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Invisibility Studies

Surveillance, Transparency and the Hidden in Contemporary Culture


Edited By Henriette Steiner and Kristin Veel

Invisibility Studies explores current changes in the relationship between what we consider visible and what invisible in different areas of contemporary culture. Contributions trace how these changes make their marks on various cultural fields and investigate the cultural significance of these developments, such as transparency and privacy in urban architecture and the silent invasion of surveillance technologies into everyday life. The book contends that when it comes to the changing relationship of the visible and the invisible, the connection between seeing and not being seen is an exchange conditioned by physical and social settings that create certain possibilities for visibility and visuality, yet exclude others. The richness and complexity of this cultural framework means that no single discipline or interdisciplinary approach could capture it single-handedly. Invisibility Studies begins this conversation by bringing together scholars across the fields of architectural history and theory, art, film and literature, philosophy, cultural theory and contemporary anthropology as well as featuring work by a collective of artists.
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PART III Surfaces, Secrets and Interior Spaces


← 180 | 181 → PART III

Surfaces, Secrets and Interior Spaces

← 181 | 182 →

Life is spatial as much as it is temporal. Since ancient times people have linked their identites and histories with physical shapes. The creation of places, buildings and roads reaffirms identity in the present, and passes it on to the future.

Space then, is loaded with traces of the past: the manifestation of a solution for a problem that is long gone. A message that has lost its meaning. A street that leads nowhere, somewhere there used to be something – or where there was something that was supposed to come, but never did. An old man sitting at the end of a bench. A bench long enough for himself and his three friends. Now there’s only him. A footstep in the tarmac that collects the leaves of last autumn. The empty show window of a vegetarian butcher. Rusty train tracks telling stories of dirty hands and hard-working men. A climbing wall that allows you to shake hands with Jesus in a former church …

← 182 | 183 → What traces of the past can help you shape ideas of possible futures?

← 183 | 184 →

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