I have been preoccupied of late by a series of photographs, which project and inscribe homelessness onto a landscape. A colleague, Alex Abramovich, sent me a link to a site, Faktum, which proposes a thought and economic experience. You (presupposed as not-homeless, a good and prosperous neoliberal subject) are told you can book a hotel room but quickly find out that these rooms are really geographic places where a homeless person might sleep for the night. The aim is charitable – to support Faktum Hotels is a way to support Gothenburg’s street newspaper, Faktum. We learn that Gothenburg has an estimated 3,400 persons who are dedomiciled. The street newspaper supports the creation of the good capitalist subject through providing jobs to those subjects that capital has already deemed as excess, as most in need.
The ten rooms, photographed by Håkan Ludwigson, are luscious in their presentation. Golds, crimsons, cobalts and greens mix hot in each idyllic reproduction – romance and beauty amidst garbage and tagging. The surface of each is so polished that we are caught up in a drama that we are distanced from. Poverty and homelessness are granted an aesthetic that allows them to co-exist as objects of sensory beauty, exploitation and industry.
There are no body/s and their lack in each frame may encourage us as viewers to move more readily to inhabit this fantasy of homelessness. The absent body of the other, allows the cultural imaginaries of homelessness to remain unchallenged.
There are many ways of reading photographs and as I continue to think through these images I will provide my thoughts…