Jennifer Anyan
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This chapter is constructed through the undertaking of practical research via observation and interaction as a method to explore the power of the gaze and the relationship with the Other in the Non-Place … a world thus surrendered to solitary individuality, to the fleeting, the temporary and ephemeral.1 My interest in the gaze within the Non Place is grounded in the concept that in a public place, where we do not know the others that surround us, we are more susceptible to erosion and recreating ourselves as a response to observing and being observed. Furthermore, I am questioning what constitutes the otherness of the Other (in Lacans’ terms; the site of the symbolic, that which cannot be clearly defined or fixed), as well as, aiming to define the moment when that otherness becomes eroded, creating a relationship or connection that impacts upon our sense of self. The term ‘erosion’ is used to define how the essence of otherness might be worn away. This ‘erosion’ is linked to ideas of domination and control, through my behaviour in the moments documented I am actively gnawing away at what constitutes other; revealing a connection within the realm of the imaginary.2 I am using the format of confession to explore the relationship between myself and the Other. Freeman (1993) says ‘the concept of the self is very much informed by time and place’ (Freeman, 1993 p 27, his emphasis) and that ‘[t]he concept of the self …hovers in the space between recollection and development’ (Freeman, 1993 p 48-9). I am associating this mental space with a real physical space (the Non Place of the train, station, tube and bus) by using that designated time and space, with all the experiential possibilities that it offers, as a place in which to reflect upon the self (myself) and the impact of experiencing the Other and the experience of being Other through my responses to my encounters that cause me to constantly rewrite myself.