michelleletowska.com

Economies of Scale
Site specific installation
Glasgow
March 2006

"The postmodern suspension of the past inside the present can actually be traced to Brecht, particularly to his realization that the rapidity of change and the increase of knowledge in the modern world have forced us to see history in a new light: not as a finalized past but as a process in which the new continuously transfigures the old."1

The image of three men observing, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, a model tower block is, significantly, to be found before the title page of Tower block: modern public housing in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by Stephan Mathesius and Miles Glendinning (Yale University Press, 1994). The starting point of the work was enlarging the press photograph by 5:1, in order to examine how a reassessment of the scale would affect the reading of the model tower block, the architect, the planner, the funder and of this moment of post-war idealism, optimism and caution.

Binoculars directed the viewer’s gaze out of the gallery and onto a tower block outside, creating a link with the real lived experience of this moment from the past and somehow shrinking the viewer beneath the model tower block and the three figures. Invited to look through the lenses, the viewer turned their back on the photograph. By choosing to become a voyeur, the viewer themselves became an object of observation for others in the room, visually as well as physically involved in the work.

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