That snuff

The Transnational 3, 11/15, translated into German

In front of us on stage, a naked man and a naked woman. Stage left, two chairs. Above the chairs, a pair of nooses hang from postmodern pipework. An hour ago, the man and the woman renounced everything of worth in their lives. The handing-over ceremony took place before our eyes and yielded 1 iPhone, 1 Samsung, 2 iPads, 2 Laptops with Skype, TV, weed, 1 emergency iPad, miscellaneous alcohol, combs, brushes, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, soap, toilet paper, other toiletries including sanitary towels, weaponry including a newly-constructed missile-tipped drone, music, speech, body language, movement in their toes, shampoo, conditioner and magazines both online and in print that are typologically visual in content. How long, the point of today, will the couple last, thus bereft?

We audience members remain in silent awe for ten minutes before a man in the second row takes to Twitter with a pic of what’s gone down, namely motionlessness combined with a huge existential conundrum happening live, now, the other side of the Twitter user’s camera. A party of schoolchildren in the back sings because I am the champion and you’re gonna hear me roar by Katy Perry but instead of moving to hush them the ushers gather in the aisle around a mobile device to discuss what James Bond villain they are. Someone in the circle responds angrily to a call from the babysitter while a perfumed critic up front sends a review of the first act via an app. He taps out in the dark that the pair on stage have started strongly.


Duncker’s Candle Problem as applied below

The Transnational 3, 11/15, translated into German

Gestalt psychologists cite functional fixedness when we see an object for what it is and not for what it might be. Think back to when the wrapping paper was much more fun than the gift.

Consider the simple cardboard box white-coated examiners use to carry Duncker’s thumbtacks to the members of control group #3. If emptied, the box doubles as a tray for the candle that must be attached to a cork-board wall. For obvious reasons, no wax can drip on the expensive table below.

Thumbtacked to the cork, the box-cum-tray holds the candle and catches the wax, but the members of control group #3 only see only a box and fail the test before being told the table was obviously veneered.

This poem is an example of functional fixedness. The reader might quickly glean the form, the length and likely time commitment, before settling with ‘Yes, this is a poem…’ to a line-by-line conclusion, which might involve giving up by now.

The rarer reader wants their candle to stick to nothing, sees smokescreens everywhere, letters dripping paranoia, trusts neither the poem nor the poem’s function because nothing is what it is. This would be the reader who, unlike the members of control group #3, understands that inside every whole there might well be a greater than.