Destination Anywhere: Experiences of Place in the Work of Ed Ruscha and Andreas Gursky

Kristen Sharp
Vol 29, Number 1, p.11
This paper examines how the meaning of place and identification with place can be produced through photographic images of the city. As an aesthetic, social and cultural practice, photography provides a way of imagining place and a means of knowing and classifying the urban spaces. Photographic images of the city can be understood as a form of aesthetic knowledge production, which represents and enacts the experiences of the urban environment. The urban spaces imaged by artists Ed Ruscha and Andreas Gursky, in the 1960s and 1990s respectively, actively represent and perform the symbolic and material properties of urban spaces. By exploring the ways that these artists read and map city spaces and how they articulate an experience of the city that engages with the identification of place, an argument is presented about how this process and imaging can be situated in relation to anthropological and geographic concepts of place. More specifically, what this paper explores is how their work demonstrates a sense of place that is complex and mobile, which can oscillate between notions of site specificity, identification and non-place as defined by Marc Augé.