Monday, 22 February 2010

Footloose in the Footnotes

If the city can be considered as a text to be read, just think how far off the beaten track the footnotes to that text may lead us.  In her blog writer Emma Cocker compares the footnotes to our wandering footsteps which bear witness to a series of chance encounters and unexpected discoveries.

"Pay attention to the footnotes - those inconspicuous markers that linger at the edges of the text and in the crevices between words - for they are the unstoppable protagonists of meandering digression and of drifting thought...Footnotes signal dead-ends and dark alleys in a text's construction; the well-trodden districts and more marginal paths..." 

Another analogy might be to compare footnotes to the network of hyperlinks on the world wide web, taking us further and further away from our starting point, offering tantalising digressions and deviations on the way, and then sometimes leading us back to our original position.  When surfing the net, we use an associative rather than a linear kind of thinking which leads us to make connections between seemingly random elements.

In a similar way, my aim has been to make a series of associations between the various images produced on my journeys.  By taking it a step further, these connections can lead to links with other photographs, both my own and other people's, potential narratives or just musings on the vagaries and fluctuations that life throws at us.

Brick Art

The above two photographs, taken on the same day but in different parts of London on my last journey, have obvious connections - the mystery of the letterbox and the glaring insertion of the pristine new brick both break the symmetry of the facade. The jagged crack in the example below has a similar effect - this one taken over a year ago in another, distant part of London.


Below is another example of brick art, this time in a gallery situation - Carl Andre's much misunderstood 'pile of bricks', known as Equivalent VIII.  This work which exists in a number of different variations, is always composed of an arrangement of 120 bricks.   Although the shape of each arrangement is different, they all have the same height, mass and volume, and are therefore 'equivalent' to each other.  The bricks became a subject of national discussion in 1976 following an article in The Sunday Times 'The Tate drops a costly Brick'.  And yes, there are 120 bricks (or portions thereof) in my two examples directly above!

Here is a Lego version.....

And finally, another Lego masterpiece, by Italian Marco Pece, of an Old Master work of art, Leonardo's Last Supper....

Oh dear, we seem to have come back to religion again - there's absolutely no getting away from it !


  1. Interesting thoughts again- about 'footnotes', 'associations', 'connections'...- sometimes the footnotes in a text are more informative and revealing than the main-text itself! A city "considered as a text to be read" may be like a PALIMPSEST, and I' m convinced you have to know very much in order to de-tect and to re-veal the different layers of it and to 'restore' a deeper experience of it. Footnotes may be the guideposts/signposts to those discoveries!
    I very like your subject 'brickstones'- this series could be completed with/by graffiti or a memory board hinting to history or... -The Lego of Leonardo's Last Supper may be an offence for some eyes and feelings? Picture nr. 3 is my favourite on- maybe, in an aesthetical and symbolic sense!

  2. PS: I'm a little 'confused' about the wheelchair-sign when I have add the 'word verification'!

  3. Yes, the footnotes can be fascinating, though sometimes interrupting the flow of your reading. Thank you for your brick pictures - just shows you that art can be all around - you just have to spot it! I'm not sure I understand what you mean about the wheelchair sign and word verification though.