Apr 9, 2019
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Jim and I (2019)

Office-landscape-plan

My bank went through a rejuvenation treatment also known as a ‘renovation.’ The contractors worked mostly at night and then, the bank closed altogether for a few days. When it came back into the physical world, it was as an open-concept entity.

As far as transformation goes, this was an important re-emergence. The bank is more spacious and brighter, with little restaurant-booths-like stations on the side. I like to think that customers could sit there to dream of cheesecakes and other delights. The only thing missing, it seems, is a Ping-Pong table. But as I waited in line, yes there is still a queue area – a difficult concept to fathom in an open-plan design, I started to think of how strange the whole thing is. What is this openness all about? Is the bank really open, or does it just feel open?

Banks have always thrived on the idea of privacy, of cubicles, of safety deposit boxes and even if the appearance of the bank happens to change, the invisible walls are probably as thick now as they were before. It probably boils down to simple economics; fewer wall surfaces and less maintenance might translate into more profits. All of the above advantages come into play without mention of the fact that an open banking surface becomes easier to monitor. In fact, my bank’s openness might be closer to Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon than to Frank Lloyd Wright’s pioneering open-plan designs, which “represented the promise of a new social ideal […] that would […] allow egalitarian integration”.[1]

But now, why would a bank – not the most benevolent entity in the world – care about egalitarian integration? I think that by opting for an open-plan layout, my bank was hoping for a magical, sympathetic effect; that seeing the openness of the space; we could automatically assign these perceptions to the bank itself. In short, that we could believe that the bank is as open, generous and honest as the space it occupies.

So here it is, my new bank, based on the foundation of my old bank. A wolf dressed up as a grandmother has opened its doors to welcome me, to do business with me. I wait in a line that is as long as the one before. Then, I notice a smiling clerk getting up and walking toward me. “Hi, I’m Jim, how can I help you today.” It is nice of him to say that, but there is something artificial about our first contact, something uncomfortable. The script will be restated over and over in the coming weeks, months and years. No doubt, it will come to sound more natural. Meanwhile, Jim and I walk to his workstation where he opens his computer. I stand on the side, almost like being in a pub. As I enter my passcode, I realize that it signals the end of all openness. Night has suddenly fallen; the bright sunshine of my bank is no more. We are now moving in a closed-floor-plan, a world of encryption, firewalls and privacy screens.

[1] The Curse of an Open Floor Plan, The Atlantic, Ian Bogost, May 17, 2018
https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/05/the-curse-of-an-open-floor-plan/560561/

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Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel H. Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Everglades, coécrit avec Valerie LeBlanc, vient de paraître aux Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel H. Dugas is a poet, musician, and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico and Australia. His tenth book of poetry, co-written with Valerie LeBlanc, Everglades has just been published by Les Éditions Prise de parole.

Everglades
À partir de leur exploration du parc national des Everglades, Daniel H. Dugas et Valerie LeBlanc cartographient dans cet essai poétique les effets de la présence humaine sur le milieu naturel, les traces qu’elle y dépose. Everglades est une ode à la beauté, à la fragilité et à la résilience d’une nature aux prises avec une espèce envahissante, la nôtre.

Everglades
Through their exploration of the Everglades National Park, Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc document, in this poetic collection, the effects of human presence in the natural world and the traces left behind. Everglades is an ode to the beauty, the fragility and the resilience of nature faced with the invasiveness of a particular species, ours.

Date : Mars 2018
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782897441029
Français/English

Éditions Prise de parole

http://www.prisedeparole.ca/auteurs/?id=1148

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