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17/8/2017 / Issue #013 / Text: Wim Cuyvers

Found Words #02

- Public space is the opposite of privatized space.
- The one who privatizes space has obtained that space, bought it or inherited it, seized it or simply occupied it. She/he is protected by laws, habits and power.
- The one who privatizes space controls it.
- The powerless need the public space.
- Public space is not-controlled space.
- Public space is the space of powerlessness.
- Public space is economically meaningless.
- Public space is the space of need.
- Public space is the space of transgression.
- The perfect public space would be a space where anybody could do anything at any time.
- Public space is thus a platonic idea since a 100% public space is unthinkable.
- Public space is indicated by dirt. 
- Streets are not public spaces; they separate different traffic movements, they avoid the conflict between them, you need a car to be allowed on one part of the street, or a bike for another part.
- Squares are not public spaces, the bar or shop owners appropriate the space for their terraces or for displaying their goods and clean up the assembled dirt carefully.
- Public spaces are characterized by waste: in a society that is unambiguously driven by profit, places where waste lingers are ignored places. 
- Public space is the space of loss, not the space of profit; public space is the space of wasting energy, not of carefully saving it. 
- Public space lies close to privatized frequented space per definition; the woods are not public spaces.
- The moment of violating the rules of society is the moment of confrontation with oneself and with the world.
- The real violation takes place out of the controlled private space: kids playing with fire, the first sexual encounters, drugs…
- Public space is the space of breaking the societal rules. 
- Public space is the space of not-having.
- Public space is the space of being, public space is the existential space. 
- Public space is the space of need (the urge to violate the social standards).
- Public space is the space where those in need go, where those in need meet. 
- Leisure kills public space.
- Those in need leave their traces in the public space (waste by waste) like bodily fluids: tears, blood, sperm, urine. nobody cleans it up, the space is owned by nobody.
- People of different ages, races or cultures, people with completely different needs visit the same public spaces. their needs are different but they read the space in the same way: the child, the old man, the drug abused and those looking for (homo) sexual contacts, those who give in to their need, read this space in the same way.
- Those who accept their need will see, read, recognize and understand public spaces.
- We all need spaces to violate rules, to trespass the standards of our society. We are all in need and vulnerable. 
- When a writer writes a book, the reader will read another book and another reader will yet read something else, but we all read space unambiguously, without noise or disturbance from the moment we accept our need and forget about power, knowledge, insights and contemplation.
- Through the public space a non-verbal or pre-verbal talking is possible.
- When I am able to read the public spaces in the same way as many others, I am able to talk with the others about myself, about the others, about our needs, our fears and about the world, through (public) space.
- I can touch you, for a moment through (public) space. 
- You might think that common space is a better word for public space, but that is not true. 

Wim Cuyvers, Definition of Public Space, first published in De Witte Raaf, July-August 2007.
Reprinted with kind permission from the author.