Multiple voices have shaped the Island as a cultural space, intervening in the dialogue o f the transformation o f the landscape in represented spaces.  Various artists have used the past and place to inform the present,  giving meaning to events and sites. The result is a sense o f the ongoing formation o f place, for as M u n n writes, "the relations between events are developed i n the practice o f everyday life through infusing the experience o f a given event with pasts (or possible pasts) and futures" (Munn 1990, 13). Her images represent one voice, one influence, in the shaping o f this place as a politicised cultural and political construct. O f interest are the contests and tensions between different actors and values. Importantly, the relationship o f Montgomery's work to place and the past does indicate the need to look beyond spectacularisation and to be attuned to the complexity o f representation. In the cases which follow I w i l l look at further representations o f Islandness for their potential for critique and response. Selected on the basis o f their interweaving o f home and away, tradition and modernity, a thematic thread centred upon an antimodern critique can be developed through the art practices. Each is an important source o f perception: " A complex understanding o f the capitalist transformation o f the Maritime countryside requires an exploration o f the ways this epochal event was represented and reimagined, sometimes confusedly and sometimes brilliantly, by those who told the region's story in fictional form" (Kristiansen 1992, 256). The distinct space o f the Maritimes has been constructed to eschew industrial  152  modernisation, and favour the romantic and pastoral. A s we shall see in the three cases that follow, there has been a range o f engagements with Islandness, including further themes o f artistic preservation as well as countervailing messages o f intervention and reconstruction.  153  Chapter V  Narrative Landscapes: Images of myth and memory  The folk culture-popular culture continuum: the art of Alfred Morrison There would be further applications beyond Montgomery o f this profoundly romantic, antimodern discourse i n Prince Edward Island. This chapter examines the work o f Alfred Morrison, an artist associated with the "folk art" tradition. While his images emphasise tradition and "home place," I argue they also entail a critique o f rural transformation.  Relating his motives and experience as they are expressed i n material  forms to his visual images,  a response to the restructuring o f the Island economy and  landscape over the twentieth century becomes visible. Emphasising the traditional Island landscape and rural past, his work offers a cultural memory and highlights a critical element o f art that is often assumed to be unquestioning, commercial, and romantic. "Tradition" itself, however, is not immutable and frozen, and I w i l l examine his work i n relation to the particular invention o f the place and memory that takes place through it. The work o f Alfred  Morrison  (1909-)  offers  a perception  o f historical  transformation, establishing a narrative sense o f place for the Island and mythic elements within a system o f interconnected spaces. A t the core o f his work is a collection o f 81 paintings that depict the place and history o f Prince Edward Island; the stories within these cultural forms are entwined with personal memory. Morrison's work, created between 1961 and 1986, addressed historical changes and ruptures across the twentieth century (see appendix). H i s expression is rooted i n Island experience, giving shape to  154  traditional rural landscapes and "home place." He brings to life i n his images and words a sense o f community and kinship relations, expressing the decline o f small scale agriculture and subsistence production. L i k e Montgomery, his artistic practice is, above all, informed by a blend o f respect for tradition and a fervent pride o f place. Perspective shifts, proportions vary, and the past takes on mythical shape through bright colour composition and attention to detail. Morrison's work parallels the style and backgrounds expressed by a great majority o f artists associated with the folk tradition. Often, "none have formal training, all have worked with their hands i n a primarily rural setting, and each came to express his creativity late in life" (Blanchette et al 1983, 207). A n approach that is very spiritual, common to artists in the folk tradition, is tangible i n his work. A s well, Morrison painted when inspired, using oil paints to obtain the colours o f the environment around h i m as he saw them, on a wide range o f accessible materials, from canvas board to cardboard packaging and calendar backs. H i s paintings were not created for the marketplace; rather they were most often given as gifts to family members, and today his collection o f original paintings remains i n the possession o f the artist and his children. Conventional ideas o f folk-made objects, however, have been radically challenged in recent years, most notably from the awareness that folk art does not exist separately from increasingly blurred categories o f traditional and contemporary practices, local and global spaces, and folk and popular cultures. A s a result, there has been a great acceptance that conventional definitions o f folk art as naive, primitive, rural-based, or limited to a certain historical period are inadequate.  Morrison's paintings certainly fall  within the "folk art" tradition, i n the sense o f "art o f the people." A s the artist acknowledges, "I suppose my own painting would be categorized as folk art—  155 illustrations o f everyday life, and happenings, and events."  10  In this sense, folk-based  expression may be linked to popular culture - a popular culture derived not from mass or commercialised culture, but entrenched in the "local" and attributed a critical social dimension. It comprises " i n particular, the articulation o f popular sentiment and social identity within limited context (region, community, class, for example), through the expressive, symbolic, and popular processes o f culture" (Laba 1988, 82-83). Laba has suggested although there is a folk culture-popular culture continuum whose contents exhibit conservative and dynamic qualities, "the proclivities or biases o f the media o f artistic communications have sometimes led to oversimplified associations o f folklore with conservatism..." (Laba 1986, 1). Both, however, function as expressive forms by which shared culture is created, modified, and transformed within the social sphere; their connection lies i n the impulse to, and ways i n which meaning is made, "as means by which individuals and groups ritualize, organize and make sense o f those forms o f their day-to-day experience" (Laba 1986, 17). It is therefore necessary to look beyond the folk art designation and a perspective that focuses on the art's literal content, to what the art does—the significance o f imagining the past and place i n this way. Corner has noted with respect to maps and art that there is a tendency to view them i n terms o f what they represent rather than what they do. Both considerations o f maps and o f drawings and paintings overlook the experiences and effects o f such representation (Corner 1999, 116). The layered images and themes within the stories Morrison told over forty years go beyond unquestioning, idealizations o f the premodern. There is cultural symbolism communicated in the complex o f meaning, communicating the value o f home as not static, but reinterpreted and restated. It serves as an example o f expression emerging from limited locales, communities, and regions  156 offering stories through which identity and self are defined. In his discussion o f the work of N e w Brunswick Acadian artist Y v o n Gallant, Graff suggests "it is not simply the remembrance o f things past that enables a culture to survive; it is the ability to go on telling stories; that is, not simply telling the same story over and over again...but creating something new through reinterpretation based on present and felt experience" (Graff 1995, 63). Morrison's work challenges traditional conceptions o f folk art with its depth o f critique. While this art may be "intuitive," "spontaneous," and "colourful," here it also entails a conscious and deliberate response to a perception o f loss or o f changing circumstances. Embodying within it a nationalist "Island" consciousness as well as an identity o f resistance, Morrison's art acts as a performance o f identity. Such a notion o f 11  nationalistic identity can be traced back ultimately to Rousseau, and to romantic ideologies i n the 19 century. There is a longstanding historical association o f popular th  cultural expression and nationalistic ideology (see, for example, Anderson 1983, Deane 1985, Thompson 1963). Burke has argued that such kinds o f popular culture have been important in the construction and reconstruction o f popular identities at various levels: "identities are multiple and fluid or 'negotiable' and...the same individual or group may privilege one identity over another according to the situation and the moment" (Burke 1992, 305). Morrison's images call upon history and memory to critique the present and hint at possible alternatives for the future. To the powerful element o f critique associated with artistic communities, particularly o f mechanistic and instrumental development, in Morrison's objections are also the traditional and religious values often associated with folk artists.  157 H i s focus is the transforming landscape o f the twentieth century, which he views from experiences both on the Island and away. Morrison was born i n Boston in 1909. H i s parents had moved from Prince Edward Island in 1906, joining a common migration to the N e w England states. They left the Prince Edward Island Morrison family homestead that had been established in 1773 in Darnley. The artist would visit the Island often as a child, and would return to settle on the Island in 1929. A strong sense o f his family and roots came from his childhood visits and his memoir describes the first o f these travels to the Island as a clearly powerful sensory experience: M y sense o f smell really jolted me into a state o f conscious curiosity. The smell o f burning wood, o f a wide variety o f cooking like baked foods, smoked meats, cheese, and vinegar, or pickled something or other, i n the kitchen. Then it was off to bed. Once again my sense o f smell was brought into play i n the upstairs bedroom, a wooly smell, bed clothes I guessed. It was all very homey and filled me with a sense o f security and anticipation about what tomorrow would bring. It brought utter happiness as did all the days that followed. I slept like a baby. M y new life seemed to be motivated by my sense o f smell, first by the inside o f the house and then outside as I toured the farm.  The odors filled Morrison "with a sense o f security" and "brought utter happiness". "In the past as i n the present, a beloved odor is the center o f an intimacy," Bachelard has written, "a whole vanished universe is preserved by an odor" (Bachelard 1969, 136, 139). The Island and what it offered  as a homeplace would become  a strong  undercurrent in his imagination. Like Montgomery's work, the cultural forms Morrison produced are suffused with these childhood memories. The Island became an archetype o f simple happiness and innocence, reflected in both his images and words. Prince Edward Island was established as a space o f difference and integrity. Throughout, he references his life against this experience o f encountering family and his ancestral past  Prince  158  Edward Island itself becomes a character in his mind and work, representing home, tradition, comfort, and moral strength. Ultimately, being born away from the Island and as one who must recover "homeland" and heritage i n all likelihood intensified Morrison's interest in defining home and his attachment to the Island. Because he was not a product of rural life himself, it gave him the distance and critical eye that allowed a perception o f difference and value, and to find in "home place" what Davies has called "a heightened realization o f s e l f (Davies 1991, 191). Creating a collective popular history is a clear purpose i n his art, with its records and stories o f historical events and changes, recalled and imagined. This perspective is paralleled by volumes o f carefully typed and handwritten pages that record family, local, Island, and world histories and articulate his commitment to making the past relevant to the present. Morrison's philosophical approach and his sense o f the larger questions o f the purpose o f history and historical research are balanced with practices that are quite organic and practical.  Within his production was that which was genealogical and  inventory-like in nature. The communication o f his world view has taken various forms: as well as paintings, he has produced numerous essays, a memoir, letters, community and church histories and notes. Apart from the histories he produced for communities and churches which were published locally, the majority o f these are untitled and undated and have been collected by his son Alfred Morrison, Jr.. H i s history is traditional, one seen as a structured whole, and based on verities o f G o d , nation, community, and family, and certainties o f roles and responsibilities. There is almost a didactic commitment to moral guidance and education in his stories. "Youth needs a clear and concise mind picture to  159  pursue at all times," as he puts it, "a picture which makes sense to them and from which the mist o f obscurity or blindness has been removed." The images present a trajectory o f modernity. H i s interest is in showing place through time, offering maps o f a sort, and a visual landscape history. H i s images, as a result, are not just records, but are painted with a geographer's eye towards showing patterns i n relationships o f people and place. Drawing upon his memory and experience, Morrison has recorded the changing social, economic, and political landscape o f the localised space o f Prince Edward Island, offering a narrative o f transformation. H i s work provides an important lens into how change was perceived, how perception o f transformation can be shaped.  The images are a reminder that landscape is not simply  reflected but is discovered and constituted through such imaginative geographies: " A s a creative practice, mapping precipitates its most productive effects through a finding that is also a founding... in uncovering realities previously unseen or unimagined, even across seemingly exhausted grounds" (Corner 1999, 213). Alfred Morrison's preoccupation with time and its lessons entails a form o f thinking about space: in his images, in his effort to show places, details, relationships o f landscape elements, his paintings often have a map-like quality to them. Landscape painting blurs with cartography. A t the core o f geography is attention to the relationship between the landscape and the activities o f the people who have left their impression on its surface, attention he clearly exhibits:  160  Prince Edward Island A r t interests me intensely because o f its related influences in the need to research family heritage; to seek out knowledge o f people who put certain things i n certain places which appear in the painted pictures: religion, history, geography, geology, agriculture, things o f the sea, and a host o f other curiosities which literally take one by the nose and lead one on to know everything... ("Art notes" n.d.) He undertakes the task o f a geographer and mapmaker to convey the lay o f the land, and the processes that have given rise to it. The effect is to "tread the boundaries" o f Prince Edward Island, defining its territory. Across the eighty paintings in the collection, he ultimately presents a landscape history and an inventory o f moments and sites in personal and collective memory. The result is the accumulation o f a storied map sustained in narrative and memory, which establishes the Island as a physical and social space. His intent is to promote understanding o f the past, and a sense o f its indispensable use. In his memoir, titled "What I have done with my life," he writes:  M y aim: to make an honest contribution toward the preservation o f the Island's past both from what I know, and from what I learn; also to treat the present as it is in reality and to the best o f my ability. The young cannot appreciate nor respect their homeland unless they know something about it. ...From knowledge o f the past we can best learn how to deal with the present, and within limits, the future. ("What I have done with my life", ca. 1986)  His conviction i n his own act and the deliberateness o f his intent are clear, evoking not only history and the shape o f landscape, but the value o f that past and place. He has an ability simultaneously to communicate the story to others and convey its subject as being of value, trying, as he has said, to find a "fitting way to best impress upon their minds the fact that they are much privileged i n being allowed to be a part o f it a l l . " Morrison's act o f recording points to the significance o f landscape and the authenticity o f Island  161  experiences, o f honour and pride o f place. These are narrative landscapes, structuring a way o f knowing and seeing this place. Morrison's art is intent on recording Prince Edward Island, with its consistent themes and expression o f the distinctive cultural identity and cultural memory o f the Island. L i k e Montgomery, underlying the work is a sense o f intensely experienced community and place.  T w o distinctive, though related, bodies o f work can be  distinguished. Over half o f his paintings record historical events in the Island's past, showing changing settlement patterns, historical practices and settings. There are also those that exemplify a more consciously critical response to modernisation. The period o f the early twentieth century was o f particular interest to him, based on his memories as a child and youth o f the altering landscape o f the early twentieth century. Changes to the postwar agricultural landscape and the 1969 Comprehensive Development Plan would also shape his critique. H i s final painting was created i n 1994, and among his later paintings he continues to address changing contemporary Island landscapes. Morrison locates the value and integrity o f the Island i n a traditional, selfsufficient, small-scale landscape, which forms the foundation for his approach. He is conscious in his own work o f trying to promote and facilitate the survival o f elements o f a traditional Island landscape and "way o f life." Simultaneously Morrison's body o f work was created out o f a questioning o f the decisions, processes, and practices that have resulted in the contemporary landscape. A s a result, Morrison's art is situated as an important element o f the ongoing narrative o f Canadian places and histories, a lens into broader responses to modernisation and industrialisation. Even as industries, urban development, mechanization, and technology changed the social landscape, cultural expression shaped the perception, expectations, and experience o f this change. H i s work  162 makes real a particular experience and perception o f Prince Edward Island, and o f the transformation o f rural landscapes more generally. His approach to the modernising Island landscape embodied a critique. Out o f his intense sense o f roots and responsibility, Morrison became concerned about the changing landscape and exodus o f young people from the Island, and wanted to encourage a sense of belonging and identification. He set out to write an Island history book suitable for use in grades 5 and 6, but the Provincial government commissioned someone else to write the text before he could complete it. A s a result, he began a "one-man attempt" to record this history i n images, inspired by historical and Biblical images that had impressed him as a child. He recognized the power to convey narrative in image and symbol, constructing history and landscape. He began to create images o f incidents i n Island history and representations o f an Island way o f life:  A s time moved along I became disturbed that such a great volume o f words had been printed, but there was a marked absence o f pictures. I feared that children would become bored while plowing through these wordy pages. I then decided to paint pictures o f Island History. I made it known to the family that I desired a kit o f paints. M y A r t had grown rusty from lack o f practising it, but with a little experimenting I might come up with some commendable pictures. M y thoughts centered on the Bible. The artists who painted those pictures i n the Bible were not around when the incidents and events took place. They read the words and let the picture form i n their minds, then projected the picture onto the canvas. They are actually mind pictures. I shall do likewise with Island History providing I can make my hands work. ("What I have done with my life," ca. 1986)  H i s sense o f attachment to the traditional rural landscape and farming lifestyle was based i n terms o f the continuity and security it represented; it was to be a place to which future generations could return. H e observed the loss o f family farms and was  163 forced to leave his own homestead in 1961 due to his physical condition. Leaving the farm was a difficult decision, not simply because o f the roots the family had established in the area, but also because the broader meaning it had. Based on his own experience o f coming home to the Island and all that the Island had provided, it was. as much about losing that security, and disrupting a thread o f continuity. This experience reinforced his perception o f deterioration o f the Island's traditional ways and strengthened  his  commitment to wrestling with the "vertical integration" that was changing the Island landscape, prompting the separation o f agriculture from the family farm and the changing social and economic world that entailed. H i s tool in this struggle would be his painting.  Landscapes of memory In Morrison's work a certain representation o f the landscape can be seen, one constructed from recollection. Morrison has called his paintings "memory art." Personal experience and memory infuse many o f his historical images, serving as a form o f visual memoir. Pleasant Grove Tunnel (undated), for example, recalls the effect o f the trees he noted upon his return to his parents' new home in Pleasant Grove, Prince Edward Island, in 1929. O n the back o f the painting he writes:  In 1929, I was "homeward bound." This was my first arrival to Pleasant Grove from Syracuse, N e w York, by way o f Boston; and to the home I had never seen. The trees arched across the road forming a pretty tunnel in front o f our home: Morrison's Birches on one side, Hooper's Beeches on the other. Time, fall. Uncle Leo and me i n the buggy. " Y e l l a B i r c h " trees grew on Doyle's farm.  164  Fig. 5.1 Pleasant Grove Tunnel undated, oil on canvas panel, Collection of Mary Morrison. Memory is a significant influence in his work (Fig. 5.1).  35.5x54.7  cm.  A s we have come to realise  from recent literature, there can be no "clear" memory - it is thoroughly social and cultural. In memory, the past takes on a narrative genre in both image and word, where facts are lost quickly and the past is, to a large extent, interpreted: "To be remembered and transmitted at all, the facts must be transformed into images, arranged in stories" (Fentress and Wickham 1992, 73). M e m o r y and imagination blend in giving back images and stories which pertain to our lives. Where original meaning has disintegrated, the past persists in the artistic act o f reinvention and reconstruction. A s Bachelard writes, ...imagination and memory appear in an indissoluble complex. If they are attached to perception, they are being badly analyzed. The remembered past is not simply a past o f perception. Since one is remembering, the past is already being designated in a reverie as an image value. From their very origin, the imagination colors the paintings it w i l l want to see again. For facts to go as far as the archives o f the memory, values must be rediscovered beyond the facts. (1969, 105)  165 Throughout, his own archaeological impulse to delve into his own past paralleled his historical and artistic endeavors to recover and convey elements o f the traditional identity o f Island. Morrison continued to write and paint into the late 1980s, reinforcing a body o f work that reflects the development o f a philosophy o f history, education, and art practice.  Correspondence,  genealogical  records,  community  histories,  historical  descriptions, letters, essays—all offer the interpretation o f experience and memory. H i s images and words show a keen attention to the difference time makes. This infuses his archival impulse, his interest in compiling records and chronologies, in communicating traces o f the past, and i n bringing them to bear on the present. In his carefully researched painted reconstructions  o f Prince Edward Island's past, Morrison weaves  personal  experience into public memory, conveying the meaning o f events and sites for the collective community. The written histories he produced range from the microcosm o f his own life, his family, local Prince Edward Island communities, to Prince Edward Island more generally, and the world, prehistoric to modern. A t the centre o f this activity, there was a committed purpose, clearly articulated. A s he writes, The key to studying history is to read about the events recorded by the author then try to apply them to the present. One does not always know when one is passing through a period o f history but one can discover this by studying the history literally and with a definite motive in mind for applying what one analyzes from reading it. ("Notes" n.d.) In Morrison's work, history has a certain substance, one made up o f generations, and one that emphasizes continuity and successive communication from one to the next. Maintaining this thread o f relationships is important to him and has shaped his sense o f responsibility.  Responding  to  a  perceived  general  disregard  for  history  within  contemporary society, for Morrison it was teaching younger generations about the value  166  o f the landscape and history o f the Island that inspired his work. A s Davis has written, " i n large part it is because human consciousness can forge 'generations' from the raw materials o f history that the generations come to speak to each other, as it were, each reminding the other o f 'precious things' about to be lost or forgotten" (Davis 1979, 115). He seems intent on passing the memory o f events and their consequences  on to  succeeding generations. Underlying his work, history is seen not as a series o f discrete events, but rather as the interrelationships over time o f individuals and groups. For Morrison, history does not exist apart from lived experience; it is each person's story, every "small history." He explores his own evolving relationship with Prince Edward Island in an autobiographical essay, "What I have done with my life," (ca. 1986) which provides his own life story. Written at the age o f 76 and revised over the next 10 years, he offers a narrative o f his past: he traces his childhood, the journeys that brought h i m home, first as a child, then as an adult, and what his life on the Island and away has consisted of. Morrison's intent was to record historical detail, but also to show "what I have done with my life." The self-conscious reflection on the shape o f his life— the choices involved in its plot, the substance o f his history—is a recurring theme in both his art and writing. " M y autobiography is compiled as a source o f information," Morrison writes, "to show the many different directions a life can take, and to illustrate some reactionary measures that can be taken in different circumstances" (ca. 1986). His sense o f the accessibility o f history and opportunity to intervene and play a role in it laid the ground for what he has called his "campaign." He began a "one-man attempt" to invent a visual Island culture and history—making a body o f memory available to give others a shared sense o f cultural and historical identity. "From knowledge o f the past we can best learn how to deal with the present, and, with limits, the  167  future," he said. "I have commenced with scenes associated with family history first, then formal history, and some miscellaneous scenes depicting Island beauty" ("Notes" n.d.). Paintings in the collection including, amongst others, Birth of the Island (1967), Discovery (1964), Catastrophe (1971), The Lottery (1980), The Fare-well Whistle (1989), DeRoma Settlement - Brudenell, P.E.I. (1982), Proclamation of Confederation (1979), Sunday Outing (undated),  Making Island Roads 1920  (1975), establish historical  moments and practices in the narrative o f Prince Edward Island. In this regard, the work enters the range o f cultural practices dispersed across the heritage landscape. Morrison's art and its evocation o f a collective memory parallels the invention o f tradition associated with representations o f past and o f place. H i s paintings of his personal past and the Island's history are as selective and as subjective as all historical fabrications. Autobiography and heritage intersect strikingly on this point. The act o f writing a memoir—sifting through memory and emotion to tell a story—reflects a certain attitude: " A l l o f us live with a life history in our mind, and very few o f us subject it to critical analysis. But we are storytelling creatures," notes writer Jill K e r Conway (1998, 55). Representations o f the past are inherently fictional, invented traditions. A s recent commentary on memory and history has made abundantly clear, heritage is inevitably selective: "it is futile to vilify heritage as biased. Prejudiced pride in the past is not worth the sorry upshot o f heritage but its essential aim. Heritage attests our identity and affirms our worth" (Lowenthal 1995, 2). Reshaping the past in his paintings and writings creates a palpable reservoir o f cultural images and symbols from which Prince Edward Island's story may be built, for "social memory is not stable as information; it is stable, rather, at the level o f shared meanings and remembered images." (Fentress and Wickham 1992, 57). H i s histories  168 compile an iconography o f landscape history, establishing a memory that is external. Memory, as Maurice Halbwachs (1980) argues, is socially constructed, and its base is much more i n the present than i n the past. Morrison's landscapes offer a narrative, bridging memory, myth, and history that deal with personal and collective experiences and interpretations o f past events. In his art, the past does not survive, o f course, with nuances intact. Memory inevitably involves interpretation and imagination, blurring historical fact. There is an emphasis  on detail, but the images  are thoroughly  narrative  landscapes,  often  accompanied by notes describing the scene depicted. Scotchfort 1772 (1968), for example, is intended to be symbolic o f the overall pioneer program, during the early period o f Island settlement. "The arrival at Scotchfort o f the settlers sent out by Captain John MacDonald from Scotland i n 1772 has been written by most Island historians," writes Morrison. "Although there were other important pioneer migrations to the Island about this time, this one provided the best description for a painting." A detail is added: "There has just been a spring rain shower, hence the rainbow." Captain Holland, Surveyor (1981) shows Samuel Holland, the individual responsible for mapping the Island landscape,  "readying for some  surveying, with his wife watching i n the  background. She's holding their baby, the first born under British rule i n the Island." This storied approach is evident i n his writing as well. In his description o f the arrival o f his ancestor, Ronald Roderick Morrison, for example, he writes: N o w with high hopes and a fair wind Ronald launched his boat. After putting aboard the various utensils and appurtenances that he had acquired during the winter months, M r . and M r s . Ronald Roderick Morrison set sail for Darnley. The sea was calm, their spirits lofty and bright as the world about them was clean and fresh i n the spring awakening. This was their honeymoon. The many tasks to be performed and the hardships that lay ahead were o f little consequence. Love knows no barriers.  169  ("Notes" n.d.) Morrison was quite conscious o f his invention; his interest was in making an accessible, textured history. A s he notes, The reader w i l l observe the fact that, despite the difficulty in obtaining an adequate supply o f authenticated logs or records, an honest but humble attempt has been made to portray an accurate chronology o f the origin o f the descendants o f Ronald Roderick Morrison. In the performance o f this task, some historical events have been injected for the purpose o f showing the general state o f living and how these events influenced and helped shape the destinies o f the several generations. ("Notes" n.d.)  Fig. 5.2 Pleasant Grove Farm 1962, oil on canvas panel, 40.3x50.5 cm. Collection of M a r y Morrison,  The "home place" and family are key themes that lie at the core o f his historical project. Morrison placed a high value on the traditional Prince Edward Island landscape,  170 where family histories and names are connected deeply to the lay o f the land established in the original survey o f 1764 by Samuel Holland. The physical structure o f home was the clearest concrete expression o f this connection (Fig 5.2). This is where family history and landscape history fuse. J . B . Jackson has suggested the house is the most reliable indicator o f essential identity: "House is much more than shelter. It implies a territory, a small sovereignty with its own laws and customs, its own history, its own jealously guarded boundaries. House stands for family, for dynasty" (1994, 189). Morrison identified powerfully with the Morrison homesteads established i n Darnley, Lot 18, six generations previous, and later in Pleasant Grove, i n Lot 34. In the painting Ancestral Homestead (1960), for example, Morrison records three homes: "The old Morrison place i n Darnley is representative o f most Island homesteads in the late 1700s and on into the 1900s. It is the ancestral home o f Ronald Morrison, who is listed at this place i n the first British census o f 1798. The purpose o f this picture is to illustrate the three successive types o f housing which were typical o f most Island family homes o f this period." The range o f painted renderings o f dwellings, such as Country Estate of Ken  Morrison and Family (1968), Morrison's at Darnley (undated), Pleasant Grove Farm (1962), Aerial View of Aunt Etta's (1969), Brennan's Cross (1961), and Wee Barra (1968), all markers o f the intimate relationship between land and family, give evidence o f where Morrison perceived authenticity in the landscape. This body is an important and telling core o f his collection o f work. A l l are filtered through personal experience and personal memory, indicating the house as a '"psychic state, and even when reproduced as it appears from the outside, it bespeaks intimacy" (Bachelard 1964, 72). The one interior of a house is also an image o f the heart o f the home: Grandma's Island Kitchen (1964)  171  represents the core o f historical Island experience and identity—its traditional personal and social centre. The images also show Morrison's mapping impulse.  H i s translation and  organization o f geographical reality into symbols is closer to direct resemblance, however, than conventional maps, displaying the perspective shared with "bird's-eye" and panoramic views. In the paintings' selective content, juxtapositions, and distortion o f perspective, they approach memory maps or mental maps o f experience and o f sites associated with historical events and memories. The ordering o f perceptual space from above is shared by many in the folk art tradition. So is the infusion o f subjective and sensory detail, a challenge to both conventional representational painting and maps. He recovers detail i n his paintings that is surrendered within a set o f codes that are historically and culturally determined both in their nature and presentation. A s a result, the knowledge gained from his paintings is different from that offered by conventional maps, but also from that learned from just looking at the landscape.  Morrison  reintroduces the human and emotional response to the landscape. Prioritizing elements o f imagination and intimacy, Morrison maps sites and landscape elements that are vestiges of tradition and culture, elements in retreat from modernization. Morrison's mappings that fuse real and imagined space, blending memory, myth and history, i n effect allow new and different perception. M a k i n g the detail o f the landscapes visible is the goal. These are clearly narrative landscapes, whether manifest as the three stages o f historical homes and footworn paths through the grass i n Ancestral Homestead (1960), or the labels identifying the residents o f homes and changing perspective i n Morrison's at Darnley (undated) to the point that houses lie on their side so the front is visible (Fig. 5.3). A legend is offered on the back o f the painting to identify  172 the home owners and order o f origin. He is articulating different kinds o f spaces and histories, enriching experience, knowledge, and understanding, and offering maps that, as Corner has suggested more generally: new worlds within past and present ones; they inaugurate new grounds upon the hidden traces o f a living context. The capacity to reformulate what already exists is the important step. A n d what already exists is more than just the physical attributes o f terrain (topography, rivers, roads, buildings) but includes also the various hidden forces that underlie the workings o f a given place. These include natural processes, such as wind and sun; historical events and local stories... (Corner 1999,214)  Fig. 5.3 Morrison's at Darnley undated, oil on canvas panel, 35.5 x 45.7 cm. Collection of Alfred Morrison.  M o v i n g beyond dwellings, he visually maps other locations, creating a vernacular landscape o f sites within personal and collective memory. Paintings such as Corran Ban (1969), Corran Ban (White Sickle) (1968), Little Bethany (1968), Darnley Lighthouses (1972), The First Road (Covehead 1772) (undated), Tracadie Harbour 1930 (undated),  173  St. Martin's 1868 (1979), First St. Peter's Road (undated), Port La Joie 1723 (1970), Scotchfort 1772 (1968), and Tryon Woolen Mill (1977) visually chart locations i n Prince Edward Island's  historical geography.  Each is recorded because  o f a particular  significance and resonance they hold, for personal memory, culture, history, and memory. Paths and roads were also important elements o f the developing Island landscape for Morrison, and a link with tradition. W o r n paths between buildings and other sites, showing how people used and moved around the landscape, recur throughout the paintings, as i n A Wilderness Farm 1832 (1977), Before the Church Came (1965), An Island Blacksmith Shop 1920 (1975), Pleasant Grove Farm (1962), and Ancestral Homestead (1960). The Island's red clay roads are a theme as well, leading to homesteads such as the one that brought h i m home in Pleasant Grove Tunnel (undated), or to Brennan's Cross (1961), and to the shore, as i n Darnley Lighthouses (1972). In paintings such as Making Island Roads 1920 (1975), and The First Road (Covehead 1772) (1968), the road does not lead to place; it is the place—a space associated with historical events and experiences. Making Island Roads 1920 (1975) "illustrates the method by which Island roads were made and maintained during the early 1900s. The project provided great excitement for the young people, and often kept them late coming home from school. A horse would sometimes break loose from its harness and run away." Again, there is a personal relevance: "The operator o f the road machine i n this painting was my uncle Linus Brennan." A n emphasis on continuity o f tradition i n the landscape also seems clear in the various documents in which he studies the establishment o f the Morrison family on Prince Edward Island and the movement o f the lineage from Darnley to Pleasant Grove.  174 such as his essays, "Reading for the Occasion—Family Gathering" (1964) and "In the Niche o f Time":  From: a father o f the sixth generation o f Ronald Morrison To: the present and future generations o f the same man It might be considered imprudent, for this the sixth generation o f Ronald in Prince Edward Island to ignore the heraldic responsibility which rests with them to keep alive the virtuous qualities o f the good name Morrison; responsibility, because this is the age o f change, and in such an age many good names become obscure because the bearers fall victim to the forces of adversity, and rapid progressive trends caused by change. Prince Edward Island, and the world, is now caught i n the grip o f change. The task o f adjusting to change fell to this generation o f Morrison.... This record is meant to act as a "confidence booster" to the descendants o f Ronald in this age o f change; to provide you with the grassroots lineage o f your background so as to bolster courage i n whatever endeavours you aspire to; it is your Heritage! It is built on the hard-spent anxieties, sweat, toil, tears, and close observance o f Religion and L a w o f the land by your ancestors as they pushed back the wilderness to make it better for you. Y o u must guard it in your time. It gives you a special right to make your voices heard in matters o f Government as well as civil and Church affairs in righteous indignation, but not arrogance. B u i l d upon their foundation! ("In the niche o f time" n.d.)  "The past is a foreign country," author Leslie Hartley has written, "They do things differently there" (1953). The past that becomes an imagined landscape and Morrison's "foreign country," is frequently the period o f the 1920s and 1930s on Prince Edward Island. In the images, as in his memoir, he returns again and again to scenes and elements o f his experience o f that time, memories o f his childhood visits and his return to the Island as a young man. Describing Tracadie Harbour 1930 (undated), he writes, "I saw this operation i n 1930, but older fishermen told me that this was the way it was done during the 1800s and early 1900s. A l l the boats in Tracadie Harbour were powered by  175 gasoline engines except two, which still used sails. I was at Tracadie Harbour for two years, then went to Boston, Massachusetts, U . S . A . " (Fig. 5.4)  Fig. 5.4 Tracadie Harbour 1930 undated, oil on canvas panel, 35.5x45.7 cm. Collection of Alfred Morrison.  A series o f paintings attempt to recover and make visible elements o f Prince Edward Island tradition o f this era, such as An Island Blacksmith Shop 1920 (1975), An Island Cheese Factory1920 (1977) Darnley Lighthouses (1972), and A Barrack of Grain and a Wind-Powered Water Pump (1978). "Things o f by-gone days on Prince Edward Island. 1920s and 1930s," he inscribes on the back o f the latter painting, "During these days o f change in Prince Edward Island, many objects once in everyday use on the farm are now rarely seen. T w o such items are shown in this painting." In it, the visual presentation o f the images are not realistic; the perspective is shaped to show elements, opened up so they can be seen clearly. An Island Blacksmith Shop 1920 (1975) captures another historical element. "The painting is intended to preserve another very old  176  institution i n our Island heritage, the community blacksmith. Soon many w i l l have forgotten the interesting sights and activities which were presented in and about his busy shop." The recollection o f the past is his primary impulse. Whereas conventional maps tend to "desocialise" the territory they represent, fostering a sense o f space that is socially empty and static (Corner 1999, 214), Alfred Morrison, through his art, generates a living landscape and encourages an understanding of one's role i n shaping it, in making it "full". For as J . B . Jackson writes, "it is when we recognize the role we have played and continue to play whenever we plow a field, put in a garden...or  build a road that we learn a greater awareness o f our relationship to  the...environment" (Jackson 1994, 196). Morrison's work offers a place that has acquired its shape and layers through generations o f interaction between land and the people who have left their mark on its surface.  H i s images are infused with this keen sense o f  observation as well as a compelling play o f artistic imagination. The result are landscapes that are "recognisable fictions," performing as narratives and fables, telling Prince Edward Island. Throughout his work, Morrison is strikingly conscious o f the power o f expression. Images and words do things. They simultaneously invent truth and legitimate experience. They give presence and shape to landscape. They make things real. Perception and experience are moulded by the way places are expressed, in the way imagination is made concrete and tangible. A s systems o f communication, Tuan has suggested, places can direct attention, organize insignificant entities into significant composite wholes, and i n so doing, make things formerly overlooked - and hence invisible and non-existent visible and real" (Tuan 1991, 684-5). One cannot miss the self-consciousness  in  Morrison's own work. There is an awareness that creative expression offers powerful raw  177 materials from which a sense o f identity and authenticity o f experience may be built. The artist has found material in and all around him, drawing upon his own memory, his family's history, as well as from Island landscape and history, giving it concrete shape i n paintings and print. He has transformed his own experience, creating an imaginative geography o f Prince Edward Island:  Whatever else I do in the pursuit o f Art, my fondest subject is that o f making pictures o f Prince Edward Island with the numerous picturesque settings o f its towns and hamlets, and o f its buildings which dot the countryside everywhere one looks; o f its landscapes and seascapes, its gentle rolling countryside and red roads, its beautiful coastal scenery o f sandy beaches and high red banks, its complete show o f fertility i n richly coloured growth in crops-meadows—and varying species o f trees. One could make pictures here for a lifetime i n one's own back yard; no need for fringe dressing—the simple reality o f it all provides full beauty and colour. ("Art notes" n.d.) Ultimately, he offers images of place that may be used. Morrison's intent was that his images would be used to educate and in 1980 the publication o f his images in the form o f My Island Pictures was distributed to each school i n Prince Edward Island and placed in Grade Six classrooms to supplement the study o f Prince Edward Island history. In the recent exhibition o f his work at the Confederation Centre A r t Gallery & Museum, the Provincial Department o f Education coordinated school tours. Over an eight month period, 54 groups o f Island students saw the exhibition, comprising the largest audience for the work. The paintings have also introduced those from away to Morrison's construction o f the Island's history. In 1981, in conjunction with the earlier exhibition o f a portion o f his work, a film, God's Island, was produced about the artist and his work by Doomsday Studios o f Halifax and broadcast by the B B C . Individual works have also been featured i n  178 several books about Prince Edward Island and review articles. The recent exhibition o f his work at the  Confederation Centre was pinpointed by institution's  marketing  programme as a key promotional opportunity i n their aim to move beyond the musical production o f Anne of Green Gables in encouraging tourism managers and operators to incorporate the institution in their packages and planning. The exhibition opened i n conjunction with the national conference o f the Canadian Museum Association in Charlottetown in M a y 2000, and several other national conferences held receptions i n the gallery space.  A s an outcome o f the general publicity the images received during their  showing from M a y to December 2000, a painting was requested to serve as the image on the menu for a banquet i n association with the Royal Visit to Charlottetown in July 2000, which had an international attendance. Morrison's artistic representation is part o f the creation o f a collective memory o f sites and events, adding to the inventory o f icons, and the chain o f metaphors and myths that he records i n An Island Collage (undated): the Island Hymn, the provincial crest, a lady's slipper, a potato, a blue jay, a lobster, and an oak tree. Morrison's images o f place are powerful. They have not simply emerged from Prince Edward Island, but the history they hold within them plays a role in the ongoing construction o f its imaginative geography. These stories, it is clear, are not single tellings; they are about continually reinventing, retelling—and reminding. A s such, Morrison's images and the writings that support them provide a gateway into the certain version o f history and construction o f "tradition" that permeate this intervention. David Lowenthal writes, "The locus o f memory lies more readily i n place than i n time...landscape seems the seat o f collective memory, rooted as it is in specific sites and suffused with the quotidian and the communal. Landscapes have become one o f the most popular aspects o f our diverse  179 heritage. They are treasured familiar loci o f daily life, precious for the personal and tribal memories they contain"(1997, 180). A s they circulate in the social world, they become part o f the communication o f what is important to remember and therefore part o f the wider contestation over place and Islandness. They convey a certain version o f history, adding to the social construction o f traditions and memories.  A s imaginative  texts, the paintings create rather than reflect the world o f experience and are part o f the struggle, as Said has argued, over the collective imagination (1993).  Landscapes of modernity Morrison's dedication to communicating the Island's history and the importance of "home place" set the stage for his unhappiness with the transforming landscape. In changes associated with modernization, he saw an increasing sense o f crisis o f historical continuity. H i s paintings show his regret at changes in traditional ways o f living, such as fishing and farming, and a critique o f the results o f modernization, such as the loss o f family farms and rural communities and outmigration. H i s intent, however, was not record the changes taking place, but to make the past meaningful to the present and future, as in A Hard Challenge 1969 (undated) (Fig. 5.5): The time o f this scene was the period o f Island history from 1969 up to and after 1980. The theme o f the picture is the attitude o f the horse farmer. He is locked into a pensive mood about the revolution that is taking place in Island agriculture: the invasion o f the tractor and mechanized equipment, and he is pondering over the thoughts o f joining the revolution or rejecting it.  180 The movement was called "vertical integration," a title which indicated that everything that applied to agriculture must become bigger than at present. Horses must be replaced by tractors, more storage buildings erected, and, in most cases, three times as much land must be acquired; more must be grown in larger fields and more products sold... The horse farmer fears debt. He sees that in the event he joins this movement, he w i l l be obliged to fall deeply into debt in order to support it. O n the other hand, i f he rejects the tractor program, he would be compelled to give up his present way o f life and probably be forced into early retirement. A "hard challenge faces h i m , " and so he ponders over what he sees across the fence. ("Notes" n.d.)  Fig. 5.5 A Hard Challenge 1969, undated, oil on canvas panel, 35.5x45.8 cm. Collection of Charles Morrison.  A Hard Challenge 1969 (undated) was painted in response to the ambitious economic and social development plan initiated by the Federal Government in 1969. The Comprehensive Development Plan would be implemented over a fifteen year period at a cost o f $725 million. Its aim was to "create conditions in which the people o f Prince Edward Island can create viable economic enterprises for themselves" (Department o f  181 Regional Economic Expansion 1969). Seeking to adapt the Island economy to a larg