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Site Specific: Goffman’s Relations in Public

Site Specific: Goffman’s Relations in Public

October 13th, 2009  |  Published in Uncategorized

Three questions . . .

Goffman is quite useful in assessing the ways in which identity in public is a malleable phenomenon, as determined by the company one keeps as by the various “units” one encounters – in what ways might we extend his terminology beyond the interpersonal to establish the rules dictated by material interventions in space or the built environment in general?

Could an intervention in the built environment effectively script the assemblage of “withs”?

Might a closer examination of where these rules break down in existing spaces (say the Bronx Museum) reveal ways in which we might encourage interactions for which an audience has no rules of engagement?

How I could use this in my work . . .

The impact of setting and circumstance upon identity is one that could be utilized to deconstruct the identity of an audience. Lewis Carroll’s symbolic logic comes to mind: create a scenario where formulation of “withs” is destined to destabilize the bond within them – push those bonds until a paradox forms and there remains no code with which to conduct oneself.

Explore writing an algorithm for computer vision that detects rudimentary rules in the interactions between various groupings of people in a space. Allow the space to respond as groups break down and formulate – audio/visual cues that accelerate social changes even while they inhibit activities that have not been made legible to the computer.

Formalize a rule-set for traffic within the Bronx museum – allowing for bodies and groupings to make use of a nonverbal vocabulary to express themselves. Adopt behaviors uncommon to museums or public spaces, a different balance of intimacy and anonymity to facilitate a convivial sort of communication through performed actions.

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