Kata
Ungvári-Zrínyi




Manifesto* of the Object Whisperer




We believe that in the New Now, the paradoxical or quasi-paradoxical structure holds a special key to making sense of the world. The concept of paradox resists conventional order-building, so as a framework, it is ideal in that it allows a high degree of complexity into any system that uses it. In such systems, categories are not too restiricting, yet not overly broad either. Boundaries are constantly flexing, and instead of compulsively tracing the separating walls, we find the ways in which the separated spaces project onto one another.

*Or more like, a calm presentation (no need for shouting)

(Quasi-)paradoxically,

the Object Whisperer

is actually more of a listener (see card.)

    ~ is aware of the exploitation of the nonhuman, looks to abolish the practices that make it possible, and tries to establish a more equal relationship between them, but at the same time knows the limitations of their own knowledge and language and doesn’t try to force their own structures or patterns of communication onto them. (Hint: Listens more than speaks). They are prepared to learn and listen, and are respectful in case the occasional sacrifice occurs.**

    While they appreciate the sensuality of the material world, they are not hoarders or hedonists either. The object is an important part of their life experience but they don’t fetishize it. They are aware of their own impulses to possess it, so they shift this drive within themselves into genuine curiosity and deep respect for the object, enabling a gentle, harmonious encounter with it. As a result of this, they are less likely to be ensnared by the mechanisms of consumerism.

    They will also support the natural object. To their senses, these objects are the ones closest to humans and the ones that speak the clearest. In fact, so clear that the things they say don’t even register in their minds… Still, they take the message, on visceral pathways, and become fierce protectors of the world they come from, and the living beings in it.

    ~ is suspicious of the idea of the superhuman but doesn’t reject transcendence and the preciousness of the human being [1]

    ~ uses categories (knowing they can’t be avoided, as it is just the way that our minds work) but only does it with full awareness of the limitations of any kind of ordering (articulates prudent convictions)

    For them, locality occupies both center & periphery at the same time. They reject cultural Darwinism, and embrace heterogeneity - they follow a Polycentric approach.[2]

    They always speak from the position of the knowledge of multiple perspectives, yet they speak their own, authentic and complex truths.

    Wherever possible, they translate.[3] They often translate their utterances, even for those who least expect it - not in order to transform their own truth, but to share it, with its uniqueness, for the benefit of everyone involved. (This is not merely language-related: they translate movement, gestures, acts, art and, finally, culture itself.)

In essence: they connect. With objects and matter, natural matter, living matter and with themselves.


Revelation

(A manifesto is not about connection. A manifesto is a monologous proclamation of the self. It is exclusive. It is recited AT someone, not discussed with them.

Our voice is not fit for that. We are about the Other. So we connected with fellow Object Whisperers and described them - or, at least, an idealized version of them - instead. Idealized: every revolution starts with a revolution with the self. We are prepared to try and fail, accept and try again.)



[1] On Heroes
[2] Contemporary Art - Polycentric essay [3] Since translation itself is both possible and impossible (Derrida), they always translate for their audience but keep the link alive with the original context as well.** The Object Whisperer, while trying to promote a new perspective, is aware of being part of the system. They are part of it and try to change it from within.



Object Whisperer Training Exercises

I.
Take your phone. No, don’t turn it on or interact with it. Just turn it over and over in your hand. Don’t look at any of the visual signs or characteristics. Keep turning.

  • Imagine it is a thin slate of rock. [turn it over] Cold. Not quite cold, as stones gradually get warmer in the sun. [turn it over] Just heavy,  [turn it over] stone is a heavy material.  [turn it over] Feel its weight, its full, heavy weight.  [turn it over, slowly] Feel how its stone weight is pushing down onto your palm and fingers… [turn it over slowly, aware of the heaviness you are feeling in your hand and stop]

Put it down. Use it as a paperweight.

o   Version one: with some paper you are actually writing on.

Pick a half-written page of anything, the last page of something you haven’t finished but still want to continue. Slide the paperweight to cover the last line you’ve written, position it so as to make sure you cover the last word as well.

Keep working. Every time you complete a line, slide the weight to cover the last part you’ve written. Never lift the weight from the table – remember, it’s heavy.

To upgrade the exercise:

Cover each word as soon as you’ve finished writing them. Never lift the heavy weight. Keep working.

o   Version two: with blank sheets.

Make origami out of the sheets, all the while keeping the paperweight on them, never lifting it. You can slide it while you fold the sheet, slide and fold. Never lift it from the table. When you would have to turn the paper, just pull it out from under the weight and turn it on the other side. Take a deep breath and lift the weight. Remember, it’s heavy! Put it back on the origami sheet and keep working, as before.

Once you’ve finished the shape, pull it out from under the weight, hold it in your hand and look at your creation.

How is it different to your usual origami creations? How does it feel like to hold?


II.
Take your phone. No, don’t turn it on or interact with it. Just turn it over and over in your hand. Don’t look at any of the visual signs or characteristics. Keep turning.

  • Imagine it is made of sand. Yes, sand. Just the way sandcastles are made: Add moisture, mix and there you have it, a grainy, rough ”dough” which you can shape. [turn it over] This time, the wet dough – is shaped to be rectangular, with rounded edges and corners. [turn it over] You couldn’t get sharp edges out of sand anyway… [turn it over] Small grains together, yet not quite together… [turn it over, carefully] Carefully, avoiding the corners and edges, they are fragile. [turn it over] Fragile sand coagulation, [turn it over] fragile, wet grains, [turn it over] sand drying from the heat of your hands, [turn it over] cracks begin to appear…

Holding it very carefully so that it doesn’t fall apart, move your hand just above your other, empty hand… With one, swift gesture

drop it.

You have caught it, you have it in your other hand.

What thoughts are running through your mind?

You are holding it. How does it feel?

What is it?


I’d love to hear about your experience! If you’d like to share it with me, please send your feedback to uzzzkata[at]gmail.com