My research into spaces and how we interact with them has taken a very different turn, I have only just In the last few day of this Module discovered the Book The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre. My initial dips into the text have been very illuminating In several different ways.
To read a book which deals with the themes I am exploring in my work particularly the idea of social and created space but that really uses this as a means to unpack and critique the tools of control within modern capitalism and consumerism is really exciting, The timing however is possibly not!
It was 3am the night before our last lecture not able to sleep that I began to read the book and make annotations but What started to coalesce in my mind was of far greater importance. I am aware that a lot of my film and research have been concerned with the effects of modernity and capitalism both on the individual and in a wider social context, however It was at three in the morning that I was for the first time able to properly chart my own practice and how deeply it is affected by the ideas of space.
I have always believed perhaps naively that the main area that my work investigates is that of the internal, the mind, this always comes first if I try to describe my particular interests in practice. So too sort of wake up to the fact that Actually all of this time my work is looking at the manifestation of memory identity community and mind through into and of physical space, that this meditation and constant referance back to the interchange of space is my methodology as such, was a big discovery for me.
It is like finding the kernel at the heart of something, a something that you thought you knew so well. This is where my practice based research has ultimately lead me, right into the heart of my practice to see something that has been in plain sight all along.
Back to Henri Lefebvre, it is in this interrogation of what separates and defines the different concepts of space that I find the beginning of my interest and a good starting point for reflection on my own practice. How we formulate our differing views of the world.
It is of course no less than the consideration of objectivity versus subjectivity, how we consider the gaining of and application of knowledge itself. In his investigation of space Lefebvre, returns the idea of space into a collective subjectivity, away from the grip of singular, the unknowable objectivity.
What I took from this early attack on the pillars of knowledge was a need to look at how it is possible, by using language and social structure, to create ways of thinking, that whilst being indicators of, and signifiers of, actual things, have an underlying apparatus that, by linking them only to the spatial and temporal spheres of science takes away their true value and meaning. (Lefebvre, 2016)
And in this void is something else has room to move in….
Of course this is my reading and this text really is quite dense to coin a term used earlier in the year. But perhaps some of these synaptic pathway flashes in my poor tired brain are leading precisely where I need them to, and Old Henri would scoff at my lack of genuine insight…
No matter for now Because the enquiry itself is worth the headache, If I am indeed putting words into his mouth I am finding my way creatively from my own morass of thinking in the process.
It is when Lefebvre gets on to the attachment of ideology to Knowledge that my interest and the connections with my existing research begin to fire! He begins to look at how class produces ‘mental space’ and how this in turns into a ‘theoretical practice’ and how this sets up an axis of control through its acceptance as knowledge, I think he is essentially saying reenforced ideologies with class led society become treated as established social norms or accepted facts of life, and this is how power is maintained by a ruling elite. (Lefebvre, 2016)
He is quick to differentiate this from social practice In that this is something he seems to be saying grows without these powerful ideologies steering them. If I am right in my stumbling through this it is a very interesting investigation into how societies are governed and controlled.
I essentially want to read more and link this research up with my previous reading on super modernity spaces and non place, descibed by Marc Auge in his book Non Places: Introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity (Auge,1995)
I also re read and compare and cross referance ideas of these with Walking in the city by Michel De Certeua,
‘Places are fragmentary and inward-turning histories, pasts that others are not allowed to read, accumulated times that that can be unfolded but like stories held in reserve, remaining in an enigmatic state, symbolisations encysted in the pain or pleasure of the body. “I feel good here” the well-being under expressed in the language it appears in like a fleeting glimmer in a spatial practice’ (De Certeu, 1980)
For now with this being my parting shot of the module I must try at least to finish off the evaluation. much reading and research remains un cited and not recorded but that is just the way of it.