I am packing. The book shelves have been dismantled. While normally, they function without being thought about, being part of a complex of actions and interactions, now, after removing the books and taking them apart, the layer below that normal function has become visible. Pieces of wood and metal. They are no longer functional, they have weight, wood textures never perceived consciously. The books have been packed into boxes. They are now cubes of heavy matter, no longer sources of ideas. Bit by bit, the apartment is being transformed from a system of living, a web of functions and services, into a heap of material objects. The boxes have wholes where one can grab them. They are designed to be carried away. The complex of interactions of everyday life has been replaced by that of transportation. All the many things have been transformed into standard sized cuboids with grip wholes. The way of interacting with the things changes, the language, the terms used, the concepts of perception.
The walls are becoming visible. They are visible all of the time but they are normally hidden behind perceptive habits. They don’t enter consciousness most of the time. But after taking the drawings and paintings from the wall and removing the furniture, they suddenly reappear. There is the wall paper that soon will have to be painted; there are holes where nails and screws used to be. The materiality of the wall reappears. The inner model of the apartment that develops in the mind after living in a place for some time no longer matches reality. It collapses. Perception is thrown back into the level below, the material system that our habit and perception took for the apartment.
The richness of little features of this material system is coming into view. The irregular fibers in the ingrain wallpaper, little cracks, imperfections in the paint, dust. Most of these features did not have any function in that “apartment as used” and “apartment as perceived”, so although many of them where visible, they were overlooked all of the time. Now, after stepping out of that fiction, I can suddenly see them.
But I am still at the surface. Behind the wallpaper, there is concrete and bricks. There are tubs and cables. There are concrete reinforcements somewhere, there are sand grains and these in turn have their own microstructure. From my point of view, all that is not there. The house is still conceptually a house, although below its description as a house, it is a pile of steel and bricks and concrete and some other stuff. I have left an inner bubble of nested fictions, the bookshelf has been turned into a pile of wooden parts, the books and other things have been turned into boxes. The outer bubble of viewing the house as a house is still there. The door is still a door.
Soon we are going to take the boxes and the boards of the book shelf, the chairs and tables, and carry them through that door.
(The picture is from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Umzugskarton.jpg.)