How does a territory come to be identified, physically or figuratively, and who constructs that definition?

For our next web issue, Figuring Territory, we launch the first open call for contributions to the CCA website: a call to imagine, construct, dismantle, rebuild, write, and rewrite understandings of territory. While the term “territory” is often used to describe a specific, delineated body of land, power, or knowledge, such a formal definition is complicated—even obscured or negated—by the flows of words, images, and stories that circulate across boundaries and timeframes.

The perception of a territory is shaped at least as much by narrative—imagined, consumed, and received—as by borders and legal jurisdiction. In his 2003 video essay Los Angeles Plays Itself, Thom Andersen takes on this dissonance between image and place, questioning the degree to which the city documented as backdrop in countless Hollywood films is anything like the movie version. Comparing the “real” Los Angeles to its “reel” counterpart, Andersen’s narrator muses: “We might wonder if the movies have ever really depicted Los Angeles.” At what point do the factual and the fictionalized intersect? And where do they depart?

Abstract submission deadline: 7 February 2022

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