Baltimore / 2018
Ether: Borders & Boundaries
Ether defines boundaries as the invisible distinctions that are maintained and perpetuated through social contracts. These contracts exist to define a seperation or boundary between two entities. They are able to designate Us versus the Other. They form the traditions, infrastructure, and myths that societies abide by.
One might best find manifestations of these boundaries through common functions, institutions, and objects: a restrictive covenant barring the sale of property to minorities under the guise of maintaining market value. The Heaven and Hell that allows us to designate the good and the bad. Or the jails that afford us the distinction between free and unfree. The country borders that distinguish illegal and legal bodies.
The boundaries maintained by a cement box, a contract, or a line on a map create hierarchies that have built societal covenants for better or for worse. They not only allow us to designate the power dynamics between people but also manage to differentiate creator and creation, form and material, living and nonliving.
The use of design to modify and curate all aspects of life is vital to understanding how we have come to create race, science, borderlines, and class systems. The dichotomies that people currently construct their lives around are not natural or unbiased or accidental. They are very intentional.
Ether’s intention is to instead propose a more fluid understanding of these perceived binaries.