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Détour and Retour: Practices and poetics of salt as narratives of relation and re-generation in Brixton

Beinart, Katherine Lusi Emma; (2019) Détour and Retour: Practices and poetics of salt as narratives of relation and re-generation in Brixton. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Drawing on the work of Martiniquan poet Edouard Glissant and his ‘poetics of Relation’ (1990), this practice-based PhD explores how salt features in relationships of migration and change in urban places, in particular the context of Brixton, an area of London with a strong migrant identity. Following Glissant’s notion of détour and retour, this thesis moves between geographical locations through a series of four narrative journeys from Brixton, outwards to South Africa, Eastern Europe, Portugal, and Haiti, returning each time to Brixton as a ‘homeplace’. Each chapter is arranged as a détour and retour, developing a practice and poetics of salt that offers a productive reading of Brixton’s current regeneration. I explore salt’s use in offering forms of protection, preservation and reawakening through re-enacting rituals found in everyday and religious practices from across different diasporas. I engage with auto-ethnographic research into my family history and Jewish cultural customs around salt, as well as engage with others’ stories and salt products that link to specific places through migration. Using practices that perfomatively engage with the materiality of salt, I build on work by artists including Robert Smithson and Sigalit Landau. Overall, this thesis argues that practices and poetics of salt can be linked to processes of migration and regeneration. The thesis shows how salt practices can be used to understand the particular poetics of salt and how salt acts as an index in artworks that point to ideas of migration and diaspora. These material and poetic qualities of salt make it a rich vehicle for alternative approaches to regeneration, particularly in sites such as Brixton. I argue for a renegotiation of the language of regeneration of these sites, instead proposing a ‘poetics of regeneration’ through a re-reading of Glissant’s terms of détour and retour as well as his poetics of Relation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Détour and Retour: Practices and poetics of salt as narratives of relation and re-generation in Brixton
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Architecture
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066743
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