First this three-hundred-mile line demarcated counties, then countries and will next be the frontier of the European Union. As the uncertain agreements and ‘statements of intent’ are confirmed and disavowed by the UK and EU representatives over the Irish border we look at the topography of this line on the map and consider the human geography of borderlands. Cartographer, artist and writer Garrett Carr has in his book The Rule of the Land told the story of Ireland’s border and a created a portrait of its landscape and people. Carr will join in conversation with the writer and filmmaker Iain Sinclair whose work is rooted in London and lately within the influences of psychogeography.
“Garrett Carr engages a mapmaker’s eye and a writer’s sensibility to create a great book” The Irish Times.
We pass here into another allegiance,
expect new postage stamps, new prices, manifestoes,
and brace ourselves for the change. But the landscape does not alter;
we had already entered these mountains an hour ago.
From The Frontier, by John Hewitt 1962
Both writers have explored borderlands and those neglected blanks on the map that hide so much of our past, the disconnect between mapped boundaries and shared experience. Sinclair’s fascinating and haunting book London Orbital recounts the year he spent walking around the M25 – the motorway that encircles London. Carr’s The Rule of the Land explores a fragile borderland, with an uncertain future. By foot or canoe he followed the border closely. At night he camped out on the land. He visited architecture on the border, forts and dykes as well as defensive buildings of the Troubles. His engagements those living on the frontier, bring us the lived experience of the line on the map.
‘Here in this brilliant, crackling series of final walks through the London landscape, he finds the dissolving identity of the city increasingly disconcerting.’ Review of The Last London in The Observer.
Speaker: Garrett Carr
Garrett Carr was born in Donegal in 1975. He has previously published three Young Adult novels. A lecturer in Creative Writing at Queen’s University, he lives in Belfast with his family. His research interests include writing about place, history and memoir. He is also a map-maker and publishs academically on the topic of cartography. He holds an MA in Art History, an MPhil in Geography and a PhD in Creative Writing. In his exhibition Mapping Alternative Ulster he brought together diverse mapmakers: local historians, activists, artists, geographers and urban planners for a show of maps. See his website here: http://www.garrettcarr.net/
Speaker: Iain Sinclair
Iain Sinclair is the award-winning writer of numerous critically acclaimed books on London, including Lights Out for the Territory, London Orbital and London Overground. The son of a Welsh GP, Sinclair studied in Dublin before moving to London with his wife. His early work was self-published, and he worked as a teacher and labourer while researching occult aspects of the city’s past. He won the Encore Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel Downriver. Sinclair has been documenting the peculiar magic of the river-city that absorbs and obsesses him for most of his adult life. He lives in Hackney, East London. In his most recent book, The Last London (2017), he strikes out on a series of solitary walks and collaborative expeditions to make a final reckoning with a capital stretched beyond recognition. See his website here: http://www.iainsinclair.org.uk/