The idea of 'flirting' with space is central to this book. Space is conceptualised as being in constant flux as we make our way through various contexts in our daily lives, and is considered in relation to encounters with complexities and flows of material culture. This book focuses on journeys, which are perceived as dynamic processes of contemporary life and its spaces, and how creativity happens in the inter-relations of space and journeys encourage creativity.
Unravelled through a range of empirical case studies of journeys through and encountered with space, this book builds new critical syntheses of the intertwining of space and life. Based on investigations undertaken by the author over the past 20 years, it explores the mundane and the exotic, the 'lay' and the 'artistic', combining and inter-relating them in a diversity of time and expression, fleeting and surviving. Such investigations, using both visual and non-visual material, include examinations of allotment holding, the work of artists, caravanning and tourism, photography and parish maps. The analyses of such seemingly disparate subjects are linked together and build on each other to create a fascinating and original view of humanity's interaction with space. Included are fresh discussions of belonging, disorientation and the working of identity and play. The notion of 'gentle politics' is introduced.
Reviews: 'Crouch invites his readers on a journey that meanders through the workings of myriad artists, sojourners, and theorists, evoking resonances between seemingly unrelated pathways of intellectual and emotional discovery. Flirting with Space is a work of enchanting potential, written from the unique perspective of a mature artist and distinguished scholar.'
Sally Ness, University of California Riverside, USA
'A phenomenal and sensational work, Flirting with Space speaks of David Crouch's intense and passionate interest in how it feels to feel. His spatial theories on life as it's lived are spry and vital, asserting the generative and creative power held by people, trusting in the ordinariness of emotion and common experience, and seeking out practices of humane value.'
Hayden Lorimer, University of Glasgow, UK
'In offering the reader a scholarly account of how to live more creatively, Flirting with Space surely achieves something significant. David Crouch is an academic in the field of cultural geography so it is not surprising to find cultural geographic ideas playing centre stage in this book. What is more surprising, perhaps, is the way in which he weaves those ideas together with others more at home within the disciplines of philosophy, art history, social science and cultural studies, skilfully traversing disciplines in a potentially useful way.'
'Flirting with Space offers an illuminating insight into the lay geographies and practices of performativity, travel/tourism and creativity and an important contribution to theorisations on space, the body and emotions, and everyday life.'
Journal of Tourism Consumption and Practice
'… this is a book for reading for pleasure and I am sure it must have been written for the same reason.'
Geografiska Annaler Series B
'David Crouch’s extensive specialist knowledge […] and an unusual breadth of reading, inform every aspect of this highly intelligent and persuasive book. I take it to be a timely plea for engagement with the manifold ways in which art and everyday life can act in a dynamic conversation that informs the ‘gentle politics’ of each present moment within the larger field of our social and cultural concerns.'
Journal of Visual Art Practice
'With Flirting with Space: Journeys and Creativity, David Crouch lets us see space for what it is: fluid, negotiated, and prompting experiments with the possible amid the changing identities of its actors. These creative possibilities are not merely the attribution of academics and artists but community gardeners, caravanners, and people going about their everyday lives. The tensions at work in life practices, of ‘going further and holding on’ give impetus to flirting and discovering possibilities. Crouch’s work is a refreshing, novel, and a needed addition to the discussion on practice and place in cultural geography.'
Journal of Cultural Geography
'The text is a breath of fresh-air in an academy intent on churning out turgid prose and the vapid studies that keep up with research assessment models and other metrics but contribute to the ‘forgetting of being’ in geography. The garden of Crouch's book is well cultivated and will stand the test of time; as in art, a reflective reader will be able to glean new meanings and perspectives from each consecutive read.'
Social and Cultural Geography
'… this is an interesting and valuable book. It could also be read as a retrospective on an important career in geography and art… fun to read and essentially thought-provoking.'
Progress in Human Geography