chapter  5
Tragedy and Assimilation: Occupying the Patterned Surface
ByKirsty Volz
Pages 16

In Stories of Mr Keuner, Bertolt Brecht told of a man who was indifferent to the politics of state identity. Mr Keuner dismissed the idea of belonging to one place, and even though he lived in a city occupied by an enemy army, he put no pride in the rights of citizenship. One day, walking along the street, he found himself faced by one of the foreign soldiers, and following social expectations, he stepped from the footpath into the gutter, allowing the soldier to pass. In doing so, Mr K was momentarily remade with nationalistic fervour and genocidal fantasy, wishing to wipe this soldier's country from the face of the earth. The story of Mr K implies there can also be powerful divisions of social space operating without visual distinction, and that the ground plane presents another opportunity to view how people relate to each other through their physical environment.