September 23, 2010 § 1 Comment
They’ve recently electrified the gates around the ‘compound’ where I live, and as mere renters my partner and I have of course been denied any say in the matter. This move couldn’t really be more at odds with my politics and attitude towards others, but my banking, Porsche-driving neighbours feel that it’s the only way to keep out the riff-raff. By riff-raff they mean ‘Asian youths’.
Yes, I’ll stick my neck out and assert that there is a subtle/unacknowledged racism at work here. The people my neighbours get worked up about are never middle-aged, white-skinned, or Porsche-driving. But I rant. My response has been, among other things, to try to make a series of images about this experience of ‘fortressification’, and what it does to my concept of ‘home’.
This gate development has coincided with the redecoration of the interior hallways, again not something I had any say in and which is proving a real irritation – doors requiring painting three times by the inept decorators which necessitates the dropping off of keys and leaving open of doors. I don’t mention this to moan, but rather because it’s been prompting me to think about control over surroundings and whether that’s something that comes into my ideas about ‘home’.
Also ever-present is the silent class war between the ‘compound’ and the surrounding working class / benefits class community, as I think there’s a ‘corporatising’ aesthetic being enacted here with is unconsciously about establishing a more definitive, visual demarcation between ‘us’ and ‘them’. My obsession with maps (how could I leave out maps?!) has got me trying to think about how encoded representations (maps being a good example) structure our ideas about environments or surroundings.