NIGHT BUS STOP
According to Marc Auge (2006), the present "supermodern" age is symbolised by the seemingly mundane spaces people occupy so frequently but always temporarily - waiting rooms, train platforms, airports, supermarkets - "non-places". What does it mean to be in a non-place?
This sensory media project is an exploration of inner dialogue within the sensory environment of a Manchester bus stop at night. It seeks to challenge the notion that non-places constructed to accommodate the apparently uneventful activity of waiting are defined by slowness, emptiness and ordeals of solitude. Below is a selection of "thoughtstream recordings" conducted in the spring of 2017, of students waiting to take the bus at night from the Manchester University campus towards Withington and Fallowfield. The gallery above presents a series of video clips that contextualise the recordings by projecting the sights and sounds that make up the audiovisual environment of the bus stop as commuters wait for transport.
Between the hours of 22:00 and 00:00 at night, buses become increasingly less frequent, and occasional bouts of conversation are alternated with silent periods of waiting punctuated only by the noise of vehicle tyres and footsteps. The MagicBuses 142 and 143 being cheaper than the rest are convenient for students, who form the overwhelming majority of humans temporarily inhabiting this “non-place”. At a day's end, under the surface of solitary and single-minded urgency, thoughts shifting with astonishing speed, unexpected bits of reflection and a flurry of emotions animate this space, creating an active engagement with a "complex inner lifeworld" (Irving, 2016).