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digital, pictorial representation of the actual city
are framed by the structure of the collage itself,
by the shape of the network emerging from the
links between the pictures.
Assuring that the chosen topic was antici-
pated while the serial photography took place,
the range of choices - which elements between
different pictures could be chosen for the collage
later to fi t the topic - is narrowed down while
being at the specifi c place taking pictures. This
instant selection at the 'place of action' is a
methodical trick to keep infl uences (e.g. of atmo-
spheres, confl icting or overlapping spaces) to this
process place- and time-specifi c, meaning that
the linking later on reproduces the selection pro-
cesses that took place in the city's realm, adding
no further complexity to the production of space.
Another main aspect of this preparation
before the fi eld trip is an alienation, a break with
everyday life, routines and institutionalized
behaviour. In a specifi c sense the participants
acted as tourists: Regarding John Urry's (1990)
defi nition, they fulfi l the requirements of a
'notion of 'departure', of a limited breaking with
established routines and practices of every day
life and allowing one's senses to engage with a
set of stimuli that contrast with the everyday
and the mundane' (Urry, 1990, p. 2).
With regard to relational space, the pro-
duction of and reception of space by the par-
ticipants collecting visual data in urban space
took a shift from institutionalized, practical
space to a more refl ective one.
Even deviant behaviour compared to the
'normal' and accepted ways visitors and locals
take photos of urban space was shown: not
every 20-50 steps, picturing assumed nothing-
ness. The participants indeed reported about
incidents where they were asked whom or what
they were taking pictures of. This approach uti-
lizes the break in accepted and 'normal' ways to
take photos as a methodical advantage to dis-
tract the participants from their routines and in
some regard let them become a tourist in their
own city - discovering new details even in paths
walked in a daily routine, or at the workplace,
known for a decade or more. Several fi ndings
support this thesis, starting with evidence found
in the study itself and analysis of a detachment
of inhabitants from their town by taking photos
like tourists, as Stefania Antonioni, Laura Gem-
ini and Lella Mazzoli have provided (this
In order to be able to compare the levels of
analysis between the reconstruction of the actor's
image of the city based on the visual data (pho-
tos, collage) - this is the semantic gaze recon-
structed from third point of view - and the actor's
own description of that visual representation
and its intended effects (the self-description of
that semantic gaze), a photoelicitation interview
was conducted after the photos were taken. Tri-
angulating the pictures taken by the students
with the collage created later on and the inter-
view itself is now possible. The semantic struc-
ture of the photo-linked network representing
the participant's semantic gaze is now available
for analysis.
Examples from the Empirical
Basis of the Study
In the following two portraits of Darmstadt from
an empirical basis of 15 are discussed 3 , present-
ing provisional fi ndings. Both have in common
that at fi rst Darmstadt was attributed with nega-
tive imaginations, like 'ugly city' or the buildings
described as 'architectonic sins', but as time went
by, this attitude changed and interest in the city's
history rose, leading to a deeper understanding
of what caused the disapproval of the city's visual
impression in the fi rst place. Social networks are
another mechanism of that change of attitude,
mediating the identifi cation with this place by
arrangements of people becoming more and
more important for the participant.
In order to shorten the time for presenting
the collages, an overview of them will be shown
instead, generated by extracting the linkage
information from the interactive collage itself.
The way the photos are presented now is static
and from a bird's-eye view, giving signifi cant
insight to the structural conceptualization of
the city's representation and semantic gaze from
the actor's point of view. The networked over-
view generated from the linkage-structure is
energy-minimized by an iterative algorithm
3 Seven female students, eight male.
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