Monday, 8 September 2008

Michel de Certeau

I’ve been re-reading a couple of chapters (Walking in the City, and Spatial Stories) from Michel de Certeau’s collection of essays, The Practice of Everyday Life. It makes my head hurt, and I’m not sure I understand a lot of it, but there’s some really interesting stuff there about our relationship to cities and to stories.

He talks about the power and importance of stories and legends in creating place:

“It is through the opportunity they offer to store up rich silences and wordless stories, or rather through their capacity to create cellars and garrets everywhere, that local legends (legenda: what is to be read, but also what can be read) permit exits, ways of going out and coming back in, and thus habitable spaces.”

He talks of stories and legends as haunting places, and argues that “Haunted places are the only ones people can live in”.

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