The city-as-montage in the labyrinths of memory. An exercise of dragging Braga's postcards from their institutional moorings to an intimate cartography of an e-motional journey.
Geography Department University of Minho Braga, Portugal
Pires, Maria Helena
CECS - Centre of Studies in Communication and Society, Department of Communication Sciences University of Minho Braga, Portugal
Postcards constitute a singular below-the-line media in terms of their relation with time and setting dimensions. They give subjects the opportunity to involve themselves in a circling, a continual return to the same loci, the same figures, the same squares and landscapes, but each time from a different direction. Each one's memory is fulfilled of many images, as part of the «popular culture». At the same time, each one's passage, throw those images, produces «an intimate panoramic tour» (Bruno). Adopting Benjamin's proposal, this implies to consider how the objects and settings of the urban environment are perceived and transformed.
In this perspective, we intend to discuss the concept of «cartography», suggesting that it isn't just an institutionalised and materialized form of knowledge, but it also can be a subjective way of giving shape to an intimate geography. In order to illustrate this kind of sensitive experience, we propose to take some postcards from Braga-city and reassemble them as fragments of a particular topology, produced as a bricolage. Which are the most frequently represented figures in those postcards and what does it means in its relation to the image of the city as we perceived it? Which are its absent motifs and settings? What to say about the implicit limits or about the framing traces with which we give rise to our imaginary experience of flânerie?
If we consider the contemporary tendency to blur the frontiers between high culture and popular culture, from one side, and between art and life, from the other, in post-modern Frederic Jameson's perspective, it is particularly important to pay attention to the way subjects produce their own ephemeral patterns of reference. From time to time, postcards always were, besides a privileged interpersonal media, an instrument of shaping an intimate and e-motional relation with settings and memories. The artists (photographers, designers or cartoonists...) and the postcard users, from this point of view, can be considered as imaginary flâneurs...