What makes the experience of that flat clean Nobody’s Mask super interesting and super weird is that our brain reacts to it in the same way it reacts to seeing a rattlesnake up on the Bruce Peninsula or a glowing pure white Amanita virosa (aka “The Destroying Angel”): Steer clear because they just might kill mesays our reptile brain. Little baby-blue kites of death fluttering underfoot. The ones that are working 24-7 to save us. Since April of 2020 we have been collecting those used disposable COVID-19 masks from the urban environment we move through. In our case, mostly The Ward and downtown Guelph. Hundreds and hundreds of them were sitting quietly in brown paper bags in our sideyards. Why did we reach for them, carry them away with us, wherever we were going?
Why did we interrupt our motion, or let that blue interrupt our motion?
Why did we take them home and try to have another relation with them rather than pretending we didn’t see them & speeding away from them? Retrieving a mask fromsingle-use disposed abjection is itself a complex, political, ethical, aesthetic, creative gesture deserving our close, careful and critical (self)-examination. Friends, let's call a spade a spade: We can’t not see them. Do we not owe them? They are also front-line workers. Like garbage, like orange snow fencing, like the Pacific plastic gyre, they are both us and not us. They are trying to tell us something; to show us something about ourselves, about our imaginaries, about complicity and about viruses. What are they saying? We need post-humanist ears to hear it. We need new eyes to see that.