Root Excavation – Day 04


As our unearthing of the root continues and we contend with grafts, elbows, changes in pitch, and buried infrastructure (!), we are also grappling with this act of ‘drawing’ upon the site. Is our drawing the root, the trench, or as Alisa insightfully noted, the displaced soil itself? What is the assertion put forth by our delineation of the root, of the tree, of the site? Who is this assertion for? Laura Kurgan in her fantastic book “Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology & Politics” cites Rosalyn Deutsche in discussing this entanglement of representation/reality/politics.

Reality and representation mutually imply each other. This does not mean, as it is frequently held, that no reality exists or that it is unknowable, but only that no founding presence, no objective source, or privileged ground of meaning, ensures a truth lurking behind representations and independent of subjects. Nor is the stress on representation a desertion of the field of politics; rather, it expands and recasts our conception of the political to include the forms of discourse. We might even say that it is thanks to the deconstruction of a privileged ground and the recognized impossibility of exterior standpoints that politics becomes a necessity. For in the absence of given or nonrelational meanings, any claim to know directly a truth outside representation emerges as an authoritarian form of representation employed in battles to name reality. There can never be an unproblematic—simply given—”representation of politics,” but there is always a politics of representation. 

Laura Kurgan, Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology & Politics, (New York: Zone Books, 2013), 18.


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