Performing marginal space: film, topology and the Petite Ceinture in Paris
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Strohmayer, U and Core, J. (2012) 'Performing marginal space: Film, topology and the Petite Ceinture in Paris'. Liminalities, .
Urban scholars have long accepted that analysing and understanding urban realities involves many routes: from the repertoire associated with social scientific urban studies to the more essayistic, figurative approaches allied with the work of Walter Benjamin, knowledge about cities, their environments and people has benefitted from an immersion into a rather eclectic set of epistemic practices and cultures. The present paper aims to add to these by making use of performance-related materials to analyse a disused and marginal urban space in the city of Paris, France. It argues for the recognition and publication of key nuances, performances and practices which add greatly to our understanding of such spaces. In particular, the paper employs documented performances to analyse concrete spatial configurations and vice-versa; even more specifically, we will focus on the Chemin de fer de petite ceinture, a presently disused ring railway line encircling Paris inside the 20 arrondissements that have become, since 1860, the geographical frame for the administration of the French capital. Or rather, we focus on the space vacated by former railway-related uses in an attempt to understand better the relationship between marginal and central spaces, between spaces that function and spaces that do not or no longer have an identifiable purpose within the transformative economy of the modern city.