Losing the Battle to a Building

Don’t hate me for this, but three weeks ago I did a sound bath in a mega barn in the Catskills. It really freaked me out actually. Sound, it can do that to people, you know? But I think, I think maybe you can forgive me that because you’d probably admit that music is magical. Sound has some affect on us that we try to explain, but we are also ok with resigning ourselves to its mysteries.  Brennan in The Transmission of Affect talks about our own ability to accept transmission only once we’ve experienced, but what if we all admit that we’d experienced it through sound? Can we let go of our Western academic “rationality” for a second and try to see without only our eyes?

Transmission, now that fascinates me. That feeling of depression in the Bobst library, when only a moment before I had walked in the door pumped and ready to do work. Suddenly though, I’m feeling bad for myself. It’s the transmission of the people, kind of like Hade’s River of Souls, their thoughts of failure, anxiety, and exhaustion whispering to my subconscious.


And then simply the affect of the SPACE. The set up of the space, the big booming entry way, looking up and seeing all of the wild studiers locked up behind their cages. It’s the geometry, the acoustics, intertwined with peoples’ emotions, that create an affect that has control of me, and I have no power over it once I’m in that space. Even over vacation, when people are gone, the space hums with the energy of the cages and acoustic marble, and the leftover hum of the brain machines from the week before. I’m weak next to the vibrancy of Bobst. Bennet in Vibrant Matter speaks of the power of the object, a power that I have no right to give. Bobst has gone into battle with me, without my consent. I might say that’s unfair, but I’m being a sore loser. To all of you who have resigned themselves to studying in coffee shops, I also lost the battle to a building.

It’s this lost battle, and the attempt to see the vitality of THINGS and people, that got me thinking while walking around my neighborhood. Have you ever walked through lower manhattan and noticed what the city calls “parks?” Big slabs of concrete with basketball hoops at each corner. Hardly an inch of greenery here. An ecology worth exploring. The frenetic energy of lower Manhattan as compared to the lively energy higher uptown. The energy of space piled top of each other, where the government doesn’t value the people’s green space, and the space stays hard and cold for people to speed walk over. Things have the power to create their own energy and affect, but we can manipulate as well. It’s a constant back and forth, a dialogue with our environment. If I take a blade of grass from Central Park, and place it below Houston, maybe you’ll feel it.

-Arielle Ross


~ by arielleross on September 19, 2016.

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