Fragments of a city without a map (Excerpt)

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(for the long original version - 8.45 min - please contact me for a password.)

Fragments of a city without a map

Now I re-read this city again in its interspaces –
between its concrete buildings and old stairway steps,
social and historical layers, contradictions and unexpected blanks:
fractures, sounds and smells.
Murmuring tv-voices, a language I understand only fragmentary –
nightly applause after the games, repeating echo of the prayer,
news about upheavals in neighbouring nations,
talks about politics, absent tourists and the economic situation.
the market, the butcher, some parties, a friend –
and the king’s portrait everywhere.

Within the image I try to recompose, the details create confusion:
Each puzzle piece, as part of a bigger picture,
asks for individuality and comparison in its uniformity.
I still can't grasp the complexities of this place.

I now approach the blind spots with a temporal and spacial distance.
I look back in black and white, while I do remember palish colours.
I smell the coffee shops the tobacco, the traffic and the falafel.
In my memory I hear the recurring electronic melody,
the sound of the gas-camion, looping trough the hills downtown.
I place myself within this landscape, within this picture,
to stray through its streets again, retracing my steps in my mind.
I split this photographic reality and its frame,
to read between the lines, to redraw a personal map, to connect each piece,
to follow an inner logic and geography of a past experience.

I cut, I copy, I paste, I shred and deconstruct,
I combine and search for the pieces to fit together.
Each piece points to another – to then, as soon as it matches,
uncover a new gap: uncover a new space to translate and interprete.
I look for blind spots, for questions and answers, you.
I'm walking along lanes, climbing mountains, crossing the circles again.
This time I’m the stranger.
I listen to the description of another place - even further away.
The sound of your voice is still close and present between these lines.

I piece this puzzle together. I fill the blanks with life:
colours, smells, sounds, voices, connections.
my foreignness, the political and social patchwork,
the public surface and private inside I experienced -
the turkmani gypsi camp, the egyptian construction workers,
the palestinian families, the christian village in the suburbs...

Within this grey zone between remembering and forgetting,
I step back and fourth in my mind and in reality.
I draw a line, then loose track. I reorient myself. I observe and translate.
I look for this missing thing: I question my questions and answer a double bind.

While people here choose the street this spring I’m closer to the far away than to the present.
I turned upside down to watch from the other side. travelling.
It’s only straight ahead downwards there. into this other reality.

This shattered image – this broken mirror – is my lens ,
I reconstruct to discover – to see something different, to associate,
to reassemble while I remember things I couldn’t see before.
Now I proceed because I changed the scale, the focus, the grid,
the resolution and the context.

The original picture is taken in april 2011 in amman.
Category
News & Politics
Tags
memory, urban landscape, public space, essay, urbanism, city, sound scape, cityscape, puzzle, fragments, orientation, disorientation, traveling, video art, video installation, middle east, gusberti, visual diary, mapping

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