Friday, 11 March 2011

Piccadilly Circus through Swyngedouw's Perspective

"Imagine standing on the corner of Piccadilly Circus in London, and consider the socio-environmental metabolic relations that come together in this global-local place: smells, tastes, and bodies from all nooks and crannies of the world are floating by, consumed, displayed, narrated, visualized and transformed. The 'Rainforest' shop and restaurant play to the tune of eco-sensitive shopping and the multi-billion pound eco-industry while competing with McDonalds' burgers and Dunkin' Donuts, whose products --like burgers, coffee, orange juice, or cream cheese --are equally the result of processes that fuse together and interconnect social and biochemical relations from many places, near and far away. Consider how human bodies - of migrants, prostitutes, workers, capitalists - spices, clothes, foodstuffs, and materials from all over the world whirl by. The oil-, or gas-burning electricity generators. Cars, taxis, and buses move on fuels from oil-deposits (now again from Iraq) and pump CO2 into the air, affecting peoples, forests and climates in places around the globe. All these flows complete the global geographic mappings and traces that flow through the urban and 'produce' London (or any other city) as a palimpsest of densely layered bodily, local, national and global - but depressingly geographically uneven - metabolic socio-ecological processes. This intermingling of material and symbolic things produces the vortexes of modern life, combines to produce a particular socio-environmental milieu that welds nature, society, and the city together in a deeply heterogeneous, conflicting and often disturbing whole" -Erik Swyngedouw 1996