Desire paths

A desire path is when a beaten track has been made, differing away from the pavement.  It is an example of people choosing to go against the grain, saving time and reveals how people are conceptually resisting social construction, breaking away from how we are supposed to behave. This idea refers back to last week’s reading, ‘The idea behind the Space Hijackers’ piece was to inhabit the retail outlets and create a promenade performance that considered how the retail chains attempt to construct the experience of shopping’1, it reveals how you are herded and manipulated in commercial space. ‘Situationalists’ reveal the politics of urban spaces by analysing the way we move through space, for example pedestrian crossings in Tokyo. It feels as though people are being organised and herded through the city like someone wants you to behave this way yet it gives you the option to resist. It is described as ‘the moving about that the city multiplies and concentrates makes the city itself an immense social experience of lacking a place’2. This statement clearly depicts how the idea of manipulation in such commercial spaces highlights the fact they are seen as ‘non-places’ that are ‘soulless, alienating spaces which are only of functional value’3. This develops the notion that we all know how to behave in such places as they are common conventions that we all follow.

When performing in studio space, the performance would need to be layered upon as there is a binary relationship between the context of the piece and the performance venue. In a theatre and studio space the audience know the rules and the conventions of theatre and all theatres are the same, conceptually. When site is triangulated the place becomes a space and with this space come your own rules. When using a specific site you have a relationship with the ‘there’ the site you are in. When a performance is specific to a site, it can only happen there as material, gesture and speaking is born out of the place.

What conventions should we break away from in the library?

Word count: 357

Works Cited

Ceteau, M. de (1988) The Practice of Everyday Life, University of California Press: Berkeley.

Govan, E et al (2007). Making a performance. Routledge: London.

  1. Govan, 2007 p128 []
  2. Certeau, 1988 p103 []
  3. Govan, 2007 p121 []
Posted: January 30th, 2013
Categories: Early Research, Library
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