Space, Non-Space and the Blurring of Fact and Fiction

I’m beginning to see a spatial connection in some of my recent photographs.

Marc Augé points out that we have an uneasy relationship with the space we occupy. Our steps into outer space ‘reduce our own space to an infinitesimal point’ made obvious in satellite photographs. (1) ‘But at the same time the world is becoming open to us’ through improving transport and via communication systems that beam pictures into our homes of events happening on the other side of the world. (2)

When I survey the train journey from Marden to London, from Augé’s perspective any representational images that result establish a false familiarity for the viewer, who feels as if they know the scene / events depicted personally although they weren’t actually there when the footage was shot. Such an effect translates equally into other situations establishing a false recognition between viewer and on-screen actors / characters, landscapes, places and historical or contemporary events. (3)

Train; Marden to London 29-01-15 n.06
Claire Manning, work in progress

The worlds created in this way are largely symbolic and offer recognition rather than knowledge. They are ‘closed universes where everything is a sign; collections of codes to which only some hold the key but whose existence everyone accepts’. (4)

I suspect the impact on the viewer varies. So, for example, my survey of the train journey probably results in a higher balance of knowledge / ‘truth’ than recognition / sign for the one viewing the results. However, a TV series would likely switch these proportions around. This is interesting as it offers a point of manipulation I could choose to exploit in the work.

1 Marc Augé, Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity, trans. John Howe, (London: Verso. 2008 [Non-Lieux, Introduction a une anthropologie de la surmodernite, 1992]), pp25:26
2 IBID p.26
3 IBID p.26
4 IBID p.27

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