ArcadesPromenades

Archive for the ‘Promenades’ Category

Hello! from Hunstanton

In Film, photography, Promenades on June 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm

The above film was shot in June 2011 in Hunstanton, Norfolk. A Microsoft Sensecam was used to shoot the film and it was edited in Windows Live Movie Maker . The camera on view in the film is a Lomo Diana F+

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Packaging liminality: the management and commodification of liminal landscapes in tourism

In Arcades, Conferences, Promenades, Publications on April 18, 2011 at 10:40 am

We’ve just had the abstract below accepted for the ATLAS 2011 conference in Valmeira, Latvia.  The theme of the conference is ‘Landscape and Tourism: a dualistic relationship”.  Our plan for this paper is to take the methodology that we’ve been developing on this blog over the last two years and apply it to other tourist spaces, in order to test its value as a new approach.

Documentary photography

In Arcades, photography, Promenades on April 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I have been alerted to these two photographers by the sound artist, Reid Dudley-Peirson, who, coincidentally is performing in a new piece called ‘Songs of the sublime’ at the Turner Contemporary gallery in the seaside town of Margate this weekend.

Reid informed me, after reading an early draft of some of our work, that we should supplement our analysis of seaside photography and the Arcades Project with considerations of the work of Eugene Atget and Martin Parr. This may take some time for us to process, but we offer up a couple of images here.

Atget was a contemporary of Walter Benjamin, taking photographs of Paris streets that influenced the surrealists and Dada at the time that Benjamin was working on his study of the Parisian Arcades. Martin Parr is a British documentary photographer, whose study of the seaside ‘The Last Resort’, clearly sheds light on our work on the links between tourism and the everyday within the capitalist constraints of the promenades.

Eugene Atget: avenue des gobelins (1927)

In his ‘little history of photography’, Benjamin makes the case for photography, still in the early stages of its development, to be “moving out of the realm of aesthetic distinctions to social function”. Leslie [2000] locates this movement in the dialectic, claiming that there is always an excess in photography, a residue of the social. In this sense, photography can provide research material, historical evidence that goes far beyond merely that which is represented on the surface of a photographic image.

Leslie goes on to identify three ways in which Benjamin conceptualised photography:

Firstly, as analogical representations of an external reality. Photographs provide a way of capturing natural perception and thus, of making the subjective objective.

Secondly, “the photograph fixes on celluloid a view of reality, held in the consciousness of a class when it imagines itself and the cosmos. Technological art is capable of tendering in ocular form the ideology of the self-representing class” [Leslie 2000: 49]. Benjamin refers to this as ‘optical-unconscious’, a relationship between the unconsciousness of the subject and the a-conscious machine perception of the lens

Finally, photography disrupts the ‘natural’ flow of images and perception and allows for reconfigurations of space and time, new constellations of knowledge.

“Photography…was first adopted within the dominant social class…:manufacturers, factory owners and bankers, statesmen, men of letters and scientists” Gisela Freund, “La Photographie au point de vue sociologique” (manuscript, p.32). Is this accurate? Shouldn’t the sequence be reversed? (Benjamin, AP, Y3, 1)

Images of the liminal

In Arcades, Promenades on July 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm

This is a slideshare version of our paper from the Liminal Landscapes conference, given today in Liverpool.

Found images of Brighton promenade

In Promenades on June 9, 2010 at 9:13 am

A short snippet from our paper for the Liminal Landscapes symposium next month.  This shows how we are using web technology to collect material for a ‘working convolute’ on Brighton.  We are gathering images taken by other people that have been uploaded to the web, as a way of accessing representations and uses of the promenade, in an attempt to develop a methodological approach that builds on Benjamin’s methods in the Arcades Project.

“Becker (1974) provides a methodological way of thinking about this potential social research resource.  This relates to the second conception of photography held by Benjamin. The possibilities for producing new constellations of knowledge by using photography suggests possibilities for the collection and reconfiguration of images of the promenade as a way to access its history. Becker imagines the ‘sociologist photographer’ as collecting a plethora of images of a social situation, almost at random, taking care not to pre-judge what is of value in the resultant images.  A consideration of the photographs then guides a further concentration in the research as the sociologist photographer spends time with “his [sic] contact sheets and work prints” and developing questions about the practices and situations that he observes.  This process of collection and interpretation then opens up further avenues of enquiry and begins to produce social knowledge.  In Benjamin’s terms it constructs new configurations of the past, of a kind only accessible through these technological means.  In this study we update Becker’s work, and by seeking to reduce the impacts of sociological bias in our approach to the collection of images we aim to prevent any imposition of the very false coherences that Benjamin had tried to prevent through his parataxic method.

In practical terms, we have utilised web-technology to trawl through the online photo-hosting site flickr in an automated process.  We have set up a yahoo pipe, a relatively new piece of web 2.0 software which aggregates data from the web in the form of RSS feeds, images, blog posts and visual media.  Crucially, a pipe then provides a visual interface through which you can access the aggregated data.  A pipe can be user-customised to a great extent.  Although, following Becker and Benjamin, we aim to collect data without prejudicing it in advance, we are also conscious of sociological / historical practices and the way in which fields of inquiry are constructed to guide even the most inductive studies.  In this respect we have delimited the ‘feeds’ to the pipe to include only the most popular photo-hosting site and also set up keywords to structure these feeds.  Images uploaded to flickr are ‘tagged’ by users to aid retrieval and to publicise the images to a wider audience.  The processes by which images arrive in the virtual public/private spaces of the internet and are distributed throughout them via social networks, direct our attention to ‘sociogram’ quality of all photography.”

*we’re working out how to reference these images accurately.  All of these pictures have been uploaded on a creative commons license and we’ve given links to each of their sources in our bibliography.

Managed liminality

In Promenades on May 26, 2010 at 11:34 am

A collection of photos from Brighton’s promenade that have been brought together to illustrate the concept of ‘managed liminality’, which is a term we are developing in our work to describe how the carnivalesque freedoms offered by the concept of the liminal can come to serve dominant power relations.  These images show how the liminality of the shore is limited and exploited through the regulation of the promenade itself.

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the physical presence of the liminal

In Arcades, Promenades on May 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm

At St Pancras Station there is an instance of the liminal made physical because the there is a division within the station between the internal (sub-urban & national) rail system and the international (eurostar) rail system.  The international is made present at the station and there is a clear sense in which to be in one space is to be in one status (stand in Weber’s sense) and to be in the other space is to be in another status.  As these to status-spaces share the same volume and because the status transformation involved is problematic and socially difficult (the national/international is always a significant division) there is a strict regulation, strict enforcement, of the distinction between the two (principally  marked by ‘passport control’).

One of the means of policing this division is found in what is now the upper level of the station; a glass wall.

the physical presence of the liminal

This wall seems to be the very epitome of transparency and openness but this is merely the appearance as it is of course a fortification.  Moreover, it is a governmentally regulated fortification whose restrictions extend beyond the merely physical.

the sign of the discreet functioning of governmentality

This is all indicative of the need to treat such actually transformative and problematic spaces as hazards requiring tight control and classification.  What is at stake here is the Purity and Danger (Douglas 2002) of liminal spaces.  Liminality involves transformation and socio-cultural movement and all societies seem to require the tightest regulation of such movement; preferring the classificatory status quo to any instability of categories.

the orientation of the boundary marks the play of power

the reflective surface of this boundary is more connotationally significant than we at first assume

the purpose of this division and distinction becomes clear when we consider its fucntion

This manifestation of the limit is atypical in its urgent efforts to disappear from plain sight and give the appearance of not being there but the network of power relations this is the expression of are utterly typical.  The liminal is always policed because the system of power in a society cannot bear to much status (stand) disruption.

here the shared light in the volume masks the divisions and distinctions of the space

the volume masks the division and distinction between the two spaces

here the 'international' space can be seen to be 'overwriting' the 'national' space

In the case of St Pancras liminality is managed and policed by allowing one space (the international) to ‘overwrite’ the other (the national) so that the purity of the two is aggressively maintained.

Memorialising the Piers and Beaches: The Post Card Past

In Promenades on April 2, 2010 at 8:09 am

This website details the post-card history of several Sussex piers and some of the post cards contain telling social details that illuminate how the ‘tourist shore’ was used.  It is not alone in utilising post cards as a source of information – or rather of nostalgia as this site and the ‘nostalgia industry’ makes clear – and there is in it use of images something close to that we which are attempting.  It was, after all, a photographic exploration of the seaside that helped inspire this project.

Liminal Landscapes Symposium 1-2 July 2010

In Arcades, Promenades on March 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm

We will be presenting a paper based on our research at this conference.   Once the paper is finished we’ll post more details up on here, along with a programme for the event, once it is available.

You can read the abstract for our paper by clicking here.  The final paper is quite a development from this point and incorporates some of the material that we have been posting on here over the last year.

Worthing Promenade: Cycles by Cyriak

In Promenades on March 11, 2010 at 1:08 pm

This remarkable video uses Worthing promenade as the site of some ludic recursiveness.

This shows us another range of uses of the promenade; in the taking up of its representations and its being made the subject of bricolage.