In every second of every day, as we go about our routines
and rituals-- and whether we are attentive to it or not-- we move through,
occupy, and alter space. For many of us, and for most of the time, that space
is stable, predictable, and molded to create an atmosphere conducive to our
own personal comfort
But if you examine space a little more closely-- specifically, the physical structure of the environment in which you are an inhabitant-- you may happen
upon one of many “cultural wrinkles” in contemporary mainstream society. Cultural wrinkles are similar in concept to universal wrinkles, a time-space travel theory based on the existence of wormholes in space, a phenomena that enables a physical entity to break the laws of physics based on the nature by which it is traveling. Cultural wrinkles instead transport innovation and intellectual evolution from one group of people to the next, disregarding
any spatial blockades or other artificial constructs. They masterfully manipulate their surrounding environments to expose the arbitrariness of geopolitical lines, and peel away the meaningless signs that cloud our perception of the real. They lay bare the idiosyncratic practices that have become ingrained in our day-to-day interactions with society. Cultural wrinkles are necessary elements in provoking change and revolution; they are the situations that can, for a moment, whisk away the preconceived notions that have become associated with a particular space, and make new environments by skewing its context. They offer glimpses of uncharted worlds in the shadows of capital’s simulacra, and, like the universal sort of wrinkles, traversing through them can lead to a better understanding of our perceived environment as it exists within the larger context of our physical space.
All traveling, though, begins with choosing the proper vessel for the journey. Suburbanites have cars, NASA has shuttles, Critical Mass has bicycles, and parades have floats. Determining which vessel will suit the voyage best requires careful planning and foresight. If we were to construct a ship that could voyage through these cultural wrinkles, we can envision no craft more space-worthy than that of a pirate ship. Pirates hijacked open spaces and claimed them for their own, lived like parasites on the back of fledgling colonialism, and fought battles to the death against whole fleets of Monarchial warships. It was their ships that spread word far and wide of their triumphs against the hierarchy, and it was their ships that became symbols synonymous with danger, independence, and the most exciting kind of freedom.
Artists, philosophers, explorers, and architects are a few of those among us who have begun to reexamine the way our collective “public” space is divided, categorized, accessed, and restricted. Each space we move through—the morning commute, our day at school or the office, eating out at restaurant for dinner—is designated to serve a purpose, and strives to never deviate from its assigned behaviors. This assassination of free space spawned a thriving subculture of people who were interested in renegotiating the terms of the space with which they had been left. Acts of spatial defiance became known as “interventions”, and rumors began to circulate about the happenings that caused traffic to stop, people to pause, and memes to be spread. Flash mobs, free cooperation, open source learning, and street reclamations began to multiply in number, and so the space to freely exchange information became the new booty for today’s pirates. Establishing an environment that successfully takes advantage of the exposed wrinkles in our culture requires a heightened awareness of both the mainstream infrastructure and the idealized quest that inspires the subculture within it. A good pirate is a master of disguise, moving between this shadow and light with surety, and has long left town before his victims realize they have been robbed and his comrades understand the extent of his heroics.
Space can be liberated through direct action and guerilla-style tactics, and it can be freed through the spread of cyber cultures and collectivist living
experiments. It starts by reading an independently published periodical, taking a long walk by the ocean, or re-mapping a forgotten memory. It can spread by
creating new networks of knowledge and experience, and it can inspire others to sail a black flagged ship through a wrinkle in pop culture and embark on a
journey of discovery.
-Meredith Younger, editor
& Joan Wyand, guest editor
space /spays/n. :: 1 a continuous unlimited area or expanse which may or may not contain objects, etc. 2 an interval of time 3 the universe beyond Earth's atmosphere
ship /ship/n. & v. :: 1 (n.) a type of vessel 2 (v.) to embark