Vision matters and materiality matters

The lawscape pervades and mutates surfaces, it conditions their materiality and regulates their appearance. Surfaces are regulated both spatially and visually, responding evenly to concerns about territorial privacy and about the orderly image of the city. Whether a surface can be reached and where it can be seen from are both of interest to the law, which reconfigures the importance of property not just as object of material integrity, but also as one of visual exposure.

The law makes provision for private property in private land to be targeted as a relevant surface for unwanted inscriptions, provided the surface is visible from a publicly accessible space. Private property in private land becomes of public interest through the power of vision, which redraws jurisdictions through visibility and reorders the lawscape by lines of sight. Vision offers access behind the locked gate and the hoarded land, turning private property into public realm and placing it under the incidence of concerns with public display. The law not only claims control of surfaces at the boundary between privacy and publicness, but also of surfaces at the boundary between visible and obscured, of interiors and contained spaces, simply through the power of vision. Vision makes private spaces public, and the law is there to regulate the displays and inscriptions therein.

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