Sunday, 12 December 2010

Bite 11: Xavier Comas - Tokyo: Up, Down, 2010

Waiting with strangers. They will share a short but intimate journey, in a liminal space, where close proximity does not equate to familiarity.

Xavier Comas tenderly captures the paradoxes and lonliness of city life in his series Tokyo: Up, Down, photographed in and around elevators in the twin districts of Nishi-Shinjuku and Kabukicho - one the main business district and the other the red light district. A cross-section of many classes and sub-cultures collide in the elevators of skyscrapers - each journey a banal moment of silence, suspended above the vast city.

For many images Comas turns the camera on the people forced to share their vertical travel with a photographer, who records the subtle interactions in their cabin. In this image, however, (#2 in the series) he stands back, quietly observing their waiting as the dark, alive city sits beneath and beside them. 

The elevator is a non-space. Each subject here is really absent. They are all on their way somewhere; starting or finishing short or long journeys. They are thinking of something, someone, else.

Reflected in the glass their waiting becomes a metaphor for a very human, and I think democratic, consciousness - that of always looking for something else, hoping for something more, heading somewhere other than here, even if we don't know which floor.