Response to the text – #6Posted: February 13, 2012
Daniel Kerr – “We Know What the Problem Is”
Paul Virilio – “The Overexposed City”
Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games
23rd and Union
The Kerr piece and the 23rd and Union site have very obvious connections. I love the concept of the Kerr reading because it is something that seems to be neglected often when concentrating on sociological matters. His concept of simply asking the Cleveland homeless population to offer opinions and insights on the situation is such an obvious notion, but one that seems to be overlooked, especially when it comes to transiency. So often these people (these actual people) seem to be shuffled around like game pieces, with little or no regard to the actual human well being that should be intrinsically addressed. By giving them a voice, Kerr is not only broadening the greater public understanding of the homelessness in Cleveland, but he is also empowering the homeless themselves and creating an entire sub-culture form which they can feed off of and into. 23rd and Union plays on similar concepts where the site is essentially “user driven.” It is snippets of life, as narrated by the people who live them. I think it is wonderfully realistic and charming in its simplicity and its authenticity. It comes across as unpolished, but so does the literal corner of 23rd and Union. It also plays off of Kerr’s concept of building an oral history and having the accounts of the people who experienced the place at a specific moment in time be what is representative of it.
In the same way, I thought the Virilio piece and Collins’ The Hunger Games shared some similarities. Virilio touches on many different concepts, but a main one I hone din on was the use of buildings and architecture as a catalyst for social decisions and actions. The physical space of a city literally and otherwise shapes how we interact with it and how we can experience life in it. It dictates how we will go about making the actions that we can make. The evolution of the city has changed our temporal relationship to communication and knowledge, and the city now seems somewhat outdated and primitive comparatively. Collins alludes to this new city – the Capitol – where a futuristic dictatorial sub-section of a post apocalyptic America lords of one dozen districts and forces murderous games to be played at the expense of 23 children and the entire enslaved people. The city is beyond anything in our current time and functions as a highly efficient means of relaying communication with the people and the participants of the Hunger Games. Throughout the book, Katniss’ inner monologue offers a unique perspective for the reader. She is cognizant of her constant surveillance/broadcast of her every action while in the game arena, but she also tips the reader into knowing what others (essentially the entire world and viewing audience) cannot know. She also plays up to the audience, focusing on her persona and how her “character” is coming across, all while trying to both kill and stay alive. The story offers up an interesting question as to how we will treat ourselves in the future, and what things in our lives will be private, and what will be made available for public consumption.