Cecilia Dougherty

Above, The mighty Bayonne Bridge on Staten Island’s western shore links Staten Island, New York to Bayonne, New Jersey. It spans the turbulent Kill Van Kull, letting large tankers into New York Bay from the Atlantic Ocean.

The Bayonne Bridge (Route 440 from NJ) had been undergoing renovation for the past few years, a major project to make the arch higher so that larger ships can pass under it. This is a great arch bridge over one of the busiest shipping straits in the area. I took this photograph from the College of Staten Island Ferry Shuttle, which passes by the bridge on it’s way to the college from St. George Ferry Terminal. The bridge seems to present a highway to the sky.

The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change

by Cecilia Dougherty
published 2013, Atropos Press, New York & Dresden

On amazon.com in paperback or Kindle version or order it from your independent bookstore

The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change

The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change by Cecilia Dougherty
The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change by Cecilia Dougherty, Atropos Press, 2013


Interstitial space has a vital role in the social realm. It is often unregulated and noncommercial, disconnected from the surveillance of authority and the constraints of scheduling. The term refers to time, occasion, and activity more than to a type of physical space, and it refers to escape as well as discovery. This is a place where time is one’s own. The interstitial spaces of childhood and youth are different from those of adulthood. The term refers to activities such as art making, poetry, lovemaking, daydreaming, and partying – essential activities for the expression of a mutable and continuously forming subjectivity. Interstitial spaces may be tiny zones of autonomy, or the entire milieu of creativity. They may be moments of chaos or moments of creativity.

Political and social space is allowed to interact and exchange information freely within subjective space, and to sometimes be identical. Uncertainty is a function of the organization of physical space.

The human actor may choose to enter an arena of heightened political activity, arenas of violence, transgression of custom or religious law, for example, participating in a charged event or changing the dynamic of the political space by using it and existing in it differently from the prewritten narrative. This causes change in more than the individual actor, throwing the intimate into the political, and bringing new consciousness into play. In such situations, transgressions become moments, or even patterns, of resistance.

The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change  takes a new look at subjectivity using an eclectic mix of disciplines to create a map of individual space within the continually changing social space.

The Irreducible I taps into the writings of Situationists Georges Perec and Raoul Vaneigem, and social theorist Bruno Latour, testing them against the observations of geographer/anthropologist Yi-Fu Tuan, journalist Naomi Klein, and social historian W. E. B. Du Bois.

Subjectivity is an ongoing process of connecting humans and non-humans, technologies, and objects, architecture and action as key relational elements in the formation of an authentic space of daily life. Works by Félix Guattari, Kathy Acker, Avital Ronell, Bruno Latour, Gloria Anzaldúa, Henri Levefre, and Michel de Certeau and others are brought together in locating pathways of resistance to the narrowing of our experience of the everyday by state and corporate agendas for control.The relational “I” emerges as a key for human agency, for presenting an ever-becoming self to an ever-forming interconnected global landscape of probability.

Read and download the introduction to this book Irreducible_I_introduction

If you would like to read The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change it is available in paperback and Kindle versions at amazon.com

Reviews of The Irreducible I

From poet Brett Price:

Sure, the self is a construct. Ever-changing and unfixed, it’s contingent upon so many factors that accounting for it in its entirety becomes entirely impossible. Rather than taking this as a lamentable end-point, THE IRREDUCIBLE I treats this fact as virtue, as the very foundation for authentic experience of one’s self and one’s world–self and world being one thing after all, on a spectrum that shifts relentlessly between figure and ground, bond and boundary. This shifting requires us to be on our toes. It calls for an agility of attention and flexibility of intention that Dougherty points to through numerous examples of individual and communal acts of authenticity, ranging from Situationist strategies of détournement to Shamanic ritual, leaderless protest to le parcours, art-making to love-making, and more. Nothing’s off limits. And the writing itself demonstrates its many concerns, resisting closure without sacrificing clarity, simply by setting ideas next to one another, allowing them to form bonds or communities of thought that may disperse or reconvene at any point for reasons particular to given circumstances. It’s resistant without being reactionary. It’s”acceptance with a vengeance,” as Dougherty writes. It’s at once aTemporary Autonomous Zone and manual for the practice of everyday life. It’s a blast. Read it.

From artist Elise Gardella

The Irreducible “I”: Space, Place, Authenticity and Change by the artist Cecilia Dougherty is an observant text with a fluid curiosity. To read it is to have an almost visual experience as Dougherty builds a landscape encompassing philosophies, historical events, and everyday acts. This landscape isn’t fixed, it invites intrusion and over it,after awhile, I noticed I had collaged my own mapping–bringing my Irreducible I–in a connected experience with the representations that Dougherty had offered. A good read–not to be missed.

Thank you Brett and Elise!