walk – Spitalfields





Lewis Carroll famously uses two meanings packed into one word, a portmanteau. Meanings of words, like residents of a city, are packed into rooms, which are in turn packed into apartments, buildings and grids. Morphemes are like windows that reveal meanings in each layer of city. 

Spitalfields, where these photos are taken. Spital/Fields. Hospital/Fields. An elision of words and history.

Bishopsgate. Bishop, from Greek episkopos overseer,’ from epi ‘above’ skopos looking.’ This time the lexical windows open on the 110th floor of the World Trade Center. I'm in New York with de Certeau, it's 1980. He looks down at Manhattan's grid, says he feels like a voyeur, a reader of the city, says he can't feel part of everyday life from that height. Only corporations and governments preside over it from above, like bishops, forming strategies in sermons, maps and set-meanings. On street level, de Certeau sees walkers as authors, constantly rewriting meanings as and when they find them. 
I'm back in Spitalfields, it's 2010. Windows wink open across the city.