ISSN : 2266-6060

The Order of Things

materialorder

During a single day, we may very frequently move from one place to another, we may cross spaces fitted out in very different manners, we may be next to different entities. Yet, one generally does not attach importance to the distinct material components that populate the sites we go all over or we occupy for a given time. It is only when they are lacking when we need them that their presence to our activities suddenly appears as essential. How many times do we curse the failure of a technical device to the exact moment we needed it? How many times do we miss the undesirable absence of small elements (paper clips, staples, extra chairs) that are usually in our workplaces?
Inconvenience caused by such failures is sometimes overcame by the delegation to graphical artifacts of the convenient ordering of places. Meeting rooms are a favorite site for this type of call to order: we are often ask to leave the room only after taking care to restore the room ordering. The potential doubt lies in the gap between the state in which we found by entering the room and its supposed initial state. One way to remove that doubt is, like in this case, to provide a photo that shows the precise ordering of tables and chairs. This is helpful, but it defers all doubt about the origin of necessity to put everything in its place. One can of course attribute it to the to manic tendencies of the person who administers the place. One can also considers that the agency of things is never reducible to material order issues: to respect the arrangement of things is to ensure the convenient use by the following, it is to show a form of moral consideration.