Coldnoon (International Journal of Travel Writing & Travelling Cultures) is an international and interdisciplinary online and print journal that publishes poetry, research papers, nonfiction, fiction and travel bulletin in the areas of travel, travelling cultures, literary and human geography, psychogeography, situationism, urbanism, and other new perspectives on spatiality and travel. It was started online on September 23, 2011. Presently it is published weekly-to-monthly in the digital medium, and twice a year in print.
Coldnoon is interested–apart from writings and studies in mainstream travel literature–in texts and spaces which constitute or determine travel and the formation of new spaces. We are therefore, looking for studies on spaces which have become ossified in literary imagination, such as cities, imaginary townships, and spatial identities which have (once) dominated fictional thought but are now left to a taken-for-grantedness of location.
More than travel literature, what facilitates travel is the literary architecture of the space in question. Not only border-crossings but everyday modes and passages of travel need occupy literary and critical thought to highlight the importance of quotidian spaces of labour, mobility, being, becoming and also the voyage immobile.
Coldnoon redefines travel in all its subjectivity, and relocates it as part of everyday discourses. It is therefore interested in smaller, local, or ground travels which pay attention to the common, forsaken, details of everyday journeys—roads, vehicles, literature, discourses, politics, hence texts, that are otherwise thought to belong in another realm, but are constantly defined and described from within the vocabulary of travel.
Time, as Michel Foucault said, had ruled philosophy prior to the era of space, an era that is now. This spatial era has been called forth by a progressive sclerosis in contemporary thought to historicize and temporalize being and its existence. In keeping with Henri Lefebvre’s heterodidactical thoughts on being, in his Rhythmanalysis, it must be borne that to temporalize is never to de-spatialize. Time does not precede space, or vice versa. Also, before or simultaneous to any material dialectic, or transcendental thought, there is the condition of a spatial dialectic–a travelogy.
What is Travelogy?
With every shift of every wind
The homesick memories come,
From every quarter of mankind
Where I have made me a home.
—“The Fires,” Prelude to the Collected Verses,
Travelogy is the ideology of travel. It is also how much home the traveller constructs and what modes he adopts in the process: coercion, memory, exile, emigration, expatriation, colonialism, and so forth. It is not simply a comprehension of travel in terms of ideology, but in terms of spaces.
One does not always comprehend space while travelling. For Spinoza God was the “Supreme immobile mover”. For him, and for Leibniz, God was the supreme indiscernible who was also at once the origin of space, and its “mathematician” respectively. This space is vulnerable to being thought of as a void. To occupy this void is to engender space; to do so one must travel into this spatial void. Thus God is not merely spatial realm but a travelogic realm, a realm of perpetual travel from which space is derived by the naming of the (parts of the) void.
Travelogy is a vector; it determines–more than mobility–the direction and the settlement towards a certain space. As opposed to nomadology–which is rhizomatic and is constantly motivated by deterritorialisation–the territorialisation of the traveller is the prime determinant of his travelogy. He settles anywhere between the home and the void, both of which he is originally born into. He is not born into the social or the monumental spaces that exist in the life of a traveller. He is instead born into the dual space of the home and the universe which is indiscernible to him.
The non-traveller either does not territorialize, or travels in a series of deterritorializations either dedicated to the war machinery of the state, or the ideologies of his anti-statist tribe. The traveller is located in the shadow of a doubt, in the realm of indiscernibility and constant difference of his spatiality. This space is indiscriminate from his being. The relation between the traveller and his momentary space of territorialisation is his spatial-being, from which is born the concept of a poetics of travel, or of travelling between terminals of travel, while spatially being at rest.
“Noon” is a hot interval between day and dusk; it is when the sun is at peak of its angular (and supposedly per temperature) degrees with the earth. While travelling at noon, the traveller perspires. The cooling off of perspiration or moisture leaves any object-body cooler than before. This is paradoxically the temperate nature of the noon-travel. The traveller having come to rest on a pavement a crossroad or a shadowed ground does not appear to travel at all, much less to another non-resting traveller. But here he takes stock of where he came from, and where he must be bound. Without this unique space all his travels, past or future are indescribable and inconceivable. It is a moment of truth, realisation and epiphany–a kaleidoscopic introspection motivated by frozen sights of the journey. It is a moment of inertia in this travel. This–“Coldnoon” moment–is the interval between two journeys undertaken by a traveller who having sat in the temperate shade begins to travel both, philosophically inwards, and also materially outwards, into existence.
This formulation begs a set of complex questions that CTPIJTW seeks to address from time to time:
The traveller and the travelled can only inhabit a synchronous spatial reality—the travelogic spatial-being. If the traveller ceases to exist, does so the travelled space?
Does travel also become non-existent once the traveller has exited, or it remains as a mathematical ontology such as God, or with God? We do acknowledge that there was some place to exit in the first place how does the non-traveller or the nomad know it is moving from one void to the next? Surely not every travel can be the original travel? And, finally if travel exists only in the moment when the traveller and travelled are one, then how do we understand landmarks or monuments or gardens or mountain ranges or signs etched into barks of trees that mark a space even in the absence of an active traveller. Even though to the traveller the combinations of signs in a landscape mean something entirely unique the space is not a void without him, or is it?
Coldnoon envisions travel not as flux but instead as gaps in travelling itself. “Coldnoon” means a shadowed instant in time when the inertia of motion of images, thoughts and spectacles comes to rest upon a still and cold moment. A sudden break motion leads to the cooling off of a particle and this temperate moment is essential to the rapid merging of visions and an involuntary expression of this kaleidoscope. Our travels are about the reporting of purposeless and unselfconscious narratives the human mind experiences when justify in a vacuum between terminals of travel.
The objective of CTPIJTW is to study the forms and formations of literary texts, through travelogy. The travelogy of a travel act or literature depicting a travel act, is its political difference from, inertness to, or defiance of, a tradition of travel that has preceded it. Like capital, travel also accumulates and creates a tradition, and a system of its own. Every traveller is in de facto opposition to the accumulation of travel, like any labour force is in de facto opposition to accumulation of capital. The market and the globe are self-regulators of utility and travelogy, respectively.
Coldnoon aims to construct a theoretical paradigm, and an archive, to study travel literature and literature itself. So far travel has been studied with the concepts of “aggression”, “usurpation”, “desire”, “reconnaissance” and from within the confines of postcolonial theory. In short, travel has been looked upon as something that is colonial from its inception. However, travel is only as outwardly a colonizing force as it can be inwardly, or spiritually decolonizing. It begins with a loss of personal identity in the other’s culture, instead of the latter being usurped. The possibility of usurpation comes only in situ, when the traveller has been able to trace back its parochial network and seek agency from its land of nativity or commission. This is a corruption of—or modification of the erstwhile—subjective travelogy which now begins to approximate colonial ideology. But, without the stoppage of travel, that is, within the paradigm of travel itself, the subjectivity of the traveller is self-effacing. It is, as Deleuze and Guattari have called, a “becoming-animal” or an ideal deterritorialisation from the shackles of time, space, identity, et cetera. In this regard, travel may be of two categories: extensive (global/grand) or intensive (local/small). We (fore)see travel as the latter, that is, a state of ‘voyage immobile’ or local, proximate journeys that are far more frequently part of our everyday.
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