Restaging Place: Performativity and the camera. Parliament Square recast through social media photography

My PhD researched virtual and actual public space. The research was anchored in Parliament Square. I examined other people’s Instagram posts in order to explore the democratic potential of both spaces. I chose four photographs which suggested areas of research but also delved into the history, processes and theory of photography. The areas that emerged were the everyday, tourism, protest and state occasion.

My practice opened up ways of thinking about public urban space, representation, monumentality and nationhood. Through a combination of photography, sculpture and performance, the Instagram images were slowed and interpreted. An everyday snapshot of rainy tarmac in the Square prompted an initial investigation of semiotics in relation to photography but also place. Following on from this a photograph of two tourists in the Square allowed for an exploration of photographic staging as a form of ownership or belonging. The deconstruction of a photograph of a peaceful protest opposite parliament fed back into a discussion of the materiality of place and how that effects how they are read. Finally the achronology of photographic space paradoxically led to a historical investigation of the Square.

Access to pdf of PhD here.

Most of the works made as part of this research was fed back onto my Instagram account psquare11 on the hashtag #parliamentsquarerestaged



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