Carter, Paul. (2020) Knowing one's place: measuring public space. Surpllus Pty Ltd in co-operation with the Research Unit in Public Cultures, the University of Melbourne, RUPC #11/Surpllus #13.5
Measuring public space
The Research Unit for Public Cultures has frequently sponsored research that seeks to understand sociability performatively, historically and culturally, but the integration of these different perspectives remains enigmatic. In its starkest expression, one easily observed in the immediate neighbourhood of Koppenplatz, the casual tourist may freely congregate on sites of historical trauma, additionally unaware of the (literally) hollow ground beneath their feet. A correlative question that informed this project was the induction of the stranger into a responsibility for managing those historical revenants whose return is impossible but whose disappearance remains a challenge to the very project of coming together. How can a Public Eros reconcile the life worlds of individuals, groups and communities whose memoryscapes are non-convergent or mutually forgetful? What dramaturgy can turn the holes opening up in the social fabric into patterns of propinquity, substituting the archetypal movement forms of everyday life for a culture of symbolic exchange that has broken down?These questions indicate the implications of what, on the face of it, was a highly localised meditation on a local history.