Note Archive: July 2015

The Power Out

Well, it's raining. My room has somewhat annoyingly sprung a leak, and of course, there's been a power cut along our road. Rather than enduring the feeling of damp bones, as drops from the ceiling echo into the bowl placed below; I've evacuated to the kitchen, where I now sit with a candle, paper and a pen. Dinner is bubbling away on the stove (we have gas, thankfully) and I'm stealing this unexpected pocket of time to write something, anything really. It's all very antiquated. A relic of eras gone by.


Power cuts are peculiar, in that they show you just how much of your life has come to rely on electricity. Your instinct is to groan. Mild irritation before rationality hits; it's temporary. A disgruntled house-mate, newly returned from a trip away, has left to shower at a friend's house. Seemingly simple conveniences, like washing, have been taken away by the outage. Power showers, you understand – another luxury, much like insignificant others that have come to punctuate daily existence, in the time and place I live right now.

To be exacting about it, the candles lighting my page and the pen held in my grasp are very much technologies too. I've recently begun reading Living in a Technological Culture, by Mary Tiles and Hans Oberdiek. A twenty-year old text, that is speaking to some loose thoughts of late. Our lives are shaped and formed by technologies; and in taking this from a person, are we stripping the human from their being? I'd like to believe we are more than that; more than the artifice that has become naturalised into insignificance. Yet today, when the power cuts, I'm reminded of how much my life requires technology. How much human history has been defined by technology. And that what I do, simply everyday things, presupposes the certainty of having a flow of power. It's surreal to think about how we lived without this. If only because I've never known a world without electric technology.

Read more