Interventions Into Public Space

Locations that have historical or commercial significance are often designated as tourist attractions, one of the few public places left to attract large crowds that mix freely. These sightseers are there to pretend to be someone else, to absorb the surroundings, to relax or forget. My selection of bustling tourist sites targets both the resident and visiting populations, but my main goal is as a tourist sightseeing fellow visitors. I redirect a walkway by blocking it in some fashion with my body, forcing others to move around me. As they do, my camera takes their picture, but only if they decide to interact with me by looking directly at me. I am seeking intervention into their lives, as well as a form of intimacy. My position is close but not uncomfortably so; I want a mutual moment of existing in this emotionally charged location, sharing and creating an experience with another person. Their reactions range from curiosity, surprise, suspicion, pleasure, and fear. The action jostles them out of their complacency and recreation into a different mindset, one perhaps more like the one they left behind. They cease to be part of the group and become individuals again.

Intruding in this manner is a form of voyeurism on my part as I watch and snap before I can be stopped. Most voyeurs revel in the thrill of possibly being caught; I unashamedly yearn to be discovered. By being so blatantly positioned, there is a tacit understanding and give and take between the subject and myself. Finally, the audience is given a chance to role-play. Either they can inhabit the world before them, or they can envision what it is like to be the photographer, the voyeur.