Profanations in the age of speed:Looking for remaining visual traces of protest through a photographic project in London, 27 March 2011

Stavrou, Christos (2012) Profanations in the age of speed:Looking for remaining visual traces of protest through a photographic project in London, 27 March 2011. In: Oppositions, 2012-09-282012-09-29. (Unpublished)

Full text not available from this repository.


This paper presents extensive and original photographic material, introducing the concepts of 'visual' and 'photographic profanation', produced during my own exploration of London’s city centre, on 27 March 2011; when I was looking for visual traces of the widely publicised and nationally mediated anti-cuts demonstration taking place on the previous day. In the process of materialising this photographic project, which is grounded in visual research methods and autoethnography, my subject position alternates between that of photographer, flâneur, documentarist, visual sociologist, archaeologist, social critic, and artist. The project documented the exceptional rarity of any remaining visual signs, which could be linked to the recent massive protest, and it engages with the sociological concepts of speed (Virilio) and the profane (Agamben) within an approach to understand contemporary politics as one which quickly removes these visual traces, as 'profanations' from public spaces. If, according to Virilio (1977), speed is war, and even more, the motor of civilisation, we need to ask whether the degree and pace of social and urban cleanliness following a political event; the fast disappearance of any visual signs of political protest, social unrest, and civil disobedience; mean something important for a critical analysis and understanding of current politics. Equally, if, as Agamben (2007) argues, the political task for our generation is to profane the unprofanable, one is asked to elaborate about possible ways of doing so; or perhaps of imprinting so - in a more enduring way; including visual and photographic acts of imagination, depiction, and artistic expression. In its last part, my project shifts from the presentation of partly found, recovered, photographic fragments of protest and disobedience into the stage of creating new ones, revealing my own versions or rather instances of profaning with my camera. The paper raises theoretical, political, as well as methodological issues - which are related to photo-documentation and photo-essay.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
05 Oct 2012 08:55
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 13:53