A Discourse On Social Spaces
Shopping malls are not just physical structures, at least that’s what I as a photographer would like to believe.
Artistically speaking, in the case of Dubai Mall & Mall of the Emirates both exude the feeling of social spaces; I haven’t paid much attention to my art class that much, but we did study about how spaces are able to define statuses and relationships. When an individual is enclosed to a space, he measures his social standing relative to the space he is in. The bigger the space, the higher the affluence. The smaller it gets, the lower the social power.
And there pops the question by K. Walters, “So everyone feels bigger and better in these malls?”
On the contrary, spaces are not just structures, spaces are also influenced by the people around (i.e. human body), so the more people in a bigger space, the smaller the individual feels.
K. Walters adds that the positive effects of feeling nicer in a space like these malls was a (mere) marketing ploy to encourage people to spend. But if we feel smaller and less important why do we go there… or maybe it’s not that.. Are they trying to imitate the expanse of nature and the awe we may feel when in a space like that?
I might be wrong, but the more a person is belittled by his social space, the more inclined he is (i.e. pressured) to assert his position so he/she would want to spend more, to re-affirm what or who he/she is.
One wonders whether the negative impulse here would be as strong as the positive (implied in the thinking earlier), but it’s an interesting point – how do you get people to malls, and then encourage them to part with their $$ esp in the days as we have now of a mall on each corner (or thereabouts!)
But it was the space thing that interested me more, i have to say!
The windows, the escalators & elevators, positions of the shops relative to the entrances and exits, toilets… (don’t even get me started with the interiors as that’s a whole different topic) were all strategically located to make a mall goer feel a certain way… all these stimulus of course would cause various reaction depending on an individual’s social status.