‘Space and place’, notes Yi-fu Tuan, the Chinese-US geographer and philosopher, ‘are basic components of the lived world. What begins as an undifferentiated space becomes place as we get to know it better and endow it with value’ (Tuan 1977: 6). Uluru represents such a place, its placeness constructed by the living and knowledge practices of Anangu people and their ancestors, displaced and erased by European colonisers and settlers who imposed their ways of living and knowledge practices on the land. As a geologist I have been trained to look at Uluru from within European post-seventeenth century paradigm of modern science. However, in this essay I challenge what I have learnt as a geologist about Uluru by introducing Tjukurpa of Anangu into the story of my learning and un-learning. I tell the story with the help of four real and metaphoric maps: a geological map of the Rock; Rockholes near the Olgas by Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjari; Untitled (Uluru with shadows) by Long Tom Tjapanangka; and the installation Unfolding Memories by Rosario Lopez.
Keywords: Art, science, knowledge, map, tjukurpa