Aleks Byrd Designs


Cultural Landscape & Hybridity

The sense of belonging and having a connection to a cultural place or landscape, that place you call home or belong to, is vital and transient. I have felt it particularly in a very fluid and transient way. The fluidity, transient and hybridity of belonging to a place/ cultural identity fascinates me. My cultural identity is very much centered around fluidity and hybridity which is why the concept fascinates me as I don't have one specific place that belong to or am connected to, but rather three places. I have encountered that my multi-place connectedness is not universally understood or accepted as many approach with the question- "Well do you feel more Estonian, or more Canadian, or more American?". Having been asked this question thousands of times I am confident in my answer that I am not more of one than the other but all- an absolute embodiment of hybridity!  This fascination with cultural identity and connection to a "cultural landscape" or place derives from the fact that I am a hybrid and not have a first hand understanding of that sentiment. In many nordic countries such as Estonia, textiles play a role as visual identification of where a person is from or belongs to what "local" community/parish. In my research I am curious how visual manifestations of the "cultural landscape" in which  elements so entwined with a place create visual markings of cultural identity in clothing like knitwear and how these visual motif identifying markers  can actually be a hybrid of another "cultural landscape's" similar motif identifier. It circles continually around the question where does that identifier/ motif come from? What cultural landscape/ place is the place of its origins? Becomes there are so many similar iterations of a motif/ identifier does that diminish it's value and unique identification to a specific place? Can it be that a region can be described as a large cultural landscape made up of individual hybrid "local places"?

Lucy R. Lippard starts to unpack answers to my questions.

“Each time we enter a new place, we become one of the ingredients of an existing hybridity, which is really what all “local places” consist of. By entering that hybrid, we change it; and in each situation we may play a different role.” (pp. 6)

It is unimaginable that the places with in my field of research would be isolated from one another, as proven by evidence of trade routes shown in maps as well as noted in academic findings. With this contact there is the exchange and clash of ideas and culture that changes the cultural landscapes and adds to the the evolving nature of a local culture (it's evolution into a new hybrid of itself). It is possible that the changes in the motifs like the eight point star occurred because of these hybridity interactions that challenged what is unique to the local cultural landscape and there for incentivize being creative in making a similar motif that is different enough to be a unique cultural identifier for a specific place. The "ingredient" of the eight-point star has under gone changes by being translated to the needs and effects of the landscape it is being placed in; marking the place or landscape it now belongs to in an effortless manner that it is hard to distinguish a time before it existed.


Lippard, L.R., (1997). The lure of the local : senses of place in a multicentered society. New York : New Press, c1997.