(Hetero)Topologies of an Eastern Cape Province Nature Reserve

Presented by James Merron

Monday, 11 October, 2021 - 16:00

This paper is about the relationship between aerial photography and ground surveys in terms of space making in South Africa. The technical term for the relationship is 'ground truthing' which shifts the analysis from the visual panopticism of aerial photography to more specific and grounded histories of image production and circulation (Rizzo 2020). This interest emerged from observations that I made during a workshop between farmers and scientists that took place within a nature reserve in the Eastern Cape Province. During this encounter I was struck by radically different views about space that people have and the forms of evidence they use to legitimise their arguments. 'Heterotopia' is a useful conceptual tool for understanding how space is represented, contested and inverted. There is perhaps no culture or society, Michel Foucault (1986) argued, that fails to produce heterotopias and no two heterotopias can be exactly compared. However the following sets out to understand competing topologies by focusing on scientific reference making and alternative formulations by farmers

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