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To wait:

Is to ‘to allow time to go by, especially while staying in one place without doing very much, until someone comes, until something that you are expectinghappens or until you can do something’[1]. In Espèces d’espaces, Georges Perec asks us to ‘picture an apartment whose layout was based on the functioning of the senses.’ When speaking of such spaces, Perec negotiates ‘what a sneery might look like, or an smellery or a feeler.[2]’ Then he asks us to imagine:

‘A space without a function. Not “without any precise function” but precisely without any function; not pluri-functional (everyone knows how to do that), but a-functional.’[3] 

The spaces in which we wait it seems, could be the closest we will get to such a condition. If we understand the act of waiting as the intermediary transition between one thing and the next, we might begin to consider how the art of waiting provides the void in which our senses can take over, and it is the spaces in which we reside that control our senses.

We might also consider the relevance of the typical waiting room; as we find ourselves in a world which is growing more and more anxious; waiting for something or somewhere we desire tests patience, it builds expectation. It onsets annoyance; it makes us feel apprehensive.

But waiting might also allow us the perfect interval of contemplation and inner dérive. So, that, in a world that is becoming quicker, things are being made smaller, the suburb is urban and the rural is lost, what is the waiting room? Should these inevitable interruptions be shortened or made longer, should the wait be entertained? Should we be alone or in a crowd? In the dark or outside?

Perhaps we should redefine what it means to wait.


Adolf Loos, The interior of the Cafe Museum in Vienna, c.1930
Brief written by Emily Priest
[1] “Wait Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary.” Wait Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary. Accessed January 22, 2017.
[2] Perec, Georges, and John Sturrock. Species of spaces and other pieces. London, England: Penguin Books, 2008, p.31.
[3] Ibid. 33.

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