To be immersed is to look at the city in section, to be inside, to look at the inner workings of this body, as a kind of x-ray vision.
The section drawing as we know allows us to understand the adjacencies of interior spaces, their configurations and relative proportions, etceteras.
While they are revealing of this static, and abstract characteristics of space, they do not provide us with the representation or the analysis of what is happening inside, how often it is happening, what are the variations, the rhythms and patterns, the ephemeral, what is the life of that which is being investigated.
To be immersed is to be inside but it is also to look at the city moving, to look at the city in time, to look at the city changing.
Last Wednesday I presented this idea of the Living Section to the class, as well as
a series of dissections of time/space studies which take the conventional section-cut drawing as we know it and combine it with video to create a new kind of document. These included personal projects, student projects as well as inspiration in other works that influence this kind of document.
I started with this text from Philosopher Michel de Certeau in Walking the City in which he argues that the plan-like image of a city as seen from above is nothing else but a “viewpoint… a picture, whose condition of possibility is an oblivion and a misunderstanding of practices”. He argues for the experience of wandering through the city as a “process of appropriation of the topographical system”.
“The ordinary practitioners of the city live ‘down below’, below the thresholds at which visibility begins. ... whose bodies follow the thicks and thins of an urban ‘text’ they write without being able to read it. These practitioners make use of spaces that cannot be seen; their knowledge of them is as blind as that of lovers in each other’s arms. The paths that correspond in this intertwining, unrecognized poems in which each body is an element signed by many others, elude legibility. It is as though the practices organizing a bustling city were characterized by their blindness. The networks of these moving, intersecting writings compose a manifold story that has neither author nor spectator, shaped out of fragments of trajectories and alterations of spaces: in relation to representations, it remains daily and indefinitely other.”
de Certeau, Michel. Walking in the City. In The Practice of Everyday Life, Trans. by Steven Rendall. California: University of California Press, 1988, p. 128
We also spoke about ants. Yes!