MAARTEN VAN OTTERDIJK
June 24th, 15.40
Today I’m walking in Prague 1, looking for locations to use for my project SELFIESPOT.
If you regard the touristic part of Prague as the exterior of a theatre set design, it means that somewhere there must also be a backstage. Why am I looking for that?
There’s a huge supporting cast assisting the ‘set’ by bringing in food, unnecesary kitsch souvenirs or by working as some sort of assistant or guide … the show must go on. A huge infrastructure exists around and behind, and sometimes right in the middle of the city’s touristic venues. So I start to walk around and look for these places, discovering that it’s not only the supporting cast but also tourists who have to use them. You park your car in a dark garage that contrasts starkly with the much extolled, must-see beauty spot you’ve dreamt of seeing. You have no choice. Best to ignore it and think now I’m here, just a short distance from my goal. Or you take the metro and remain in the dark until you emerge at a station in the centre of town. These entrances/exits are like gateways to a dream that you want to take a picture of. In fact the backstage infrastructure is much more extensive than the tourist landmarks they support. Why should we deny that?
So…. while these thoughts keep developing in my head during the day, I started searching in earnest for those locations I want my audience to see. Two weeks ago I read an article by someone who said that cities are nature too, because everything is nature. I found that very interesting. It’s very true, we humans are nature so what we create must be nature as well. Just like a bird building a nest is nature. So everything we create is nature, each thing with it’s own function of course. And apparently it’s in our nature nowadays to spend time and money in cities for no other reason than to enjoy ourselves. Enjoy ourselves and take pictures. I was really surprised by the enormous amount of people who take pictures all the time. Not choosing discriminately to take a picture of something special, no, just taking pictures for friends, selfies… people walk with sefiesticks in front of them, continually taking pictures… did they see anything while visiting Prague? Or do they have to check their phones to find out what they saw? Really amazing, worse than I expected.
But what exactly do I want to show people who decide to take the SELFIE tour….
Maybe the walk is more important than the selfiespots they might find?
Important for me is that people wonder why the spots are where they are and they’re aware of places they normally don’t see. Maybe for once they’ll be very conscious of the route they took when they arrived. It’s funny that the route I’ve walked thus far is a route that includes a lot of touristic highlights….
Okay… lot’s of thinking to do…. I will continue my journey through backstage Prague….