“Centuries ago, before language, in villages that were surrounded by deep forests, the adults would take the children to the edge of that forest and pinch their ear, just enough so that it really hurt. This allowed for the children to roam freely up to the barrier of what was considered the safe ground, there on that border they would feel pain and cease their adventuring.”
This is the story that Lucy narrated to me in the car on our way south out of Hobart as we headed towards Margate. Although she brought it up in answer to a question I had posed to her about myth-making – she said she had read it in Martin Warnke’s book the Political Landscape. The Art History of Nature (2004) – in hindsight, I feel she was forewarning me about the day ahead.
She was to take me to the cardinal edges of the city, but instead of pinching my ear at each site, Lucy thrust me outward, or deeply inward. Urging me to follow her line of thinking, we spent the day encircling the outer limits of human understanding by visiting the histories, both past and present, of attempts to reach beyond our sensory capacities through governance, technology, and reverie.