ISSN : 2266-6060

Did you see that?

whitevan

We were having a pretty passionate discussion, though I can’t remember the matter. We were walking at a good pace: we were supposed to meet with another guy in a restaurant a few blocks away and we were a bit late. But suddenly my friend stopped. Wow, did you see that? He was staring at a white van, covered with tags. Hmm. Yeah? I started looking at it, tried to find the thing I was supposed to recognize. A real unusual thing, noticeable enough to make us stop despite being late. I began to read the inscriptions on the van, looking for clues. Two were quite legible and gave me a first idea of the importance of the piece. Vep and 156. I wasn’t a real connoisseur, but I still knew it was huge crews. Then I managed to decipher a first name, and a second. I slowly nodded. Two parisian legends, exposed in this 6th arrondissement street. While we walked to the restaurant, I thought of the recent exhibitions in Paris. In none of them we could have found a nice van like this one.
I also thought of the notions of encounter and performativity (theorizing all day long, that’s one of the problems with scriptopolians). I realized how multiple the world we’re living in is. For most of the people walking in that street the van remained unnoticeable, almost invisible. For some of them, it was even an object of disgust, polluting the neighborhood. For us it was a blessing, a small enlightenment of a pretty ugly part of the city. Thus, each of these encounters between the tags and passers-by created a specific version of the street, sometimes even articulating personal stories. But, remembering how difficult it had been for me to read these tags, and especially the most important one, I realized that things were a bit more complicated: I had been transformed too. Reshaped by the interpellation of my friend and my effort to recognize the two names. Before that, I was among the unnoticing ones. After, I had become one of the knowers.