A Challenge Worth A Thousand Bolts

I approach a small beige building with the letters PSE&G on the front of it. To the right of it I see large metal gates with signs hanging that say “DANGER,” “HIGH VOLTAGE,” and “AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.” I take a step back and look up to see what looks like a deathly tall jungle gym made of all sorts of metals and wires. I decide to look at it from across the street.

Before I approached the building I didn’t think I’d have such a strong reaction to just observing it. In the Transmission of Affect, Teresa Brennan explores the ways in which affect translates physically. She says, “We will find that sight is the preferred mechanism in explaining any form of transmission…” Sight allows us to understand objects at face value. If my sight was taken away the moment I was in front of the PSE&G building, I would have been able to smell wood, dirt, and metal. I could make assumptions of where the smells were coming from, but it wouldn’t make my body tense up the way it did when I looked straight at the danger sign and the metal contractions that were behind it. It’s not that I necessarily felt scared, but I felt a sense of not belonging. Not in the way that a person doesn’t belong in a social gathering, but in the way that a person wouldn’t belong pulling at a loose electrical wire.

After deciding to look at the electrical site from across the street, I walked through the grass towards the gym and the juice shop down the street. I noticed a couple of trees a long the way. Those trees made my tense body relax. It was as if they reminded me that there were still natural living organisms that could offer a puff of fresh air in a heavily populated city. In Media Ecologies, Matthew Fuller explains some of the complexities that come with animate and inanimate objects. He says, “All objects have poetics; they make the world and take part in it, and at the same time, synthesize, block, or make possible other worlds” (Media Ecologies. Matthew Fuller.). Fuller allowed me to realize the two worlds that existed in front of me. The metals and wires I was looking at brought an environment of technological advancement that seemed to be scraping the earth of its original beauty. The trees around me put me in an environment of familiarity in nature, which brought with it a sense of freshness and detoxification. Thinking about these two different environments intertwine makes me want to close my laptop and challenge my senses at that same site again.


Matthew Fuller. Media Ecologies. MIT Press.

Teresa Brennan. Transmission of Affect. Cornell University Press.


~ by rachelmmolina on February 14, 2018.

One Response to “A Challenge Worth A Thousand Bolts”

  1. I get a sense of the tension between the two environment, one of freshness and one of metal and wires. I like how you approach the environment of wire and metal. It immediately delivers the affect to me. However, it would be better if you spend more time on depicting the environment of freshness.

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