Right, need to get brain in gear. I think I had too much sleep last night and I am now feeling extremely weary and watery eyed this morning.
Today’s mission is to attempt writing my first 500 words on my research paper for discussion at our next critical practice meeting. Also I aim to finish writing a review on the Damien Roach exhibition I visited last week and oh yeah, must write this blog post too. Too much writing…
I’m reading some really interesting books at the moment ‘The Production of Space’ by Henri Lefebvre and ‘Non-Places’ by Marc Auge. The Lefebvre book is taking me ages to read though, with only a weeks loan from the library I’m renewing constantly, fearing the day that someone else requests it and I’ll have to reluctantly hand it back. It is such an interesting book. These French philosophers don’t seem to hold back on confronting the powers that be, with theories and words at least. I feel like I’m just scratching at the surface of these ideas, trying to get my head around the concepts but there have been some sentences that stop me in my tracks and make me just sit and think about this situation we find ourselves in and try to make some sense of it.
‘What we seem to have is an apparent subject, and impersonal pseudo-subject, the abstract ‘one’ of modern social space and concealed by its illusionary transparency, the real ‘subject’ namely state (political) power. Lived experience is crushed, vanquished by what is ‘conceived of.’
‘Invisible fullness of political space sets up its rule in the emptiness of a natural space confiscated from nature. Forces of history smashed naturalness forever and upon its ruins established the space of accumulation; wealth and resources; knowledge and technology; money and precious objects, works of art and symbols’
‘History is experienced as nostalgia and nature as regret.’
There are many of these high impact statements throughout this book that make me want to sit and stare into space, through an overwhelming sense of dread and at my/our general pathetic blind passivity to our state of being. It is hard to read this stuff and know how to react to it. In our latest lecture given by John Cussans, he talked about our passivity and how there tends to be a sustained neutral, silent position held when it comes to the political, a strange general apathy towards major issues. Lefebvre is constantly talking about the organisation of space and knowledge as a means of manipulation, he also talks about the issue of the ‘users’ silence. He asks the question; Why there is this worldwide passive response from the ‘users’ of a space that is manipulating and damaging them? He attempts to explain it by the idea of diversion. Considering that our attention is diverted by a part of space ‘endowed with illusionary status, namely that concerned with writing and imagery, underpinned by the written text (journalism, literature) and broadcast by the media.’ Believing that this amounts to an abstraction creating ‘reductionistic force on ‘lived’ experience.’
It is understanding it in some ‘real’ terms, identifying how it is part of everything that we do. How can we experience our everyday in any other way than through the systems that create it? Lefebrvre explains that this abstract space is ‘a highly complex one’. Yes, I must say I am finding that. I’ll keep reading on…