Note — Aug 23, 2020

Home Body

The wonderful articles keep coming out of Real Life magazine, file this one by Kelly Pendergrast where you can find it again to show the interconnections of systems, the care for infrastructure, and how our homes, social lives, and communities live atop those systems.

Perdergrast weaves the confinement with mythical haunted houses, cyborg collectives, Ballard, looting as reclaiming, as statements of inequality during Black Lives Matters, and the inspiring acts of mutual aid during the pandemic. It’s the saving cosiness of our homes, mixed with logistical sublime, care, maintenance, and community.

Theoretically, the pipes, wires, dams, turbines, and spillways that feed our cyborg homes are a socialized good, a collective investment in the collective wellbeing. As Chachra writes, technological systems are “one of the main ways that we take care of each other at scale.” […]

Unlike the privatized horrors of storybook hauntings, the spirits that animate my house exist on the same timeline, as part of the same networked system as I do (hello sanitation engineer, hello bird flying splat into the wind turbine, hello coal miner), at the other end of the tubes, feeding my housebody or failing it. […]

Wallowing in the logistical sublime can lead to what Matthew Gandy describes as “epistemological myopia that privileges issues of quantification and scale over the everyday practices that actually enable these networks to function.” […]

All the mapping and “making visible” in the world can’t right what’s wrong, and even the most good-faith attempts at rigorous transparency can’t avoid glossing over or eliding the horrors buried in global supply chains and local power structures. Instead, we can repurpose the city that was built against us, and redistribute its spoils. […]

This is part one of the work; to develop an extended proprioception that includes an awareness of the animate energies of the housebody, but also extends out through wires, pipes, and cables and towards all the other things and people the system touches, cares for, harms, and fails. Because the infrastructures of the home mean that we’re inexorably intermingled, codependent, and beholden, even as we might feel more disconnected than ever.