Sunday, April 27, 2008
By placing police composite sketches in public spaces I attempted to impose a human presence through the use of printed imagery. The idea of human presence is inherently linked to the idea of public. My experiment was fueled by a curiosity to see if these images would alter the spaces which they occupied. The subway lent itself to this use of imagery well, perhaps due to the expectations of said human presence. In such a setting people readily accepted the images as real people, not just representatives thereof. The sketches transcended their role as images and functioned much like real people. As people on the train interacted with the sketches, they did so based upon the rules and norms which govern interactions between people in such a setting. Simply stated, in the setting of the subway the images acted as passengers.
I began placing images on an empty subway hoping to fill an entire Manhattan-bound train car with composite sketches before people began to enter. People started to get on the train when I had filled only half of the car. Initially people sat in the half of the car where there were no composite sketches, as though the sketches were people occupying the seats. At a certain point, half of the car was filled with people, while the other half of the car was occupied only by composite sketches. As the train filed up, people sat in the free seats between the police composites but were careful not to disturb the spaces that the images occupied. People would stare at the images but would do so discretely, much like one would hesitantly stare at a person on a subway car. In this way, the mages were on par with the real people which inhabited the space.
When confronted with these images peoples' initial reaction was to stare. Generally this reaction was brief as they would become aware of their own behavior, and look around to realize that they too were objects of interest to other voyeurs, watching them watch the images.
Just as the composite sketches functioned as people in the context of the subway, the same images took on other meanings dictated by the different contexts in which they were placed. Though these images were original created as police composite sketches, they only functioned as such when they were viewed in a particular context.
After observing the sketches in public spaces, I became curious of how they would relate to private spaces. It had seemed that public spaces were accepting of the images, allowing them to function as they did. What would happen if I were to introduce a human presence into a private space?
In the context of a private place (like a bathroom) the image evoked an invasive human presence. This act contradicted the idea of the private space, thereby altering the meaning of the space and simultaneously altering the meaning of the image within the space.
In public spaces the images became integrated with the space, while in the private places they stood in opposition of the very idea of that which is private. Ultimately in every instance (public or private) the spaces in which the police composites were placed were directly responsible for the meaning of the images. Similarly the images served to redefine the spaces which they occupied.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
For as long as anyone can remember the topic of place vs. space has dominated the endless and seemingly inconclusive discussions of intellectual and artistic communities. Countless works, essays and lectures have approached this subject; ultimately they reveal the illusive nature of these two inseparable and therefore indefinable terms.
I have little interest in engaging in this circular train of thought. I find the indecisive nature of this discussion to be empowering, only as much as I find it to be an overwhelming frustration. On one hand, the nature of this conversation assures me that there is no right or wrong.... Still on the other hand, I can’t help but feel that my time would be better spent on my back contemplating the intricacies of Silly Putty.
That being said, I will join the great artists and intellectuals of the past by boldly defining the intangible. Though my credentials are questionable and my enthusiasm is admittedly forced, the fact that I have a blog should be seen as a testimony of my expertise in said subject matter. Therefore the definitions of space and place are as follow.
Space: the unlimited or incalculably great three-dimensional realm or expanse in which all material objects are located and all events occur.
Place: a particular portion of space whether of definite or indefinite extent.