Focal Point

Focal Point

Cities are specific. No matter how much they might increasingly resemble each other they are still unique in the sense that they leave a specific trace on memory.

When he returned to Los Angeles, the specificity of the city –– its fragmentation and the centrality of its architecture –– started to affect his perception. He could not look at the urban landscape in the same way.

 

I have now spent some time looking at the photograph. And the more I look at it, the more I realise that my eyes have been returning to the point at the centre of the image, to the target sign, in a compulsive movement which at the moment of its realisation negates the actuality of the city.

What happens when my look returns to this centre, in a violent movement, to an emptied consciousness, insisting, again and again, like the repetition of an old scratched vinyl that perpetually plays the same notes? Yes, in a compulsive incessant movement the sign tells me to shoot! Shoot!

In this image, the sign pushes me to become violent. It urges me to shoot the target with all my being. It removes the pleasure I was taking in contemplating the view, scrutinising visible details, and it narrows my consciousness instead down to a single and repetitive and debilitating movement.

I know that the target in the image brings my subjective space into stupidity. I should reject it, look away, focus on some other details in the landscape. And yet I feel drawn to it. It has bewitched me like a piece of music that repeats itself. It is as if I have forgotten about the city that lies before my eyes, that I am not interested in it anymore, as if I take a perverse pleasure in negating it.

 

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