DATE: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
TIME: 4:30 p.m
PLACE: Room A, Ladera Lane campus
CANDIDATE: Tamara Gabrielle Milanich
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Earthly Icons—Luminous Debris: The Anima Loci and a Making of Placial Gesture"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-J; 2005
COORDINATOR: Dr. Ruth Meyer
ADVISOR: Dr. Ed Casey
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Dylan Trigg
Milanich, T. (2013). Earthly Icons—Luminous Debris: The Anima Loci and a Making of Placial Gesture (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013)
From the interstices upon and within placial surfaces, begotten from the anima loci —that most “eventmental” (Casey, 2004, p. 337) creature of making—there emerges into in-visibility, meaning, “a lining of invisibility that is in the visible,” (Galen, 1993, p. 52) gestures of natura naturans, nature naturing, anima animating, and soul souling. To encounter creature-hood in such luminous debris, a debris gleaming into on-going presenced Being, engages a mutual making inviting the observer to learn distinct placial languages. These gestures—these earthly icons—offer a query: While humankind is allotted a true imagination from which can be made an unending representational materiality of interior images, can we not too imagine this same allotment emerging from the anima loci, and more pointedly, imagine ourselves being imagined, being made?
This phenomenological dissertation uses the scientific, philosophical and poetic renderings of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as a distinct methodology. Contributing to his development of a phenomenal observational process, Goethe’s textual and imagistic portraits craft a map for the exploration of the Urphänomen, as exemplified by animae locorum. In making of Goethean thought and imagination a praxis towards an observation of the in-visible, those gleaming gestures, the dynamic archetypal pattern of the quincunx emerged, revealing five interpermeating qualities of the anima loci’s placial gesture. Described, translated, and recorded in such a way as to create verbal and photographically chiaroscuro portraits, the qualities of earthiness, transrationality, the uncanny, the chthonic, and the presence of erotic making, reveal the presence of placial ecopoiesis. A conclusion thereby drawn from these encounters illuminates the personal event of Querencia: a moment of re-enchantment, an evanescent intensity leading to re-enchanted vision of place and home. The enveloping implication of this exploration points to the potential of a re-enchanted gaze addressing eco-anxiety and the chthonic event of ecopsychological and environmental dis-enchantment.
Keywords: Anima loci, Animism, Archetypal Ecopsychology, Invisible, Making, Place, Soul-Making