I’d like to think that space is that of possibility, of radical imagination; there can be no other kind of space. Wandering is thus a mode of occupation, and occupation a mode of wandering, as to wander, to occupy, is already to render space strange. Both actions embody a refusal to concede to the predetermined mapping of space, but insist, rather, on mapping, that is, on creating space for one’s purposes only as one proceeds. Occupy Wall Street is, therefore, “less of a movement and more of a space. It is a space in which people who feel a similar frustration with the world as it is and as it has been, are coming together and thinking about ways to recreate this world.”[i]
To make space is indeed to estrange; yet to make space for someone or something is also to integrate, in effect to embrace. What, then, in keeping with this double bind, does it mean for the occupation to endeavor to create a safe space for its occupiers? A truly safe space must be marked out by shelter, against that sense of danger with which entering into public is fraught, that is, the imperilment of the inhabitability of our identifications. And, besides, against the fragility of human life that corresponds to the unpredictability of the effects of our actions upon each other. In other words, a truly safe space seems to go against what I understand to in fact be occupation, that is, not inhabitation. Perhaps it is that we can discriminate, here, between the desire to imagine such a safe space and the desire to realize it, just as we can discriminate between the utopian impulse and the utopian ideal . . . one must still and always be able to expose oneself to injury; this is a right.
The street exemplifies this double bind of estrangement and integration, the self-conflicted law of all organic life, which is that we must live by the intimacy that wounds us, that uses us up.