Robin Selece Wharton
In her article Tapestry of space, Irina Nersessova analyzes artists’, like photographer Margaret Morton, works to discuss homelessness. She begins discussing the idea that even the homeless have created some type of home for themselves. Although not a conventional home, the homeless still have a collection of belongings and a shelter in which they have created. They, just like those who do live in houses, have emotional connections to their belongings and take measures to protect these belongings. The true difference between the homeless and those individuals that live in what society may consider to be a home is the stability of the home in which they live in. The homeless’ homes have a much higher vulnerability to destruction. This could then be brought back to say that all homes are vulnerable to destruction. May it be street cleaners disposing of your belongings, or a tornado sucking up your house, all homes are vulnerable. Nersessova then takes a look at Morton’s exploration of the abandoned tunnels, or lack thereof. She addresses the juxtaposition of the “aboveground” and “belowground” living being of different mind sets. Morton interviews residents of the tunnels getting their outlook on the two spheres. Nersessova concludes that the first man’s perception was “consistent with SI criticism of the spectacle as a filter for human interaction. She addresses Morton’s findings that the resident admits to believing that the lack of “accumulating commodities” or images is necessary to reach a level of consciousness he deems necessary. Nersessova then goes on to touch homelessness in regards to psychological aspects in placement of the economic issues typical addressed. This opens the topic to the idea of refuge rather than poverty. Many of the residents of the tunnel agree that the appeal to live in the abandoned space is the feeling of safety. The location of these abandoned roads/tunnels is not well known to the aboveground population. Only those who reside in or have explored the tunnel are aware of what lies inside; therefore, any outsiders are found to be less comfortable entering the space. Residents find this comforting, because it provides them with a safe haven they know will not be invaded. They still have knowledge with the outside world, otherwise referred to as aboveground, making it easy to go between the two to collect necessities. She then posits that the choice of the residents to live in the underground is a testament to the social problems that would cause one to leave the above ground. The theory that the underground is strictly a space for “primal survival” is countered by the presentation of artwork. Nersessova explains that artwork in the tunnels represents a “presence of humanities, which further demonstrates a complete society.” She continues to describe testimonies of those who reside in the underground. One man goes into detail explaining that he has everything a “non-homeless” person would have, thus making him not homeless. The man says, “It’s not always about the money; it’s really about getting an idea of who you are.” He says, “They are their homes because they physically create them and emotionally invest in the process of home building.