"You'll get moved on here"
The other day I came across a great piece of ruin, an other fragment of this incredible city: a London based charity invites people sleeping rough to author a ‘Homeless City Guide’ by drawing listed signs on the wall in order ‘to help others to read the city’.
By scrolling down the list of symbols, I felt a sense of hollowness reading tags like ‘an attack happened here’, or ‘strong police presence’, and ‘unfriendly place’. Risk is a major concern in everyday life in the cities, and the media campaigns fulfil many moral panics alike. By thinking about geographies of danger, though, there is a sense in which risk cannot be a rational calculation made by rational individuals: on the contrary, there is a strong social element in the evaluation of risk, interlocked with personal memories, shared experiences, unconscious feelings of desire and uncanny, and relative positions in-between fields: so to say, we live in descriptions of places, which organise, link and make itineraries out of them.
Ah, the charity also recommends to use chalk in order to keep the system up to date. There is in fact the impression that non permanent marks can tell us more about the ever changing and ephemeral geographies of our living spaces.