Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Passive Boundaries

These railings have been sitting on the corner for some time. This area hosts many embassies and embassies are one of the prime sites for public democratic expression. So the railings take up a permanent residence, ready to be moved out to one or another demonstration. Railings are really movable walls - that is, they are for the enforcement of boundaries. They are not very high and wouldn't stop a determined person from mounting them, so their presence is symbolic. We may not pass the points demarcated by the railings and they help to defend buildings. In turn, they restrict the area that they enclose. In other words, they can both protect and stifle. We just need to look at the boundaries marked out between peoples and tribes, or between governments and those that they represent. So symbolically fences are related to the womb, the ultimate protection that we have all experienced. They do not denote an active principle - rather the opposite. Fences defend, not attack.