Rants ‘n Raves by a Nuyorican Who Calls Herself Bennie

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Traces of Passage (draft)

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Traces of Passage

Trains…mobile carts holding you immobile for a period of time…
Seems like an eternity… b.p. beretta

Ä traveling incarceration. Immobile inside the train, seeing immobile things slip by. What is happening? Nothing is moving inside or outside the train. Michel de Certeau

Journeys are often taken with eyes wide shut, particularly when traveling within non-places. By this I mean the traveler is not actively engaging with his enviornment on his own because the non-place, in this case the train, is a temporary place with no memories or emotions tied to this non-place. So the traveler sits in his assigned seat and waits until his destination is reached. The traveler does not actively interacts with his surroundings, but engages in daydreams and memories not related to this non-place.

Traveling by train as well as the migrant other can also be described as being in an inbetween non-place. By this I mean a transitional place where it is devoid of one’s own power to control it’s enviornment. As a migrant I never questioned my position. I only know that the unbalanced terrain keeps you shifting your perspective as if you were traveling on a fast train staring out of windows, seeing your reflection superimposed on unrecognizable objects as the train speeds along. No connections are made because the fleeting images do not remain. It is an unsettling feeling. A feeling of not being in control of your surroundings. Surrending yourself to the railway system that controls every aspect of your journey. According to Michel de Certeau your journey is controlled for you. You are governed by the railway systems while you are within the confines of the train. But isn’t a migrant’s movements in a way also controlled or governed? He or she is not totally free to move about without having the proper papers or identification. The train can be described as a metaphor for the experience of non-place.

Traces of passage is a video installation of trainscapes and soundscapes utilizing images, sounds, and utterances of the urban migrant flanuese to illustrate how Michel de Certeau’s concepts of non-place, in regards to the railroad system, engages the audience to synthesize de Certeau’s concepts to the doing of the concept as in the video installation, traces of passage. The installation is a series of videos placed throughout the conference area, preferably in the stairways between floors as it adds to the feeling of the inbetween-ness of the non-place of the staiways.


Written by Benilda Pacheco Beretta

September 9, 2010 at 7:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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