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La Pedrera

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The complexity of the city acts as an attractor, or transforming and transformed space at the same time, constructed and deconstructed. It weaves the web of dialogues at every instant through millions of random movements and an endless number of ways of approaching them.

Hence, the new narrative proposed by Benjamin in his lucubration on The Passages, in Paris, suggests a look at the city through objects, stories, travels, and baroque fragmentary memories, which he does not manage to elaborate in his book Of The Passages, later compiled by Rolff Tiedemann, as a puzzle, or unfinished map that will be elaborated from the vast labyrinth embodied in the seductive and voracious paraphernalia of Parisian life.

This dialogue with the Passages was conceived as a place of knowledge as a human scenario of shock where the visible and the invisible converge, as Italo Calvino also pointed out.

In the description of the Passages as an opulent and rich place where the economic «codfish» of the Paris bourgeoisie was «cut», Benjamin discovered the not so pleasant sweetness of the bourgeois objects of the time, and at the same time the horrible loneliness shared with unknown passers-by, like himself.

I believe that in this context of the event there is room for reflection on the being and the being of the signifier PLACE.

The city is the forest of modernity or the urban constellation that contains and multiplies the opaque and absent thinking subject for himself, provoking a vanishing point inhabited by dreams, lapses, and symptoms.

Paris 2018 and Barcelona 2019 produce in me a non-existent look, until then, that raises the angle of vision about 45 degrees towards the zenith to discover the great quality of the auctions and mansards of the buildings of the eighteenth and nineteenth century that tell the social history of the construction of a large number of buildings of these two Mediterranean cities whose mansards told the socio-economic changes that technology had produced, being used first by artists and poor French and Catalan classes respectively, which with the incursion of the elevator are transformed into the desired floors of the capitalist class, and dominant bourgeoisie, today in these cities. This simple elevator acts as a game changer for those juicy ateliers of the past, today called attics.

The gaze placed on this neighbor, recognized as City produces a presence without distance in which I look and I am looked at by her, at the same time and space; That in turn we share creating a link that is overflowing us with the appearance of this fleeting and unexpected encounter, product of this new dialectic that discovers THE LOOK.


Shimon Edenburg

*Title of the book by Susan Buck Morss, based on the fragments found in the book of Walter Benjamin’s Passages.