3/Intercultural Hybrid/ Contrast
« ... tools only exist in relation to the intermingling they make possible or that make them possible. «
As mentioned in the previous chapter discussing different languages – Wilhelmsburg’s different spoken tongues have created small islands of different cultures on it. Different cultures that not necessarily do everything together.
And if we would further contemplate the elements used in our intervention - the Post-It’s the Pencil hanging on a thread and the different languages used – were all actors that triggered the formation of something new between the people. Such elements all played an essential role. But not only the details that we provided but the bus stations themselves were actors and the bus that comes every two to ten minutes giving people time to stand and see what is this large pixel of colors. If we considered the ANT theory in this project, we would see how it applies to almost everything. And why shouldn’t it apply? Wasn’t it Easterling who said referring to infrastructure as «Its activity is not reliant on movement but rather on unfolding relationships inherent in its arrangement. Designing infrastructure is designing action.« (Easterling, 2010) But could language barriers be solved with such a simple structure to create a new social hybrid between the people and thus creating an intercultural atmosphere?
In one occasion we actually didn’t write anything on the Post-its, and we even didn’t provide something to write with. When we came back the next days to observe our little experiment we discovered that all of the Post-its were still there and most of them were written on. Sometimes with a lipstick even. This is not to say that our input of language and the term »I am waiting for…. « wasn’t necessary for the intervention but this only states that each small actor used in our experiment played an essential role. As a result, creating this hybrid of intervention. A combination of many different levels. Not only through the tools used but also through the knowledge of the people who answered who the moment they look at the post-its, they know what it is. Followed by the moment of holding this hanging pen to write something all comes because they are familiar with what a pencil is, what a post-it is, and they could read what was written on the wall. By answering they added their emotions beside others on the papers. Creating a massive grid of wishes and desires that are out of reach or very pragmatic. This couldn’t have been reached if people didn’t know what a pencil is, or couldn’t understand what was written on the paper.
On another situation when I was in Cairo this October, I tried to carry out the Post-it intervention, and I was faced with a lot of difficulties. First of all, there are no bus stops in Cairo! At least in the place where I live and where I move. Due to the time factor, I decided of maybe just doing it in the only tram stop I know that is by the way in one of the better places in Cairo. I was then faced with another problem. I couldn’t find a shop that was selling post its. Colored post its or just normal yellow ones. After some time I had to come back to Germany and never had the chance to try it out. But the fact remains that a lot of elements need to be available for such an intervention to take place. I could’ve pushed it a bit in Cairo, I could’ve have done it with something else. But here even TIME was an actor that just wasn’t available.