Alleyways occupy a unique position in the urban landscape. They are neither entirely public or entirely private and while their path and location is deliberate and planned, the space itself often evolves organically. Their use and meaning change in relation to who moves through them and how they are used. While they are places in a physical sense they are conceptually non-places, without names and left off of maps. They are the negative space of cities, used to discard or store what can’t be left in front and unlike the buildings and public spaces that surround them, alleys (and much of the architecture that encloses them) are not designed to be seen. Largely accidental or unconsidered (literally the backs of walls, fences and buildings that the owners rarely see), the aesthetic quality of alleys is the result of overlapping, individual interests, indifference, and happenstance.  

      Because of this position they become a parallel zone, a physical subconscious, where the subtle, banal details of life can become more readily apparent. The piling up of things, the marks, and the patchwork, ad hoc constructions can be seen as the signs and symbols of what is taking place in the surrounding streets and buildings. They are the background and details, the exposition, of lives that have unfolded, or are unfolding.  With these images I’m interested in what is revealed in and by these empty spaces and inanimate objects, and how through use they become charged with something that is ultimately human.

© 2019 Justin Fiset