The conditions of urban life are not (and never have been) able to create a communal space of the gazing eye, by means of which one would be able to recognise something along the lines of a communal, large-scale, picture of urban society. What is shared, what is public, isnÕt some general and abstract space, it is the reality of particular spaces and their boundaries, of their segmentation, their spacing, and the new margins that are constantly coming into being. Any politics that conceals this fact is either a politics of myth or a politics of emergent capitalism. Both require the unity of space and both generate the illusion of the shared space of urban life, but both are constantly engaged in annexing its margins for their own benefit: "walking on structure".
How can one help to establish a way of seeing the city that would be proof against the essentialist tendencies of those who read the city as »space« in order to provide themselves with a legitimate basis for dominating it, whether by controlling its physical construction or determining its territorial transformations? How can one circumvent the mantraps of functionalist or phenomenological or organistic or liberal-sociological models of urban description, each of which seeks to depict the conditions of urban existence in terms of this or that unique, transcendent standard? It is not by putting forward utopias and counter-utopias that one will expose the cultural mirage that is the basis for all these descriptive formulas and formalisms, but perhaps by confronting them to reality, by bringing the segment boundaries, the »spacings«, into contact with one another and at the same time destroying the lines of the boundaries. For »space« is not merely a descriptive model used in these formal systems: its acquisition is one of their purposes. "On conditions": an individual hung up like a poster, in a transparent medium, three sectional views and one view all the way through: that is what Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber used to make their point at their exhibition at the Clocktower in New York and also at the Forum Stadtpark in Graz.
Georg Schöllhammer, published in: Camera Austria #55