This project has been made possible by a grant from the Creative Arts Council of Brown University.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A lived place

On Monday I had some time to work just with Natasha at the Arcade. These are the thoughts that she shared with me after working down at the Arcade:

I really want to go back and photograph that one spot where the flat glass of the door on the second and third floors meets the curved glass of the window. 
my biggest observation was the solidity and height of the columns. and as I mentioned yesterday, the feeling of both protection and vulnerability or blindness that one has standing on the platform, looking out on the street. even with your back to the arcade, there is a discomfort, as the entrances to the balconies are behind you and people can be (are) up there! in addition the building behind is glass, so your reflection is revealed to those on the street before you are.
the building was built before the buildings around it. I imagine it once felt more like my favorite place to hang out as a kid- the temple to music in Roger Williams Park.

And this is a version of the phrase she came up with in connection with these thoughts about the space:

The people that Natasha refer to as being up on the balcony are those that make the Arcade their shelter at night. It is a popular sleeping place for those without other places to go, and when we were there on Monday we could clearly hear sounds of occupation on the second balcony on the Weybosset side. This use of the Arcade is something that I have been aware of since the start of this project, and have tried to be conscientious of. It is important to realise that the "lived" quality of the place is not just a chic way of describing the fact that people eat their lunches on its steps, but a reality in the fullest sense of the word for some. Our presence down at the Arcade could easily become intrusive, and I would not want that to be the case. This is part of the reason that I don't want to be rehearsing down there in the evenings, and have scheduled the performances for the middle of the day. I do not assume that the people who regularly use the Arcade space as a shelter would be willing to talk to me about their experiences, but if the occasion arises, I would definitely be interested to hear their thoughts- they have a very different understanding of and engagement with the Arcade than myself, or anyone else I have talked to.

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