A late answer

July 3, 2018. Lübeck, Germany

Although perhaps you will not read these words and maybe you do not even remember the short conversation we had in Times Square a few years ago, I want to correctly answer the question you asked me that night. Perhaps you may think my response is delayed and unnecessary but I have a reason for making it now and not before. To cut a long story short, it took me more than three years to construct a response I was satisfied with and that would encompass all the reasons why I was there that night there. This whole monograph, this labyrinth, is my answer.

The night we met, I was in Times Square looking for Times Square. The days and nights before and after our encounter, I was also there doing the same thing: collecting and storing Times Square versions to create my own ones. That is why I did not talk so much to you that day. That is why I was more interested in asking you things than in speaking my mind and that is also why, unlike you, I never had the sensation of being in a movie. Instead I saw myself as an accumulator of situations, of small pieces of reality that later turned into slides, into the vignettes that I am presenting to you here.

As you will realize, once you are deep in these words, this labyrinth is trying to emulate the way reality was presented to us, to everyone that was there in Times Square. It was a simultaneous but compartmentalized reality that, at the same time, was producing unique moments that were repeated again and again. I do not know if you had the chance to see that, I do not know if the lights and the shows that surrounded us allowed you to focus on anything else and I do not even know if the Times Squares I am proposing here today match the version of that place you also have.

But that is not relevant here. My intention with this work is not to try to homogenize an urban location through the imposition of a set of versions of that place, to the contrary. When you saw me there I was conspiring in Times Square to liberate Times Square from Times Square. Do not get me wrong, this is neither a lapalissade or a sad attempt to confuse you with an epanalepsis. Although I am using the same label (Times Square) three times, I am referring to three different elements. I will re-write that sentence again, this time I will make it longer to reveal what is inside each tag:

I was conspiring in a specific geographical space, in a perceived one, to liberate many multiple and heterogeneous lived spaces —experiential and objective ones that are reunited in this document— from the conceived representations of that space imposed by totalitarian and hegemonic solidified theoretical perspectives.

I know, I know, it still looks tautological and a bit confusing and it is my fault, I admit that. Also, let me tell you that I constructed it this way intentionally. Believe me, after you finish reading this answer, after you find an exit from this labyrinth, my words will be easily understood. The point here is that my answer is not this work per se but the path, the route you might take for reaching the end of it. In that way, my answer to you also depends on you. I will need your help in constructing that response.

As a final thought, despite the fact that I did not undertake this work either because of you or because I was looking for a way of answering you, I have not forgotten your genuine interest in Times Square. Perhaps it is the same kind of interest I have in that place. That is the main reason why I am writing this right now, hoping, expecting, that one day you will also have the possibility of watching the lights still on at the end of this labyrinth, of this version —my version— of the Times Square you saw.