“Tapestry Of Space”: Reading Summary

Mark Lamar

Eng. 1102 M hybrid

Dr. Wharton

January 25, 2016

Reading Summary 2

             Irina Nersessova’s “Tapestry of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photography of a Forgotten New York” is an analysis of Margaret Morton’s photography of homeless people and their underground homes in New York City.  Neressova’s work also outlines the interviews of the people conducted by Morton.  Nersessova also examines psychogeography, one of the themes by which Morton centered her work around.

            The Situationist International theory shapes many views on psychogeography and material production which is a big factor in how a space is perceived by a viewer (Nersessova 26).  Through the lens of psychogeography, Nersessova questions what exactly is really homelessness.  According to her, having a home does not exclude you from being labeled homeless, but having a stable home does.  She goes on to state that our views on what we feel is valuable or stable is often based on the materialistic influence of the media.  Whereas, those who live underground do not quest for the same commodities as us, but only what they themselves see as valuable.

However, a serious issue that people of domestic architecture must face is the threat of property owners pushing them away from the spaces they have called home.  People who build their own homes in spaces like those photographed by Morton are vulnerable to many things that could destroy their homes, including other people.  People who have never experienced homelessness do not understand that the building of one’s own home is a very strong way to show individuality.  With that being said, it is inconsiderate to expect someone to find comfort in a shelter built for them that doesn’t allow for any individual to have adequate personal space.

Furthermore, Nersessova explains how Morton represents a voice for these neglected people and uses a form of informal journalism to help people reach a new understanding of the lifestyle she is trying to illustrate.  Morton uses pictures and voice recordings and makes commentaries about the people and places she is documenting.  She speaks with people firsthand about their creativity and thoughts about being homeless in a time where very few homeless people are given a voice in society.  Through her work she encounters a man who claims that prison conditions are better than those of homeless shelters in New York.  “A man can’t live like that,” he says, a straightforward answer that adds a new dimension to many people’s thought process.  After getting a statement from a homeless person it is now necessary to consider the fact that many of the homeless somewhat chose to live how they live.  Due to that reality, it now seems unreasonable for someone to be corralled into a crowded shelter against his or her will.  Work such as Morton’s has the power to bring new perspectives into the issue of homelessness in the city of New York.  It raises the notion that people not having a stable home wouldn’t be as much of a problem if we did not make their homes so unstable by the way we treat them and their creativity.




Nersessova, Irina. “Tapestry of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photography of a Forgotten New York.” Uknowledge.uky.edu. N.p., 25 Apr. 2014. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.