Replace Totalities by Fragments

Walking Project, Mannheim, October 2020

In the same way, in walking it selects and fragments the space traversed; it skips over links and whole parts that it omits. From this point of view, every walk constantly leaps, or skips like a child, hopping on one foot practices the ellipsis of conjunctive loci.

In reality, these two pedestrian figures are related. In order to make it play the role of a “more” (a totality) and take its place (the bicycle or the piece of furniture in a store window stands for a whole street or neighbourhood) – by elision, creates a ‘less’: opens gaps in the spatial continuum, and retains only selected parts of it that amount almost to relics . Synecdoche replaces totalities by fragments (a less in the place of a more); asyndeton disconnects them by eliminating the conjunctive or the consecutive (nothing in place of something). Synecdoche makes more dense: It amplifies the detail and miniaturizes the whole. Asyndeton cuts out: it undoes continuity and undercuts its plausibility.

— Michel de Certeau, Walking in the City

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.