tags: fingers published on:
The tendency to identity the public as a group that have distinct boundaries is a fault. The public is a crowd and anyone can be included in the idea of a crowd. Strangers and known people cannot be distinguished. The participation of strangers cannot be qualified. What can be qualified is the set of social connections through which a particular group is formed. If, like a club, there is a membership mechanism that has no selection mechanism except the ability to pay then it is difficult to call the group public. The idea of the public is an unregulated flow of sociality that doesn't have a unified personal narrative as its genesis. What is public is after all only possible to define as the negative space of the private. So thinking of the public involves thinking of the private. What is the private? What is truly ours? What can we play a claim over? Is not everything borrowed or loaned? And if we cannot lay a claim on anything then what is the point of talking about about any public? Because there is no public in exclusion of a private, and any idea of a boundary is difficult to find, the moment you start searching for a boundary, everything collapses.
With the grey space of the organisation of the world, it becomes very difficult to structure our communication. We start off thinking that everything is public but then we realise that we are possessive of certain aspects of our experience and our life and we are not comfortable thinking of it as public. We realise that we are our own boundary of inclusion and interaction. We ourselves cannot deal with the closeness and intimacy of the kind of social relations we are chasing. On one hand, we think that the highest ideal is to distance the aloofness of public interaction, and on the other hand at another scale, we cannot live on the basis of ideals alone. At some scale of magnification, we realise that no matter where we stand, we will always cast a shadow.
Shadows are the coordinates of space that does not get access to light because we are standing in the middle. We are facilitators as well as obstructions and that is a double bind around which we cannot think in a simple way. Because we have a need to believe in an isolated mode of operation that we follow. To think of a mode that actually flips this side and that at a moment's notice is frightening for us. When we do, we get stuck with a stasis that does not allow any action at all.
To resolve this inhibitive moment, we are able to think of a public that is associative and is discovered purely through a set of social connections. These connections are formed on the basis of an identification and a connection that does not have an exchange of language. But rather they are formed on the basis of an affective transference executed by presence and accidental simultaneity.
To cast our net wider is the only way. We cannot make a physical location and an unknown strangeness the basis of defining a public.