an urban perspective: LAST NAME
by Cynthia Schwertsik and Elke Krasny, Text & Photography
Women in public space
Women without space in public space
urban space without women women in collective memory
collective memory & her story
Round the world, throughout urban space the same structure, it seems to cover the world in which I read / or at least manage to decode simple written signs. I observe the signs, the official city mapping of streets and monuments that represent the male history. While I find my way through a city I start to read the signs, apart from the billboard beauties, I read a lot of first names – Suzanne, Lolita, Victoria – depending very much on the region I might see Mimi’s imported Fashion, Rose Imbiss & Doris cafe or Gül Hairdresser & Fatima’s Flowers, or Brigitte Boutique & Erna’s Pedicure – these signs tell a different story; Her story? Shop fronts that form a female presence. Women prefer to define themselves economically with a first name – not the name of the father or husband, but the given name, women take part in public space, representing the dynamic and fluctuation nature of small business.
LAST NAME starts here:
in the name of the given name – we follow up her story, individual little stories, memory put together –like pearls on a string, each shows a different dream, destiny, reality – to indicate the wild, the adventurous, “average” life of women in all colours. In biographical notes we are recognised.
The photographs of the presence of the shop signs representing first names in the streets draw our attention to visualise and imagine the potential of lives, lived by women. You will find yourself tracking down the suggestions of female presence in your surrounding.
Photographs by Cynthia Schwertsik
Exhibition Images courtesy of Adelaide Central Gallery. Photo by Sam Roberts