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Andrea Creutz / Lise Skou (Danmark)

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Andrea Creutz / Lise Skou  (Danmark)

Location: Finsensvej 100, Frederiksberg

Jeg forlader min lejlighed og går ned på gaden. Jeg passerer igennem et parkeringshus og går derfra dirkete ind i indkøbscentret. Jeg passerer forbi en række store billboards, som er pænt monteret bag glas i montre.

Billboardsťne er fyldt med smukke kroppe - de fleste af dem kvinder. Det får mig til at tænke på, hvad kvinden repræsenterer i disse reklamer? Er hun symbol på en kommerciel verden; kapitalismens ideologiske figur? Er kvindens underordning en konsekvens af kapitalismen? Skaber repræsentationen en ensartet levemåde; et uniformt kulturelt og socialt mønster?

Kvinden i disse billboards er et objekt for blikket i en proces, der konstant konstituerer billede og beskuer. Det voyeristiske blik indrammer objektet som billede og placerer beskueren i en kontrolposition. Den ikonografiske kvindefigur i fremstillingen af kvinder er mindre en reproduktion af 'virkelige' kvinder end et kulturelt tegn, der producerer feminitet som objekt for, hvad Laura Mulvey kalder 'to-be-looked-at-ness' ('Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema')

Jeg forlader centret via en lang smal gang. Krydser den vej, der fører bilisterne ind i parkeringshuset. Jeg krydser togsporene til lightrail, som skærer tværs gennem området så folk kan transporteres fra nord til syd.
Jeg går ind gennem en viadukt, forbi en række større kontorbyggerier, hvis glasfacader genspejler mit eget billede. Jeg passerer en plads, der egentlig ikke kan kaldes en plads da den ikke har nogen social funktion. Foran mig ser jeg endnu et 7 etagers parkeringshus. Undergrundsbanen er placeret nedenunder. Jeg går ind i bygningen, ned af rulletrappen til toget.

Området er udgangspunktet for den billboard vi har lavet til denne udstilling. Det er downtown Jersey City i New Jersey. Området ligger ud til Hudson River og lige på den anden side af floden ligger Manhattan, New York City.

Området er blevet opført på blot 10 år. Det er et såkaldt 'Business Improvement District' der er opført i et forsøg på at få kapital stærke mennesker til at flytte fra Manhattan til området og dermed overføre deres høje 'Manhattan-indkomst' til New Jersey. Det første man byggede var indkøbscentret. Før i tiden var her boldbaner for kvarterets børn og unge.

På min daglige rute fra mit hjem til New York City bevæger jeg mig gennem lukkede prædefinerede rum, som jeg på ingen måde kan indtage. Bestemte adfærdsmønstre i det offentlige rum synes at være indoptaget af individet som færdes her. En bestemt brug af et rum anses for at være selvindlysende fordi de siges at være baseret på nogle absolutte værdier: evige menneskelige behov, udviklingen af byer, uundgåelig teknologisk fremgang, naturlige sociale arrangementer og et objektivt moralkodeks. Dette grundlag autoriserer statens magtudøvelse i det offentlige rum.

Det offentlige rum synes således approprieret. I følge Lefort ('The logic of Totalitarianism') er appropriation en strategi udfoldet af en magtinstitution, som legitimerer sig selv ved at give et socialt rum en bestemt og derfor ubestridelig betydning, der således afliver eksistensen af et offentligt rum.

Andrea Creutz og Lise Skou - New York - Februar 2003.

I leave my apartment and walk down the street. I pass through a multi-story car park and walk from there directly into the shopping mall. I pass through a number of big billboards nicely mounted behind glass in showcases.

The billboards are filled with beautiful bodies - most of them women. It makes me ask myself: what does the female body represent in these commercials? Is she symbol for a commercial world; the ideological figure of capitalism? Is the subordination of women a consequence of capitalism? To what extent does representation produce or reproduce norms and gender; a uniform cultural and social pattern? The women in these billboards become objects for the gaze; a process that mutually constitutes image and viewer. The voyeuristic look frames objects as images, sets them at a distance, encloses them in a separate space, and places the viewer in a position of control.

The iconographic figure of women in images of women is less a reproduction of real women than a cultural sign producing femininity in what Laura Mulvey famously calls 'to-be-looked-at-ness' ('Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema')

I leave the mall through a long narrow gallery; across the road that leads the cars into the multi-story car park. I cross the tracks that cuts across this area and transports people from north to south. I walk through a viaduct, pass by a number of larger office blocks. My own image is reflected in their glass facades. I cross a public plaza that has lost its social function. In front of me I see another multi-story car park with 7 floors. The subway is located underneath. I enter the building, and go down the escalator to the train.

This area is the starting point for the billboard we made for this project. It's downtown Jersey City in New Jersey. The area is situated along the Hudson River. Across the river is Manhattan, New York City.

The area has been built in 10 years as a so-called 'Business Improvement District' in an attempt to attract substantial capital from Manhattan. The shopping mall was built first. It used to be playing fields for the neighborhood youth.

On my daily route from my home to New York City I move through 'closed' pre-defined spaces that I can''t occupy. I order to gain access I have to perform a certain act. Certain behavior patterns seem to be taken in by the subject who moves around here. The subject has taken on identities as citizens and participants in commercial life.

Particular uses of space are deemed self-evident and uniformly beneficial because they are said to be based on some absolute foundation: eternal human needs, the configuration and evolution of cities, inevitable technological progress, natural social arrangements, or objective moral values. This foundation authorizes the exercise of state power in these spaces. As such the public space seems to be, to borrow a term from Lefort, 'appropriated'. For Lefort ('The Logic of Totalitarianism') 'appropriation' is a strategy deployed by a distinctly power structure that legitimates itself by giving social spaces a 'proper', hence incontestable, meaning, thereby closing down public space.

Billboard text:

In the lower right hand corner you see a woman‚s face. She has a light blue hat on. A big fur collar covers her cheek. She looks a little tanned, but the clothes she is wearing lead you to think that it is winter. She looks directly at you.

What is the ad trying to sell, or is it trying to sell anything? What is her relationship to the surroundings? What‚s yours? (What‚s your relationship to your surroundings?) What do the images that you see in the city contain? Who owns them? Who decides what images will be distributed and who are they for? Between the woman and the building you see a gray concrete arcade. Its hard to know what kind of building it is but it might be an office building. It looks new. On the ground level there might be a shopping plaza or is it a bank?

How does public space create public identities. What values are used to make decisions on public space? Who has the right to speak their mind in public? What is public space anyway? Is it a city, an exhibition, an institution, an art project, a political action? Where are you going? How will you be seen there?

http://www.ideologia.net

skoucreutz@yahoo.dk

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