Martin Gantman, a prominent local artist who also serves on the city’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, is known for his ability to see and interpret something that might not be easily discernable to the rest of us, and to present it in a way that is illuminating.
What follows is a presentation of photographs by Gantman that gives another perspective on homelessness in West Hollywood. WEHOville is not permitting comments on this work. It is here for you to study and to contemplate its meaning.
What is home? A place of respite, of work, of intimate community? A place where one typically may separate from the public realm? # We historically consider home as being in the “private sphere.” But what about when home, in fact, is the public space? How then do we interpret or consider respite, intimacy, solitude, and privacy? # Especially privacy. If we live in the public realm, how do we attain privacy – a moment when we can dwell with ourselves? A place that closes out the demands of the day – that excludes others and allows us to reconstitute our posture and deportment within the community? # Have those who have chosen, or become subject to, dwelling within the public way had to forsake those previously stated pleasures – the satisfaction, and contentment, and amusement that we who have the seemingly, as time goes by, more and more valuable benefit of a private, enclosed space perhaps taken for granted? # It is obvious that the definition of the place of home has greatly expanded in the last decades. Once, long ago, we presumed that we could easily obtain a living space near our employment; then we accepted driving hours a day to be able to afford enclosed shelter – now we sometimes consider leaving our familiar space for somewhere else that is more affordable. # But also, now, to some, having forsaken employment or being unable to accomplish that, location matters less. The public place is ubiquitous. It is readily available. # I, thankfully, not having had to choose this public mode of dwelling, can only assume that one’s privacy, when living in the public setting, can be attained only by closing one’s eyes, ignoring the churning mayhem that continuously abides around us, and inhabiting one’s interior spaces. # Personal property also becomes of less importance. One consumes only what one can transport – by hand or cart or another kind of simple vehicle. # And time becomes irrelevant. Day and night interlace. There is no defined awake or sleep time. The sun and the moon and stars, the universe of which many of us are in awe; perhaps only signify what one functionally considers when one’s eyes happen to open. # So the public space is not simply a physical realm in this regard, it also becomes related to how one structures their time. One, if one even cares about time, decides how to proceed when it is light and when it is dark. # One’s waking time is unconstrained and undisciplined. Wakefulness is merely the inverse of sleep – and survival is of the moment. It has merely to do with meal and rest. They both occur within the same space. Both interaction and privacy are merely inadvertent.