I suppose photography can be political. Today’s post is an act of rebellion and a riposte against a dear friend who declared that cyclists should be banned from all public highways. This statement was of course accompanied by a suitable range of curses. So, I suddenly feel moved to make my protest against this private conversation public by uploading a few cycle shots from my hard drive to champion that great unsung hero of the metropolis: the bicycle. Long may it live and prosper and long may it occupy public space!
This next, rather wild, one might be a bad omen for my attempts to blog regularly. The last time I tried to start photo-blogging it was the first picture I uploaded (and possibly the last). Nothing looks like film (sigh):
Architecture induces certain kinds of effects (and affects) on and in bodies so that we experience space temporally and through certain kinds of affective and cognitive responses. The layout of a gallery or a museum, for example, creates possible sequences for us to follow, so that bodies can be organised in particular ways as they pass through it. Spirals are a good example of this, designed to facilitate flows and circulation, as Le Corbusier quickly recognised. It’s always quite nice, then, when these artifical ways of organising space and managing bodies within space are undone; when the spiral staircase ceases to be concerned with a rational ordering that privileges movement, but instead becomes a meeting point as subjects occupying that space parody its layout and undo it, pausing the flow, halting the circulation to simply stand, smile, and talk, enjoying a moment of human time that disrupts rational organisation and induced effects on bodies by instead privileging human experience. Sudden moments of life that disrupt the patterns: a smile, words thrown and caught and then tossed back with a grin, all showing the limits of formal attempts to order not only space, but our responses to it. A triumph of the real, and a triumph of life itself, and if there’s any place you’d want that then it’s in the Louvre, a space devoted to aesthetic concerns, which is to say, a space devoted to how sensations are experienced, understood, and represented. I wonder what art they had seen that had so caught their imagination?
Bibliothèque nationale de France, rez de jardin escalators.