Places are experienced in states of distraction. We read them and act within

them while pursuing the agendas of everyday life. To ‘understand’ places one

must ‘stand under’ them. This requires an attention to how we each construct

places through action and in memory. This chapter, then, is a turn from theory

towards the personal – how might theories of power and built form change the

ways we understand and ‘excavate’ places in our own lives? It is a rather per-

sonal account of Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth, Western Australia. And it

is a turn towards questions of liberation, exploring the ironies of a place of incar-

ceration becoming a place of emancipation and then exclusion. Rottnest is a

place of semantic inversions, haunted by intangible and buried meanings. The

tactics for excavating and articulating them are necessarily oblique.