Shelter by William James
Barcelona - Spain
3-10-2002 / 8-11-2002
"William James has photographed over sixty apartments in various buildings selected according to architectural type, location and their particular circumstances. Each block is represented by panoramic images of several homes, which form a cross-selection of the building's interior spaces.
In the exhibition space, the photographs are presented by means of sculptural support apparatus, so that domestic interiors become exterior surfaces, each piece representing a single building, the whole installation forming an urban landscape of buildings turned inside out. Whilst the city is usually represented as a series of façades, horizons, streets and squares, Shelter represents the city as a series of private inhabited cells. The images are accompanied by a series of essays and interviews produced by the artist in collaboration with other cultural workers and neighbourhood representatives, which describe the shifting relations between the citizen and the city, the private and the public.
At a time when urban space is undergoing a process of privatisation; when shoppin and the consumption of services have become the main public activity; when urban individualism is losely linked to materialism; when the production of public space depend on a strengthening alliance between the city autorities and business; it is difficult to reach a simple definition of what we nevertheless still call "public" space. The frontier between home and the city outside, which we cross several times a day, continues to be sharpy felt but, with the development of communication technologies, a highly mediated public sphere, operating independently of the physical public space invades every area of life. The separation of the public sphere from public space problematizes the citizen participation."