Tuesday, July 14, 2009

objects that objects: on interruptions...

excerpt from the column Eye-dentity.Interruptions Magazine, Amman and Damascus...

Interruptions: objects that object.

As I walk a cobbled road up from Boulevard Lopez Mateos to my grandomother´s house as a visitor in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico, I notice interruptions in every step: the moss in-between the stones that interrupt the predominant grey color of the concrete; my feet that interrupt the lines of the composition of the distribution; and the sound that I create by breaking the silence with the scraping of my shoes; all interruptions and all minute gestures of chaos in a relatively stable context. Up above, tiny nest-like plants interrupt telephone lines like notes on a pentagram, and the simple notion that I am currently looking for interruptions on the way, has already interrupted my state of mind. It seems pointless to try to avoid the presence of overlapping happenings that converge in a constant competition to claim attention, as unavoidable as the word itself in this paragraph: interruption.

The interruption responds to a non-linear state in time, as an asynchronous signal that exclusively operates in a chaotic tone. As subtle and soft as the gesture may be, the interruption shifts direction, suggests change, imposes, or surprises.

Interruptions can be relative.
Depending on cultural contexts, certain objects or presences are noticed more or not and can or not be perceived as an interruption. Let us talk about the dusty, colorful flag-filled, city of Cholula, a perfect example of a Mexican city in which its inhabitants have a “pueblito”, or little-town way of life with cyclists and churches on every corner. Cholula is guarded by multiple packs of friendly stray dogs that stroll the streets freely, respected and welcomed by its inhabitants. Naturally then, if one of these characters were to saunter its way into a local bar, none of the clients nor the owner would heed the newcomer.

Let us now transport this same situation to a Manhattan posh wine bar NYC style in which the dog would immediately be announced as an interruption. The reactions would probably include an upheaval of some sort accompanied by a few outraged clients and or humored glances. In the first situation the object (dog) provokes no intrusion hence there is no interruption, whilst during the second, a series of events with a ripple effect are created due to the object´s presence.

It sometimes feels as if it would come down to the object being appropriate or not in certain contexts in order for the interruption to exist. A soap bubble in a public space created by smiling children eager-to-see it-pop, creates no controversy and no heated conversations; while if such an object would be made, blowed upon, and followed by giggles in a religious center, it would represent an intruding object that interrupts a solemn environment.
What would be said about that same soap bubble on a bus? Although the object interrupts a space of transport that would find the presence of the bubble as unexpected, the presence of the object and the interruption does not represent a disrespectful intrusion, and therefore can be perceived as quizzical yet whimsical. Such objects in such contexts can be tools to provoke social union, even for a few seconds when strangers share a common brief interruption in their path. Out of boredom, a collective sense of stress or sheer loneliness, such an encounter can prove to be quite moving. We can be grateful to these objects that object to monotonous transactions and indifferent commuters that bring people together creating a common denominator of satisfaction fueled by a short smiling or gasping session among the witnesses that brings great relief. Yes. Relief is the post-modern need. Is it not that what we seek when we are in the presence of a much wanted interruption? On that note, it should be said that more people should blow bubbles on buses.

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