Oh, the places they'll go! Mobility, place and landscape in the film This is Nowhere

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Abstract

Filmmaker Doug Hawes-Davis presents an ironic and strangely dissonant interpretation of American culture in the documentary This is Nowhere, an exposé of RV travelers who circumnavigate the country "camping" in Wal-Mart parking lots. I proffer an interpretation of the film that explodes the fiction of placelessness, as nowhere serves as a poignant foil in evoking the meaning of mobility, place and landscape in America. Through ingenious editing and timely cuts to eclectic film footage, the viewer is taken on a journey of cultural contradictions, driven by the balderdash of Wal-Mart campers who speak their minds on a panoply of issues: mobility, freedom, nature, resources, consumption, government, social class, community, globalization and homogenization, suburban sprawl, urban poverty and blight. The result is a theater of the absurd acted out in surreal Wal-Mart and highway commercial strip scapes, vehicles and people jiggling in fast motion staccato, going nowhere. This is Nowhere takes us on an existential journey, enticing viewers to pause and reflect on American society, culture and place: what have we wrought?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-90
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Cultural Geography
Volume23
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2005

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camping
interpretation
urban sprawl
parking
social class
theater
globalization
poverty
road
resource
resources
community
Society
consumption
freedom
culture (society)
vehicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Oh, the places they'll go! Mobility, place and landscape in the film This is Nowhere. / McHugh, Kevin.

In: Journal of Cultural Geography, Vol. 23, No. 1, 09.2005, p. 71-90.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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