Performance for the Neuhaus/NoP – Thinking With Tongues walk
“‘When you say you’ve got the Cloak, and clothes…’ said Harry, frowning at Hermione, who was carrying nothing except her small beaded handbag, in which she was now rummaging. ‘Yes, they’re here,’ said Hermione, and to Harry and Ron’s utter astonishment, she pulled out a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt, some maroon socks, and finally the silvery Invisibility Cloak… She gave the fragile-looking bag a little shake and it echoed like a cargo hold as a number of heavy objects rolled around inside it.”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
In this short reflection, introducing one of the Thinking With Tongues activation tools: the net-bag, we look at subject-object relationships, net-bag networks, through poetic disseminations of the concepts of packing, zipping, collecting, and folding. We also will take some time to look at their counterparts, freeing up conceptions of barriers, containments, pondering on arrangements, and contexts of the object-subject. We could also say that we will look at lines, limits and ways to understand and free ourselves from these barriers.
To put something inside something else, a bag, to reach a status of holding something, carefully placing or pushing outside into the inside, is to impose a limit of some sort and introducing a special environment. These limits can be soft, blurry, cushioned, or hard, leathery, sticky, breathing. A bag can be seen as a constellation of its containments, a space larger than the sum of its parts. A bag can be a democracy, a multiplicity, or a resistance in the shadows, an unknown statement inside. Or it can be a container, especially visible if it’s a net. Visibility as equality, visibility as judgement, visibility as sanitization.
A bag is an invention, humagineered after bags, pockets, sacks seen in nature, as humans sought ways to free themselves from carrying in their hands, cupping, cradling, towards using both their hands to sow, pick, shake. In a similar way, walking on two legs has afforded us to start carrying in our hands instead of our mouths. To disconnect from instantly licking what we pick up, thinking with tongues, and start talking: thinking with our tongues.
The leap from using our mouth to carry to the bag fulfilling this purpose can be aligned with the leaps of design, evolution, that contribute to our individuation. Our designed vessels, different from the hairs on bees used to transport pollen, are conceived as stable, impermeable. No wetness allowed, airtight and firesafe. Bags are engineered machines, ranging in complexity, technocratic tools. Bags can zip objects inside. Zipping files, carrying information, bits of the known world, making efficient. Bags fold something bigger inside a container of materiality. A bag is a building, experienced wholeness., composition, arrangement. An ongoing conversation between the outside-inside, inside-outside. Picking up the object, letting go the subject. Collecting the subject, dropping the object. And we give the fragile-looking bag a little shake…