Networks and Labyrinths
Alitza Nichole Cardona
Edited by Andrei Andronic
Social transitions: Going back to “home”
Spaces of silence resemble the shadows and contrasts between objects. The differences between objects are almost always understood through the necessary pauses one may take to appreciate them. The stillness of a moment can lead you to contemplate the consistency of the imaginary, as well as the structure of your reality. Silence is like the shadow of the spoken word. It is used to understand contrasts and intensities between moments and descriptions. Spaces of silence support the viability of creation. Silence aids you in describing sequences of spaces, places and meaning. The construction of meaning as the result of emotion and associations, generates rhythm. Your rhythm in relation to others is contained as a fundamental aspect of perspective. Meaning is produced when value is created from associations that shape one’s understanding of the surrounding social constructions.
I do like to talk, a lot, but I have come to love silence even more. Perhaps, it was that change was a constant, like a filmstrip flickering frame after frame. I would always stick pictures upon a wall. Whatever little decoration that represented and felt familiar emanated some sense of home. As I constructed home, I also understood that home was within a sense of associations and a relationship with context. From an individual’s circumstance, relationships are subsequently created to take part in others' stories. These stories shape situations that may become constants as they relate to the surrounding environment supporting memories and sense. All these processes construct, shape and nourish the context. Acts of silence were part of a necessary measure to fully comprehend the intangible relationships affecting a possible meaning of home. At sixteen I did not fully understand how value could be created through relationships within a context. I had just begun to understand how sense is constructed through a sequence of experiences and that these may contain different forms. I was certain, sense had something to do with the rhythm of time and interlocking moments with the others.
It was the foster care system. A large body of the state, a space within the infrastructure of a system containing places filled with uprooted feelings and scattered hopes. In it, I was a number and a transferable being in a state of production. As I changed places, I started to notice the walls where the beds of the other girls were. These girls, the ones that lived with me and moved without me, transferred their own sense of home in each stroke of painting, photograph and decoration they brought with them. We changed spaces, places, and walls. The girls and I became acquainted with many faces as time and circumstances changed. As each month passed, the compositions of objects and illustrations became windows to their awareness of change. Spaces and places were reimagined. Photographs were exchanged and drawings were replaced, but there was always something that made each piece of the wall a reflexive object of their essence. Within each configuration created on the walls, girls like Monica constructed something irreplaceable but transferable. A need for structure compelled us to visualize stability. When constructing images of stability, girls like Monica never aspired to an idea outside her experience. She was constant within change —her ontological foundations were dynamic inwards–. Monica resembled a building, built of meanings and experiences, independent of the other’s gaze. This is how I saw her, how I saw the other girls and myself. Their world, like mine, was fragmented. Our fates were being assimilated into an inheritance formed, mainly, by the emptiness of the other. The others, our carers, inherit us in fragmented states of meaning unsupportive of our maintenance. As Monica, Stephanie, Marelis, Nicole and many others were all becoming independent circumstances with a common nature. Each one formed their own vision of home in objects and images that adorned their thin slice of the wall. I realized then, that the sense of home was, indeed, transferable. Home was being ceaselessly re-imagined while remembered, it was a concept that within a particular circumstance, struggled to plant roots.
I have come to cultivate many questions in life regarding the possibility of generating circumstances of meaning. I constantly daydream of constructing transferable worlds of signifiers and subjects independent of the possible certainty and consistency of their original context. For me, this has been a constant need. Now at thirty, there is one question that could only be fully developed with silence. How much of our individual and collective intangible worlds are imbued in the physicality of the environments we choose to create? Through many court hearings, I became aware that the answer to this question could have everything to do with perception. In courtroom truths are re-valued in their contrast to others and their intensity is measured through spaces of silences and recorded actions. A judge is at present evaluating how each truth is structured to fill a fluent narrative of consistencies. A court is a scenario removed from time, naked of context and dressed in the stories that were transferred to a moment by its keepers. Time is then embedded in the word that is used to condemn or alleviate the subject. Each story is established in contrast through the necessary pauses. Stories are elaborated while they are remembered when engaging with trauma, loss, happiness, and many other reasoned emotions through valued outcomes.
Growing up, I noticed that context had a way of shaping beliefs through powerful points of reference represented by individuals, objects, or places. The rapport sustained by the silence that came with acknowledging the difference of circumstances between these points of references had in certain situations made my non-negotiable beliefs overturned. These references could be violent and unjust in the pursuit of their own interests. These interests were dressed by the conditions of stories that had been shared outside of their essential context within the confines of a courtroom. After the silence, there it was, the love of my aunt and my grandmother, and the caring nature behind their persistence which transferred me to a stable state. In the exchange of topics, within this recollection, compassion is a constant represented by the care of a relative’s interest in adopting me as they believe in me, my capability to live and to produce. The transference from one place to another state, restated my significance after the violence. I became aware that meanings were transferable in the empty discourse of speakers too hypocritical to follow their own words. Rage and happiness followed the detachment my body felt from the world after winning that court hearing. As my perception changed, the concept of a family changed its meaning and my notion of order rendered as unfixed and independent. I came to realize that language is as material and as real as the verbs that relate to my hands. I also realized that the orientation of actions is going to produce outcomes as narrow as the belief of possible realities. All the possibilities of the social, of the order and of the social order were embedded in how I conceived myself in relation with the other. The others are them, the people, the sea of many personalities converging in my context, their actions related to my understanding and other circumstances. The social comprehends the stories that ground our time in each other’s realities. Our stories are intersections of circumstances and expanding truths. We commence to understand society when we understand this. We could also challenge society’s contained propriety when we question the necessity of an immediate, material context.
I moved around eight times in my developing years. Many urban landscapes uprooted my orientation. Some nights I gazed at the hospital where my aunt worked from my room. In many ways I missed her while in hunger. Foster children don't necessarily have a good amount of food available if they are not subscribed to welfare programs. I only knew the place where I was located, as the social worker had allocated me there without making any notice to my relatives. As I paused, submerged in thought, I noticed my body’s spatial relationship with my aunt’s workplace. The existence of some type of relationship between my circumstances and hers felt like a hug. I came to believe that I was able to intuitively identify the nature of relationships, tangible and intangible like those which are embedded in the surrounding built environments. I think spaces of transition are as intense and beautifully significant as nature’s ecological phenomena – spatial and human relationships converge within an assumed time–. I fed my sense of home from these relationships. Gradually I became part of a system of corresponding and vulnerable relationships which nurtured my consciousness of a community.
For many of us—the children of the system— home, both its environment and our sense of self within it, is understood from its properties. These properties are formed through the arrangements of things, associations of places, our capability of movement and our capacity of production. We get to experience the properties of spaces through their unfixed nature. Their significance while constructing places like “home,” changes with movement. While moving, social justice becomes relevant in a world without a sense of control from its producers. Children are also producers, but in this case, lacking the consistencies that amount to their potential if they do not innovate upon the concept of stability. Innovation in this circumstance could be viewed as the result of a crisis, when children start analyzing the production of value and meanings, beyond their situation. Silence has a way of reformulating, restating, and reinterpreting things. Its impact is largely felt within the perspective presented here. In these circumstances, the individual is acknowledging the transferable nature of the intangible. Choosing to produce value within detrimental circumstances is an act of resistance. Alternatives found in the other rituals and practices could communicate foundational options for conception, creation, and generation of significant places of experience, especially when one’s context is not constant. This is why global education is important. While it is not possible, yet, to experience multiple realities with one body, the vicarious nature of the virtual, like social media, expands an awareness of the other’s experience. The visual properties of the process of socialization, that have been supporting the creation of intangible realms such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, are having immediate effects upon our built environment. This situation has the ability to expand contrasts between people's circumstances, differences, and intensities, thus creating alternative and supportive social landscapes.
Liking, commenting, sharing and upvoting have become actions of engagement that have the capability of shaping shared circumstances of reality. Despite the intangibility of these actions, they form and shape our circumstances amongst others. We share the articulation and imagery of actions. We economically sustain the effects of shared discourses and their objects virtually, through a collective experience. Currently, aesthetics, collective opinion, and morality can be seen as globally transferable learning experiences through their value, as compositions of symbols of significance and representation. These experiences, much like the photographs on a wall, construct their own sense during our ceaseless motion. Experiences and their value shared through online social networks are in search of a home, in us, as their objects. We are individual links, open to possibilities and of transformation through caring and sharing — much like I was. Experience exists in a dynamic exchange of continuous actions. Viewed as an object of value, they can reshape mindsets. However, viewed as a composition, shared experiences can reveal the networks that support a constant production of actions, allocated in processes of communication and orientation. As a productive force the consistency of shared experiences keeps an object attached to a scope of understanding, a conscience — contextualized, fixed, and shared—-.
Relating to another’s experience helps us understand another dimension of processes given our understanding of them as objects. One could consider that when “home” is the subject, actions that lead us to it become the object. Culture dresses the object through beliefs, language, and behavior. Technology enables our capability to support the object’s intensity and our capacity to broaden the sense of its scope within a narrative. Intensity, as a dimension, may not be necessarily ruled by superficial exchange of information, but by understanding meaning. We adapt our social sense of its value in relation to the uncontrollable nature of circumstances. It is the uncontrollable uncertainty that becomes the nature of hope. We cannot control the ways our sense of hope is created through crisis as this may also be an individual experience which is not necessarily shared. The experiences produced after sharing and caring have the potential of creating unforeseen circumstances, much like what happens when an experience is so intense that non-negotiables get overturned. Objects may get reshaped and restated within the constant processes of hope. Amidst the intensity and the feelings that come with abrupt change, it could be acknowledged that effort, as a product, may shape our personality in essence, but it is our character that socially defines it.
We may be trying to produce value upon social processes without understanding their potential shared meaning. In many ways, social sense about an object is introduced through places like social media, leading to acquired value through potential meanings. Usually, an object is understood as valuable because others recognize a fragment or a part of their identity in it. Processes of deconstruction, where personal and collective needs of an object are acknowledged add up to an individual’s character. The characteristics of an object are constantly informed in a world in transition. They are constantly signified and exchanged in situations such as social media. The problem of implementing value lies in the forms we ignore the others' identification process towards an object. How synergies are idealized within a single group's aspirations that may not be shared by the context. Throughout the years, while I experienced different places, people representing great power visited the communities where I lived. They communicated their desire to help and aid those in need. Their message was clear. Their possible ignorance towards the process of implementing a strategy to satisfy the community was even clearer. This problem is not created necessarily by choice but because choosing to relate to others is currently not being seen as an investment, our world strives and nourishes from individuality. The messages of value of the representatives of those with power were successfully created each time they pretended to listen, but the needs of our communities were beyond the aspirations of the productive performance that came with their social power. Not enough conversations about ethics are held. Not enough of its impacts are felt. Real inclusion and equality are topics much explored without observing, listening, and feeling. But still, we are lighting up bridges as a symbol of action, creating songs, and challenging each other. In doing these, we are elevating moral pursuits in a “participatory” operation that resembles a community. Interaction relies on the spaces of silence to tailor the act of socially caring.
It can be inconvenient to interpret a world in motion and accelerated change with the theories of the past alone. History has a way of just representing the few. We may discover more dimensions to an object when we recognize the needs for it. Those are the reasons that appeal to shared experiences beyond individual aspirations. As part of the social circumstances of others we may inherit only fragments of their stories. It can be useful to consider that a good portion of these shared circumstances are also produced by violence and unmet necessities which are not necessarily recorded in shared history. To see, represent and believe in others has the capability of building the trust needed to support a larger scope of shared histories. Successful messages cultivate a network of meaning while orienting actions. Maybe, we can orient meaningful actions without the validation of an idealized place, such as home.