With the ongoing pandemic and resultant challenges to ‘keep the show on’, our relationship with available spaces has been compelled to undergo a drastic change. For instance, ‘home’, which was erstwhile a private space has to compulsorily serve as a school, an office, a court, a conference room, a lecture theatre and more.
Accordingly one has to rethink ones relationship to this available space. In doing this, we have to be mindful that by embracing this way of functioning, we have not only allowed our domestic living spaces to fulfil the above-mentioned multi-functional roles but have also tacitly permitted and accepted others to share these spaces through digital visualisation.
It is fast becoming clear that there is no going back from this current state; which essentially connotes that the meaning we assign to ‘public space’ (or professional space for that matter) is getting fluid by the day.
So, home metamorphs into a court/office/school/college or whatever and through this transformation it brings in the roles, rules, protocols and behavioural patterns that govern these institutions.
Libertarian questions were triggered by the recent, widely circulated issue of pipe smoking by a judge during court’s hearing (and many other similar instances), like-
‘What is wrong with smoking while a meeting/hearing is on?
‘What is wrong with wearing casual clothes during a webinar or lecture?
‘What is wrong on part of the attendees with eating food while the lecture is on?
The reason behind these questions springs from a lack of understanding of ‘available space versus people relationship’, which, as mentioned, has undergone a drastic change whether one likes it or not.
And answers to these queries cannot be generated purely by applying the touchstone of what is legal/illegal. Of course, it is not illegal to have food, smoke a pipe and do all other sundry tasks that might seem innocuous, benign or mundane when seen out of context or in isolation. But would you dare to display the same behaviour had you been in actual classroom/court/lecture hall, is a necessary question to ask of oneself. If the honest answer staring at you is a ‘NO’; then you better spare the world from looking at your hookah, your pyjamas, your habit of chewing the cud, your hair combing and all other (sometimes) gross horror stories that I rather not write about here.
What I offer as a suggestion is just this–technology is quite benevolent-it offers you a ‘mute button’ and a ‘no camera’ option. Learn to identify and push these right buttons.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.