Taking back the space always involves doing something that you’re not supposed to do (or not doing something that you are supposed to do, like Rosa Parks). The more I do these things, the more I realise that these are just the easy and obvious things to do. On the other hand, it usually feels like a gargantuan effort to do them – to break the veneer of the ‘public’ peace and order.
But this is something that needs to happen. Everyday people need to start doing the obvious and easy things, to overcome that strange invisible authority that says “you shouldn’t do that.”
Here’s a moral grey area: councils and public services selling off public space to advertisers who dominate public space with their misogynist propaganda… a system of images that accumulate to lock public life into a ubiquitous and sexually oppressive consciousness. We don’t pay our taxes to help them build this kind of world around us.
Images like these are unspectacular and dull, I know. We’re not moved to action because we’re shocked! aghast! or appalled! The imagery of this utterly predictable order has become mundane and boring. It’s also become somewhat unquestionable in its obnoxious power to create their lucrative sense of normality around us (and it’s not lucrative for us).
This stone is ready to be rolled away. It involves ordinary people doing ordinary and obvious things as part of ordinary life – the things that we’re not really supposed to do.
More on that soon…