HUB 341.2: Text Improvisation—Are You Well? from an earlier HUB posting. The edit, experimental no doubt, but why not as we are just getting our feet underneath us (or above us) again in this new season of work.
(there’s a bit of a pause before it starts, …just wait, please)
I’d like to speak to you today about whales and their singing…
The song of a lone whale in the depths, the far reaches of the ocean—the vast distance her song can breach to be heard and responded to by another. (( the humpback’s song reaching from one pole to another in an individual, identifiable voice. ))
Do they have a short hand, like a telegram would use, so to grab the attention of the prospective listener, to hold them there, waiting for more? (( perhaps the clicking of the dolphins.))
How long do these transmissions take to reach their end, like the speed of light—the stars we see today long since faded in their own locale. What does this lull in communication do to the way we communicate? —do we resend, learn another’s way of speaking, swim deeper for a better signal?
Considering, again, the telegram, what did its relative speed offer? What has replaced it today? And whereas in the past, such means were a supplement, now perhaps the are a substitute for any and all longer forms.
It is here that I begin to think of evolution, of natural selection, of how a whale’s anatomy is built in such a way to facilitate these distant yet personal transmissions—the monkey lips, the acoustic fat, the melon, and extended lung capacity.
I consider the human anatomy here too, as we are a distant evolutionary relative to these whales, these mammals of the sea who started their lives on land. Is there some similar fatty membrane or capacity of being that gives way to the history of our messaging each other?
What has brought about our own epistolary evolution, from the long form letter to the telegram to post card, fax, fax to email, email to sms?