Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Representation in the Lived Space of the City

There are so many things happening in this shot, but I hardly recall I took it. Maybe I composed it, but I don't think so. Street poles arranged themselves and no less than three arrows aligned. Some objects seem to echo each other. And of course we shouldn't neglect the football boy in the mural. What's he pointing at? I know this was before midday, but what is that crowd outside the church? It may have been a funeral, despite the informal dress. I am critical and I'm not content to see a space without looking for a representation of space. This is more than a collection of angles and buildings and street furniture and it's so much more than things in a frame. On one level it's a lived space, but it's more than one single space. We need to recognise the political space of the city otherwise we live an illusion. I mentioned time but is there time in this photograph? We can stare and stare but we won't see time. We see movement, we see shape and we even recognise change but we can never see time. Henri Lefebvre notes that the tree leaves rings as a mark of time and this time is physically inscribed in natural space. If we look we can easily see the time of the tree, but the city hides time. Moreover, time is concealed within the frame of the photograph, which is a fragment of space. I do know the actual time of day of the photo of course - it's 10:16 am. The shutter speed - the fragment of time - is 1/250th of  a second. That occupies a technological space completely hidden from the people within this photograph.