One of the fundamental concerns of Wall’s images, in his own words, is “to study the process of settlement and thus be able to see for myself what this image (or photograph) that we call a ‘landscape’ really consists of. This also allows me to identify the other types of image that the landscape is inevitably related to, or the other genres that it may contain”.
In this image, we are faced with a twofold intrigue: the place and the people in it. There is also a crossover between two spaces: a built up space and an eluded space.
A short description of the lower part of the image (the asphalt street, the dry thicket surrounding it, the elements abandoned on an endless pavement) reminds us of what the French anthropologist Marc Augé has called a “non-place”. These places do not allow for the interrelation of individuals; they are born and die by chance, and intertwine, as in this case, with other spaces. That other space, briefly located like a horizon between earth and sky, is the place. The two, armed individuals are crossing the non-place and heading for the place, possibly prepared to attack, perhaps on the run, but at all events with a threatening attitude. In any case, we feel a certain unease in their steps that makes us suspect that their lives are not fully integrated into the rhetoric of the place. Thus, the boundary or border between the non-place and the place is barely discernible. The complex of symmetrical, repetitive, peripheral houses could equally be a non-place since it is never located in the centre of anything.
According to Wall, the scene was inspired by Carlos Saura’s 1965 film La caza [The Hunt]. Saura’s concern in those years was to show the contradictions of a self-destructive Spanish bourgeoisie that supported Franco. In La caza, the characters are confined to a hunting ground from which there is no escape and that shows a sickening, masochistic, dissatisfied society. Obviously La caza (the original title was La caza del conejo or “The Rabbit Hunt”, which was banned because of its sexual connotations [“rabbit” in Spanish is equivalent to “pussy”]) uses the metaphor of hunting animals as a substitute for man's violence against man. In this piece, Wall not only examines the narrative of film, but also the “hunting” motifs of traditional painting, using photography to “traverse” these other disciplines and once again draw our attention to subjects that are still close to us today, such as violence, rootlessness and marginality.