Other People’s Photographs: urban space and collective memory

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Other People’s Photographs places along the city a network of personal memories provided by citizens, establishing a connection between these and the collective memory. The participation of citizens as protagonists of the intervention strengthens their sense of belonging to the urban space.

The project was conducted in 2008 in Folkestone (UK) by Strange Cargo Arts Company. “Over two years, a collection was made of more than 1,500 photographs of people, taken over 125 years in the city’s public spaces and in those of the adjoining municipalities of Cheriton and Sandgate. A selection of 540 was made in such a way that each place was represented by only one photograph. Every one of these photographs was reproduced on a metal support and hung in the space where it was taken. The voice of the owner of the photograph was recorded, telling the story that goes with it. They show children on bicycles, people proudly posing with a new car, street festivities and a whole series of everyday scenes personally experienced in public space. Two tactile screens installed in Bouverie Place enable people to look at all the photographs, listen to the explanations and situate them on a digital map of the city.”

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“People who visit the square cluster round the screens, which provide a good pretext for strangers to strike up conversations about the memories the photographs summon up. Their individual, everyday, almost homely scenes are projected on to the setting of public space, thus establishing a nexus between personal reminiscence and collective memory. The new square is now the hub of a network of common recollection that, superimposed over the physical network of streets that lead away from it, spreads out over the whole city.”

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(via publicspace.org)