Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shopping and Floating Commodities

Shopping centres or malls are much the same, but Lingotto is hardly the worst. The new Turin Metro goes there now so it's busier than it used to be. Built inside the old Fiat factory in Turin, it is quite airy and light - as is this photograph. Because of the shiny floor and the shadows, people look as if they have levitated slightly. I particularly like the youngsters chatting in the background. Shopping centres rapidly became a place where young people could "hang out" although not necessarily buying anything. Therein lies a conflict. Consumption of commodities has taken over space. In fact, it more or less governs it. Even television space is all about shopping, buying things, selling things and so on. Henri Lefebvre says that this "sacrifices the future and destroys the present." I feel that past societies would look unfavourably on a world so dominated by commodification. Its a present where even we ourselves become commodities. We have sold our own future and destroyed our personal present. That is what leads many into psychotherapy. They feel and know they are more than commodities but they are uncertain regarding what they may in fact be. For me, the young people in the photograph represent hope, because they are in conflict with the space. their agenda is different. In due course, they may even be moved on. But they will have served their purpose by confronting the adult world. That is their job.