Atlas of Places
Le Périph’ Fragments
There is something here that recalls the question posed by Heidegger in his 1951 Darmstadt lecture: how to dwell in a world where dwelling is something that must always be learned anew. Heidegger was aware that life in the Black Forest farmhouse was no longer possible; his lesson is not one of nostalgia for that life but of the search for a form of dwelling willing to abandon the ideals of fullness and presence that dominate our cultural memory of that life, and prepared to find consolation in the freedom granted by the displacements of the contemporary world.
Heidegger called for an awareness of the essential homelessness of the modern, industrialized world in order to relieve the misery of that condition. Harries takes up this theme half a century later by renouncing the idea of dwelling as a figure of centeredness in favor of its eccentricity, displacement, and mobility. The attempt to “come home” in the sense of returning to the true center is to deny that essential eccentricity, one that “needs to be thought in relation to a center, but a center that withdraws whenever we seek to seize it”.