ISSN : 2266-6060

What the world needs now

gluten

A lot of things are needed for what we consider a decent living in our occidental rich countries. Tap water, stable electricity supply, roads, sidewalks (except maybe in L.A. ), a telecommunication network, public transportation… The list is quite long, especially if you compare it to the one someone from Uganda, Mali, India or Pakistan would give you. Yet, in our daily life there is actually no list. All these things are here without notice and nothing reminds us of their existence. You don’t see any office building with a sign at its entrance reading “Here we have electricity!” This is the very definition of infrastructures: they are taken for granted.
This is not so clear for things that are almost — or not yet — infrastructures, even though their presence is expected from more and more people. Organizations that provide them are generally keen to let you know, a means as another to foreground their competitiveness. Hotels and restaurants are good at this game: “Cable TV”, “Conditioned Air”, and of course more recently “Wifi” have appeared in nice boards, posters or simple sheets on the wall.
But sometimes, what is needed is not a presence — something that should be here — but an absence — something we wish to avoid. In some countries for instance, sanitary certificates can be found in front of restaurants, which ensure you that vermin and the most dangerous bacteria will not end in your plate. The list remains generally unspecified though. Only when a new, especially menacing, entity appears as a shared concern, can we find ad’hoc signs that explicitly shows you that in this establishment, you’re safe. Considering the level of threat in Italy, the country of pizza and pasta, imagine how relieved you must feel when encountering this Pasta Gluten Free sign, right above the one that announces free wifi.