“Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York.”
by Irina Nersessova.”
Margaret Morton published a book in 1995 named “The Underground Homeless in New York City” that portrayed specific homeless communities in New York. The fact that someone has a home defines them to be homeless or not. People without a home shows their instability. Morton emphasizes that the condition of being homeless is not merely the fact of not having a home but instead described as the absence of a stable home.
Nersessova uses Morton to explore the community through space. She uses this as a helpful creative guide to what she might be using in ways to prevent using the environment as a commodity. Morton’s goal is to examine the everyday life of the homeless by understanding what kind of physiological impact the environment might be having on them. She takes into consideration their behavior and attitude.
Morton goes on to photograph and explore tunnels and abandoned streets. She photographs the underground society and receives more insight from them by talking about their life. Morton notices how their are people out there read to destroy the homes of the less fortunate people. There seems to be space that people take of care of and is used by its people even though it is seen to be forgotten.
Space has been something Morton tried to gain perspective on through photography. This would aim more towards the creative project she is striving for. The tunnel denotes an area that has been disregarded. people find the tunnel to be safe because in times that they are in danger, all they do is run into the tunnel. The tunnel is dark and it prevents danger from entering it. The high levels of security in the tunnel is found to be more better than it is most dangerous. The psychological relationship is that the darkness in the tunnel gives out peace for people hiding from danger.
The people are more aware of the space in the tunnel and everything else about it which is why they are more comfortable gathering food, and materials for their home. They know that people do not enter the tunnel unless they happen to be the people living there or if the aboveground has no where else to go. The main purpose people live underground is to attain peace. The physical space that people gain in the tunnel correlates to the mental space that they achieve. As the tunnel closed, a war on public space was in place for a few years.
Morton does not put in any images into her book as she knows we have a little idea of how it may look. The one absolute thing that the homeless need is space. “The environment’s effects on emotion and behavior are observed in Fragile Dwelling as much as they are evident in The Tunnel” (Nersessova) shows how Nersessova uses Morton to examine the tunnel and how it psychologically affects the homeless who are in need of space.
Domestic architecture is where the homeless construct their own temporary homes using the space they are provided. This is the only means by which they survive in our society until they are pushed out. “To allow people to create their own personal space would be to give them the right to housing and to remove the damaging stereotypes of laziness and need for charity” (Nersessova). These things should be removed in order for the homeless to survive through basic means.
Having personal space means to have room for our own individuality. This is exactly what the homeless are trying to strive for. This personal space gets unprotected and is invaded by people who intend to destroy these people. The homeless take their own time to make a place that is comfortable by getting certain objects like pets, paintings etc. for their homes. this was defined to be a certain amount of wealth they got even through their rough moments. Their homes not only contributed to their psychological state but also emotionally too.