Public Transport: The Impossible Challenge

giphy2

by giphy.com

I fucking hate people in public transport. There is no other way to describe it: Most people in the subway are making me furious and I almost forget my inner peace and all that mindful breathing and shit and I would love to yell the crap out of them.

BUT I DON’T
because you know violence is not an option and I am trying to be a better person and all that stuff.

However, I would like to discuss what exactly is problematic in public transportation. Whether people are blocking the way, talking loud or pushing others in the train: Most cases are caused by utter mindlessness and that is what upsets me the most. To me, it is very frustrating since I am usually struggling between bursting into a rant or meditating my angry ass down while others obviously don’t give a single fuck about their behaviour. ZERO.

Here are the Top 10 of people in public transport that upset me starting with things I can kind of understand to things I have zero sympathies with :

  • #10: Regular drunk people
    Ok, they usually don’t upset me and just make me sad.
  • #9: Smelly people
    Whether it’s due a very bad snack choice, alcohol, personal hygiene or health condition. I usually understand it and simply find me another place to stand/sit.
  • #8: People sharing their argument with the entire train
    I do have some little understanding for it because sometimes you are just very emotional and you can’t keep it down. However, after 20min you should try to find a better place to solve your situation.
  • #7: Drunk party people
    Ok, I get it. You want to have the time of your life and this is why you chuck down cheap booze. Fine, I’ve been there too. Just make sure you don’t bother others too much.
  • #6: People taking several seats for no reason
  • #5: People sharing their music with the entire train
  • #4: People blocking in the way by standing
  • #3: People blocking the way by walking slow AF
  • #2: Big (school) groups because they are pretty much a mix of everything
  • #1: People who are pushing

Among these things, you have different motivations and reasons. While some things occur out of simple unawareness or conditions that you just can’t change (I would say that applies to #10 – #6) others were based on a selfish decision. In the following, I would like to explain what exactly my problem is with my top 5.

Sharing your music with the entire train

giphy

I get it. You are either in the belief that your taste in music is some kind of unique cultural experience that has to be spread or you need attention. Whatever it is for that moment you are placing your own needs above the needs of everyone else in the train. This is selfish. I highly doubt that anyone is unaware of the volume of their music if they turn it on full blast without headphones. Like bitch pls.

Blocking the way by standing

giphy

by giphy.com

It’s just straight up mindless. Most people I have encountered were not blocking the way because they decided to do so or because they are mean. I am talking about the ones who get on the train, stop there immediately so everyone behind them can’t get inside. I am usually not judging the individual person but the fact that they fail to have a look around them sucks. My wish is people could realize that it’s not enough just to look after yourself. After all, it’s a shared space and mindfulness is important. I don’t think it’s too much to say: “Hey, I am not the only person using public transport. Let’s make sure others get in as well.”

Blocking the way by walking slow AF

giphy

Get on the train or get out- easy as that. I have no understanding for people who have to do a million things during that process. To make this clear: I am not talking about people who are slow due health conditions. I am talking about people who are trying to extend a conversation while getting out or people who are sucked up into their phone screens and try to read a BuzzFeed article while getting in or any other activity that is slowing down their pace.
GET IT TOGETHER! It’s a.) careless and b.) affecting everyone behind you. Some people need a seat due health condition, some really need to get that train and can’t wait for you to finish whatever dafuq you are doing. Again it’s about you placing your own needs above the needs of everyone else around you. Thank you for nothing.

Big groups

giphy

by giphy.com

Just sum up the stuff above.

Pushing others

giphy1

by giphy.com

So listen, I am probably just as pissed as you are but dammit I get my shit together and don’t physically attack others ok? So dafuq is your justification for using violence instead of words?! Like no. Just no.

I am a really angry woman but even I avoid pushing people as good as I can. Before I get too angry I try to convince myself that each and every annoying situation is due unawareness. On good days I talk to the people, explain my impression and hope for a compromise.
Sometimes you just don’t have the energy or nerves for mindful interaction and that’s ok. On bad days I try to make the train ride less shitty by listening to music or focus on something nicer.  Is the situation really worth ruining my entire day? I doubt it.
There is a difference between embracing your anger and clinging to it. While I do accept the legitimacy of my bad mood I also focus on the fact this annoying situation will be over at some point.

Cherish your exit of that train, maybe curse but you made it without getting into a fight! DOPE!

The right approach on art

A Comment

During my stay in Finland, I managed to visit the HAM (Helsinki Art Museum) and see Yayoi Kusama’s solo show at some point. The exhibition was recommended by a friend and I have seen many pictures of the show on social media already. I knew very little of Kusama at that point since I have only seen documentation of her early performances during a photography exhibition at the TATE. Even now I would not consider myself as an expert on her body of work either.

The main reason why I am writing this comment is an online article published on Dazed Digital (original article here) that I came across with this morning. During a show in LA a visitor broke one of Kusama’s squash sculptures while trying to take the perfect picture in her infinity room – which led to a ban for photography in general proposed by the artist herself.

While I do agree that damaging an art piece is highly disrespectful and also very stupid if you did it for the sake of a private picture, I got very surprised by the comments to the Facebook post of Dazed and Confused Magazine (here). I should have been aware that reading user comments on Facebook is upsetting in the first place but here we are.

Many users made nasty and patronizing comments about how people like that specific visitor are not approaching art the right way. One person stated:

“ART IS MEANT TO BE EXPERIENCED NOT A FUCKING BACKDROP TO YOUR INSECURITIES!”

I know that I am overthinking things right now since I doubt that any of the users ever cared for Art education or communication of Art (Kunstvermittlung). After spending my weekend at Hamburger Bahnhof and discussing ways to approach art with children I perplex on how conservative admires of contemporary art can be.

What is wrong with taking a selfie?

So, first of all, I want to make clear that I think the act of mindlessly taking pictures is annoying as well. Rather than looking with your own eyes, people choose to quickly take a picture instead. Got it. Agree. However, should we not be thankful that the people made it into the museum in the first place? Who gives you the right to tell others how to look at or experience art?

The idea that art is solely for the self-proclaimed intellectuals and excluding people who do not fulfil their standards is making me sick. Does this mean I am not supposed to see the show because among different aspects I enjoyed the aesthetics of Kusama’s work the most?

While my own personal approach on art might be more similar to one of the intellectuals I do have many friends who are not familiar with or used to the museum space. For them taking a selfie in front of a famous painting is their way to enjoy the visit and I am glad they have fun.

The idea that there are a right and a wrong way to approach art is based on the fact that each and every person perceives the surrounding in the same way, which is bullshit on so many levels. Every visitor is an individual and has their own way of dealing with the exhibition. Children will probably deal with these yellow glowing squashes differently and enjoy other aspects than an art student. Neither of their approaches is better or worse.

“those people are useless!
they don’t fucking know that her artworks are the result of a real anguish pain she used to experience since she was young..

just stop the use of phones inside”

If standing in the infinity room taking a selfie makes me aware of the beauty and atmosphere of this installation, why should I not take my phone inside? If being a cool backdrop is all I can take from that artwork, what is so bad about it? At least I did make it to the exhibition and I did support the museum and artist. What exactly is making your approach better than mine?

As an art student myself I can say that most of the people will not understand your art piece the way you see it anyway. Knowing the biography of the artist and the circumstances of a piece will help you appreciate it but I doubt that your interpretation is exactly what the artist meant. Therefore it is not more valid or justified than any other interpretation.

“Makes you wonder, what people actually go to exhibitions for… The selfie/image, or for the exhibitions itself.”

“Neither. It’s all for attention. Even being at that location is for attention. There is no interest in anything else but vanity.”

Patronizing comments of the self-proclaimed intellectuals are a sign of the problematic class-thinking, believing that some people are worth more than others. It is very ironic that admirers of Kusama, an artist who embraced diversity and had troubles with conservative values herself, cling to such an outdated concept. But then again, we live in a time where street art is placed in museums and former criticizers of capitalism such as Yayoi Kusama herself are now working with the fashion industry.