ArnaudBarras.ch ArnaudBarras.ch

ArnaudBarras.ch

Critical, creative and digital writingEcriture critique, créative et numérique

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03 June

0715 – Canberra AirportAirports are ugly. There's no contention here. We all know it; we accept it as a fact of life. Airports are ugly; they seem too clean, too rigid, too fake. All these glasses that show you through your next step, but that imprison you just as much. You have the impression of being free, but what you are rally is "constrained" into one path. The illusion of openness and fluidity and freedom is one of these big fat lies of the modern world. And it is repeated over and over as cities get more interconnected, as the world becomes a huge transportation network. I'm wary of lines that connect. They are always too good to be true; they are a simulation of interconnection. But they really form a global prison of the mind. Human beings are dumb fishes caught in the net of modernity. They thrive in this state. I feel claustrophobic all of a sudden. A glimpse of clarity just before I catch my plane to Sydney. Like a private joke. 0806 – In the PlaneIf the airport is a simulation of place, stewards and flight intendants are simulations of persons. Their droning voice is monotonous, like the engine of the plane. They recite words learned by heart, sentences that have become so generic they have lost any meaning. Human beings have become stock characters, archetypes in a tragicomedy badly written. It is sad in a sense, for the automatons we perceive really are persons. But they lose their subjectivity as they become pure function. I'll try not to forget that behind the uniform lives a being… But it's not that easy. 1542 – Broome Shopping CentreFirst things first. I needed to eat. And I can't hunt. So the shopping centre was the logical step, the first thing I had to do, the obvious initial phase of my trip. The 33 degrees of Broome contrast with the cold and damp 15 degrees of Canberra. I suffer a bit from the heat. And after getting my room and my car, I felt dizzy and realised I was thirsty and hungry. This is a paradox though. I'm 3500km away from Canberra, and yet it doesn't feel different in the shopping centre. Except for the heat, the tiredness, the hunger and numerous Aboriginal population, it could be a regular Tuesday afternoon. 1620 – Cable BeachOh the heat! It's struck with all its might, but I'm still standing (just kidding, I'm sitting in the sand; can't complain!). It's the first time I see and feel the Indian Ocean. I will remember this first time. What a relief to wet my feet in the warm water and walk for a few minutes as the sun begins slowly to set. I've taken off my t-shirt. It felt necessary. I won't stay long here, for I need to go back to the hostel, my safe zone for now. But I'll enjoy the beach and the soothing sound of the ebb and flow. The tide reminds me of so many things: Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach", but most of all Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide. Same ocean, after all. Surely not a coincidence. 1705 – Cable BeachSunsets… They fascinate us. We know them, have seen dozens or hundreds or thousands of them, yet they still remain a mystery, an aesthetic enigma. I've decided to stay on Cable Beach until the sun sets, at around 17h20. I want my first day here to be special. Nothing more special and original than a sunset. I know, I'm being sarcastic. I can't help it, and you shouldn't care. Sarcasm is judgment. Sunset is appraisal. It promises to be memorable. A cloud of dust is playing on the horizon, taunting the sun. Waouh. I'm speechless. 1723 – Cable BeachIt's gone. It's hard not to take pictures. we tend to see life through the lens of the camera. We like frames. Sometimes we fail to live the moment. Modernity is a tempter. 1805 – Hostel – Living RoomThat's the good life! A Corona and a subtropical climate. It feels good to be here; I feel privileged. I can already say that my diary has become a close friend. I do feel a bit schizophrenic, writing to myself. It's like my voice is acquiring a personality. I smile to myself, just now. My Self grows like a Being, like an Organism. He is becoming a bit meta, this Self-of-the-page. I like that. Life here seems to happen. This youth hostel is full of young guys and gals who think only a little about the future. They seem to be in a state of continuous carpe diem. I don't belong here, I know that. I haven't come to make friends, but to let a VOICE emerge. I don't mind being alone. I seek it sometimes. Here and now is one of those times. I want to cut myself off from others though. I'm willing to talk. But people here perhaps are not. They're too busy "living", I say, albeit contemptuously. It doesn't matter. I'll be here only a little time. Perhaps I should describe where I'm situated. I'm sitting at a table. It's made of worn out wood. It's lived a full life, but still accomplishes its function. It's hot and muggy. Fortunately a dozen fans are mixing it up and making the air more tolerable. On my left, a culinary TV show. On my right an exploration TV show. Around, thirty people are drinking, talking, eating. Half of them are French-speakers. It upsets me a tad, though I can't actually hear anyone speak French. It's their accent; it reminds me too much of home and of how touristic Broome seems to be. Tourism is a curse, but not always. It has a few benefits. Still, I can't shake off the idea that tourism is a simulation. I am one myself, I guess. But I'm more of a participating observer in an anthropological study of young Europeans abroad. Dammit. I wish Leslie was here. It's funnier to criticise when there are two of us. Anyways. I'll get myself another Corona. Tomorrow I'm going to Coulomb Point, to see red dirt and white sand! 2107 – Hostel – Room 1I feel so out of place. To me this whole situation doesn't make sense. I should have gotten something quieter. I didn't realised it'd be this bad. I'm not here for the same purpose(s) as these folks in the youth hostel. I feel old. I feel surrounded by walls of incomprehension. Cranky ol'scholar… What is it I wanted? What did I envision? I wanted a meditative retreat. I need to get out of here. For here, I'm not in a retreat, I'm in a prison of futility. Purposelessness. Without purpose. Not me. They! This scares me. Could I have been so careless as to not realise a youth hostel was the opposite I needed? I hope the rest of the trip will go more seamlessly. Otherwise I'm in trouble. But I guess, one can't control everything. I'm out of place. I can't feel a sense of communion with "place" here. This is way too antagonizing. So I ramble about it, to let some steam out.