This entry is a follow up to one I took a few days ago, and while it might not seem like an overly obvious choice for this theme, one of the reasons this subject interests me is to do with issues of status.
The notion of a ‘speak here’ grill immediately demarcates ‘us’ from ‘them’ – it establishes a physical and social boundary that indicates that our status is, at best, questionable, and at worst, positively alien, dangerous, and to be kept at bay. And the chances are, in many of these encounters, that the scope to interact as though we were fellow human beings are greatly reduced by such measures.
As I mentioned in my previous entry, I can see why such measures might be necessary in security conscious environments, but these grills are now a relatively pervasive feature of modern life. Anywhere that you and I, as consumers, need to interact with ‘them’ – service providers, administrative personel, and other public officials – you’ll probably find a grill such as this. And you can bet, in the majority of these encounters, that your status is diminished by their presence.
9.19am on 19/2/04
B+W UV 010