Czech Republic

Petr Gibas

Voids: The Landscape Between Presence and Absence

The landscape of the North Bohemian Basin is a landscape of constant change. Mining and the material changes it brought about impacted on meanings inscribed into the landscape, ideas associated with individual places as well as with the landscape as a whole and emotions expected to be enticed by it. In the landscape, emptiness is produced on a massive scale by massive relocation of matter, demolition of monuments as well as ordinary spaces related to the past, obliteration and forgetting. It is also landscape in which a reverse process takes place, a continuous infilling of the emptiness by (re)created elements, material objects such as a whole new city, as well as by contents, meanings and emotions. The processes of disappearance and reappearance fundamentally (in)form the landscape materially as well as symbolically. The intermingling of these two basic processes results in the landscape which is full of voids where the tensions between presence and absence stand out peculiarly. But in the process of filling in the voids produced alongside mining, other voids emerge. In my talk, I show how these grow out of a tension between presence and absence and how they impact on material, symbolic as well as experiential properties of the landscape in question.

Petr Gibas, Mgr, MSc. graduated in geography at UCL and he is now finishing his PhD studies in social anthropology at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He works at the Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences, where he specializes in sociology of home and homelessness. In general, he is interested in landscape and urban anthropology with emphasis put on hybrid landscapes such as industrial landscape of post-industrial Czech Republic, post-socialist underground landscapes or urban nature. He is a co-author of Non-humans in Social Science: Animals, Spaces, Things (2011), Non-humans in Social Sciences: Ontologies, Theories and Case Studies (2014) and Allotment Gardens: Shadow of the Past or a Glimpse of the Future? (2014).

Selected publications

2014. Fenomenologie prostoru: O geografii místa, krajiny i nepřítomnosti. In Prostor(y) geografie, ed. by R. Osman and R. Matoušek. Prague: Karolinum.
2013. Lidé ve městě uhlí a oceli: Vizuální analýza příkladného socialistického města. Český lid 100, 3: 341-360.
2013. Uncanny underground: Absences, ghosts and the rhythmed everyday of the Prague metro. Cultural Geographies 20, 4: 485-500.
2012. Vizualita a ještě dál: k postupnému otevírání se české společenské vědy. Biograf 55.
2010 Ballet amidst fences: Placelessness and place-attachment in one Prague suburb. Slovenský národopis 58(5), 584-598.
2010. Globalised Aestheticisation of Urban Decay. In Beyond Globalisation: Exploring the Limits of Globalisation in the Regional Context, ed. P. Mácha and V. Kopeček, 155-161. Ostrava: Ostravská univerzita.
2010. Na tom našem hybridním venkově: fotograficko-esejistická trilogie o venkovech Drahanské vrchoviny. Biograf 51, 103-107.
2010: Příběhy (post)socialistického podzemí. In Evropské město: Identita, symbol, mýtus, B. Soukupová et al., 174-186. Zing Print: Bratislava.
2010. Tereza Vandrovcová - Zvíře jako pokusný objekt: sociologická analýza. Nepublikovaná recenze pro vydavatele.
2009. Česká republika, Prague a (ne)regulérní migrace. Prague: Útvar rozvoje hl. M. Prahy.
2008. Duchařský obrat společenských věd, aneb duchové (a lidé) v pražském metru. Sborník HMČ UK 7, 9-12. Prague: UK.

Powerplant/Elektrárna Tušimice II, photo archive FOS

Powerplant/Elektrárna Tušimice II, photo archive FOS