Margaret Morton’s photographs of New York’s homeless demonstrate how urban space effects the mind and influence behavior. First homelessness is not truly the condition of not having a a home it’s about not having a stable home. Identity and home is closely tied together. Yet a home is not a permante thing for anyone. So this aspect of identity is fragile.
Yet homeless people do have a home in tunnels or streets and they identify that space as their own by marking it or organizing it a way they prefer. Sure the space they might be able to call their own is 5 feet or less but its’s their’s. For homeless people having a unstable home situation is more apparent. Representing the universal relationship between space and the splintered indentity.
Morton employs the situationist method of exploring the city. The Situationist Internationlist focus more on everyday life. Discussing how society focus consumption through image promotion. Morton’s New York focused photography is an example of how the Situationist Internationlist is focused on the conflict between society and the reality of homelessness within it. The Situationist’s goals were to examine everday life in it’s entirety. Using a technique for exploring spaces to understand the environments psychological impact.
Gradually Morton breaks down people concept of underground life by satisfying people’s curiosity, and telling the story of a group of people trying to find a new home. Morton tells the story of a man named Bernard who describes life above ground as “distracting from the individual self”. Which is consistent with SI analysis. After underground life is not dedicated to accoumanating commodities. There was also, a guy called Bob who’s describes the tunnel as a place that makes you feel secure.
However if you stay down their long enough the tunnel can consume. Yet he also calls it a good place to find out who you are, “but when you find out who you are, you have to move out or the tunnel will eat you up. Morton introduce life in the tunnel as a psychological space for it’s inhabitant. In terms of a psychological aspects rather then strictly an economic issue. Usually people believe it is some type of economic issue that has gotten a homeless person in their situation, ignoring the mental state of the residents. Morton does not try to romanticize the life underground.
The tunnels are a neglected and undesirable location providing a home for the residents. One of the residents recalls being attacked once and how running into the tunnels gave a feeling of security, because the fear of the tunnel stopped those who were chasing him. Yet it did not stop him from because just like all the resident he’s familiar with the tunnel and above ground.
People underground reach out for psychological peace and exspressing of oneself. Using art the graffiti lining the walls makes one fells like their in a art museam. Art is a display of talent manifested in hidden places. Yet many tunnels have been closed off adding fuel to the ongoing war between the city and the homeless.
NERSESSOVA, IRINA. “Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York.” Disclosure 23 (2014): 26. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.