Already but not yet
When I moved to London in 2013 The City of London Corporation was the first place that I visited, and I was surprised by the contrast between the financial centre and its adjacent suburbs. This is a reminder of how the city developed in the middle ages. It occurred to me the idea that the buildings of the City could be interpreted as a new symbolical version of the medieval wall.
The wall that I imagined is no longer a closed wall with gates guarded by soldiers; these have been replaced by security cameras. The highest building of the City is no longer the church. Its symbolic presence, a visual index of the power of the church at the time, is now secular. Financial corporations are now fighting each other to have the tallest building, as a sign of economic domain. The facades and the frequent uses of glass in the buildings’ construction can also be interpreted as another symbolic sign, the rhetoric of the democratic transparency could be reflected in the composition of the architectonical materials. The opacity of the bricks in the medieval wall has been replaced by the clearness of the glass.
Glass is a material which allows one to see through and be seen through it. As Foucault argues, ‘who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power’. Korean philosopher Byung Hul-Chang argues, however, that we no longer live in the disciplined society exposed by the French philosopher. Thus, he explains we are now live in the ‘efficiency society’, in which habitants are no longer considered ‘obedience subjects’ but ‘efficiency subjects’. He states that the ‘efficiency subject’ who considers himself free, is actually a slave. He is a complete slave in so far as that without any master he nevertheless exploits himself voluntary…the efficiency subject absolutizes mere life and work’.
The pictures in “Already but not yet” are taken in suspended moments of time when workers pause between their daily routines. Through my photographs of these isolated individuals outside their places of work, I re-draw the corporate landscape. These fragile figures, disconnected and absent citizens, amongst the city architecture, symbolising the subordination of society to economic power.
‘Already but not yet’
Serie of 24 pictures. London 2015-2018