Thursday, June 3, 2010

Woman in Red

Sometimes its hard to get across the road and pedestrians draw the short straw at the traffic lights. Like me, my subject was perhaps impatient at the lack of consideration we get in comparison to wheeled vehicles! Yet we are making our way legitimately through the city. Is the city ours or not? Geographers like David Harvey and my all-time favourite, Lefebvre, talk of claiming the city. I think that's correct.We cant reclaim something that was never our own. We are walking in a sign-ridden, fractured space carrying so much "stuff" that we are reduced to the bearer of signs. How does the ego, the ""I" relate to the system of signs that is the city? Who's signs are they? But to relate organically to the city is to provide a counter-space to all that and whilst this seems hopelessly utopian, it is possible to begin that process "in the head". A starting point is to visualise the project - our city -as complete. Brazilian playwright, Augusto Boal, talked of "the policeman in the head". He said it was hard to visualise anything different because of self-censorship. Psychoanalytically, that would be the punitive father within us all - who says what can(not) be done. That's why its easier to envisage the end of the world than an end to way things work in the current system. But just as changing ourselves is possible, so is changing the use of our own space.