New Criticals

So what is the role of the tourist, or those in transit vis-a-vis Princess Hijab's tagging? I want to suggest that the viewer’s participation arises in the act of remembering when inhabiting the position of the commuter-as-viewer.

Memory, writes Jose Esteban Muñoz, “is most certainly constructed, and, more important, always political” [6].  For the hijabizing ads, memory and the site-specificity of seeing and recalling the ads is critical. The very circulation of identity-forming cultural souvenirs of place/identity, when carried from one place to another, enact the visual processes through which the global and local become inseparably one and the same. Princess Hijab’s work, loaded with cultural memory attached to the discourse of the veil as well as the urban underbelly of Paris, underscores the political realm of memory and its articulation through tourism and viewers rendered commuters by way of the culture of images.

Only the commuter-as-viewer retains knowledge of the images once they have been “corrected,” i.e. wiped away by the State. The side-by-side comparison only exists within the mind (or digital, unmoored space of the internet, where we, as readers and viewers, see the documentation and take on the position of commuters).