The sidewalk, the train platform, and the train car has become the space of appearance for my body, where other bodies appear to me, and we occupy a space of transition together- This is most clearly felt in the subway car because it is an enclosed space. When I think about the public space that I "appear" in- I am thinking about the way Judith Butler uses the term in her essay Bodies in Alliance and the Politics of the Street- That space is not accessible to those who watch the recorded versions that I have uploaded nightly for the past 13 days. In her lecture Butler states, "For politics to take place, the body must appear. I appear to others, and they appear to me, which means that some space between us allows each to appear. We are not simply visual phenomena for each other –". She is referring to a group of bodies that are acting in alliance, through a material presence manifested in public space. This is different from commuters on a subway train individually going from A to B. My question is whether my appearance as a performative body, does not then change the way the other riders of the train are also appearing in that particular public space- thus changing the form of the public space itself, into something that is political.
Bodies in Alliance and the Politics of the Street, Judith Butler, Lecture held in Venice, 7 September 2011, in the framework of the series The State of Things, organized by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA).