Thursday, May 24, 2012

Heterogenous modernization
Attempts to renovate the Cathedral seem ironic in light of its location in the old downtown district, one of the most rundown and crowded areas of the city where the country’s poor have set up an informal market system that spills into the road crowding out cars and narrowing the street to a single lane.  Historic buildings have been taken over by the poor who have set up shops within the spaces that have now been recognized officially by the city government.  The unspoken "rules" of this part of the town are complicated and it is difficult for an outsider, without an organic understanding of the district, to navigate the space.  The contrast of this area of town with the city’s Multi Plaza mall and new La Gran Vía shopping district is stark.  While the downtown district was teeming with people, the Gran Vía commercial district was empty of customers.  The shopping center is a globalized space; I easily recognized Nine-West, Anne Klein, Quiznos, and the IStore and cultural icons like Hello Kitty, the Mario Brothers and Cuban-American Pitbull.

WJT Mitchell — Notes on Picture Theory

In analyzing the “pictorial turn” in his book Picture Theory, Mitchell begins by raising important questions about how images reference t...