Temporality of place or the place of temporality?

How many lifetimes have these dwelt in this place? Are they still alive? Who is living there now?

“I’m not sure if they are even alive” – child, aged 6.

“They have to be in the water to be alive” – another child.

“To appreciate the agencies of nature and materiality, not only do we
need to appreciate the very differing forms of beings and processes in which they are articulated, but also the very differing velocities and rhythms they might be operating in. Places are ‘where spatial narratives meet up or form configurations, conjunctions of trajectories which have their own temporalities’ (Massey,2005: 139)” (Jones and Cloke, 2008, 87)

The land measures time differently. Sea-levels rise and fall bringing with them extinction…and…rebirth.
How many footfalls have passed this tree, carrying messages from the tree to the thrombolites? Does the tree notice? Do the passing feet ?

The failure to articulate non-human agency within its own ecological time-scales as well as in its own places has made it difficult to grasp the notion of non-human agency within extant and more anthropocentric views of agency” (Jones and Cloke, 2008, 82, original emphasis)

Processes, velocities and rhythms of currents, forces and pressure at work in the ecological time-scales of water and land.

“Water pushes fossils down and layers get on top but they need to get a bit older to push down” – child, aged 6.

Air and water are not objects that act. They are material media in which living things are immersed, and are experienced by way of their currents, forces and pressure gradients” (Ingold, 2008, 212)

A meshwork of spider webs spanning between transpiring trees amidst the material media of air-water-land. Web becomes cloud. Predator-prey-meal-waste. But how easy the web falls prey to those that blunder into it.
These young children help build a web; a temporary ephemeral work woven of string.


Ingold, T. (2008). When ANT meets SPIDER: Social theory for arthropods. In C. Knappett & L. Malafouris (eds.), Material agency: towards a non-anthropocentric approach. Springer, Boston , MA.

Jones, O., & Cloke, P. (2008). Non-human agencies: trees in place and time. In Knappett, C. & Malafouris, L. (eds). Material Agency: Towards a Non-Anthropocentric Approach (pp. 79-96). Springer, Boston, MA.

Massey, D. B. (2005). For space. Sage, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi.