From Places to Non-Places

(Anosh Nadeem Butt, Lahore)

Jinnah Hospital Underpass

The understanding of place, non-place and space can very well be done using our insight and knowledge. We can begin by describing how the analyst described space. Upon a broader perspective space can be seen as a junction and an interweavement of mobile bodies. Place has been described as something which is relational, historical and concerned with identity. Space is more abstract in itself than place, which is used to refer towards, a myth, an event or history. On the other hand non-place being the exact opposite of place, something cannot be related to, and doesn’t have connections towards history and identity.

Time has crafted and carved out its own ways in cities and upon the urban fabric, super modernity has caused the large increase of non-places, causing lack of integration into the existing places. The world has submitted to the singular individuality. Equivalent aspects are present upon discussion of place or non-place. Place and non-place are present in a very strange relationship, while the former tries to retain its essence by not being completely diminished, the latter trying its utmost best to be perfectly present.

Distinction between the two, place and non-place, derives from the opposition between place and spaces. Space as a word itself is used frantically for meeting rooms, auditoriums, parks, gardens, aircrafts, cars, expresses directly towards the concept of individuality which is prevailing. Non-place can also been seen as an absence of place itself. We can directly apply all this analysis done by Micheal de Certeau to the city of Lahore. He goes on to say that non-place adds negative quality to space, which causes absence of place from its own self.

This can be seen in direct relation with the Azaadi Chowk as a non-place adding upon the silhouette of Badshahi Mosque as a place. The non-place has added negative quantification to space. Micheal de Certeau enumerates further, that proper names impose coming from the other, the names appearing cause diversion in sense that they cannot be predicted in advance, they cause the creation of non-places, turning into just passages. This again can be seen in context of our own city, after the renaming of the underpasses, an example of Jinnah Hospital Underpass turning into Chakar-e-Azam Rind underpass consequences to the same outcome. What seem non-places to individuals may not seem non-places to the government due to super modernity.

Places do still continue to resettle themselves, its relation with non-places are restored and resumed. Elements of spectacle are requisite for history to prevail. Commercialism has caused the world of consumerism, which has caused every individual to make his own. Places and spaces, places and non-places are all in a state of entanglement. Borrowing from Kevin Lynch landmarks are those areas where people share and commemorate. By the passage of time, and through the amalgamation of old and new can be seen through modernity, whereas super modernity has caused places to be viewed from a specific spectacle, due to the creation of non-places.


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19 Nov, 2017 Views: 1613


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