Saturday, March 13, 2010

boredom containers

The inhuman in human beings: that is what the face is from the start. It is by nature a close-up,
with its inanimate white surfaces, its shining black holes, its emptiness and boredom. Bunker face.

Deleuze Guattari 1986

Just as the face is a deterritorialized head, so the feet and the hands deterritorialize into
cyborganic admixtures: couplings of hand/tool and foot/ shoe. Of these, the foot/shoe is
the most basic foundation, the ground upon which the rest of the socialbody rests. By
standing on two feet, the hands are freed to become tool making and using appendages,
and the mouth is thereby freed from carrying to bear words instead. In structural terms,
the foot/shoe functions as base to the face’s superstructure.


As Sloterdijk puts it, once it becomes able to see the approach
of a predator or other dangers from far away, the savannah-ape is introduced
simultaneously to boredom. Removed from the constant vigilance of the jungle, and
overwhelmed by boredom and joblessness, the savannah-ape sets its hands and tools to
work and builds.

What is built out there on the savannah? In short, ‘boredom containers’. The primary
function of architecture, Sloterdijk tells us, is to contain boredom. So the savannah-ape
builds in order to fend off boredom and joblessness, and slowly but surely the open
savannah is reduced to a closed monastic cell. Isolated within four walls, and trapped
within the strict hierarchy of the Church, the process of destruction and new building
must start again.

Nick Butler, Chris Land, Martyna Śliwa, Throwing Shoes, editorial in the current issue of ephemera: theory & politics in organization. The whole essay in PDF here.

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