Got another art assignment this week & it’s pretty different from all the others. This week’s assignment has to do with ethnography, more specifically pre-electric cultures. Just thinking about a life without electricity seems horrible. I mean we live in an age where almost every activity we do is powered or supported by electricity. Whether that be our little devices we bring everywhere or going to take a shower at night, most of our daily activities require electricity.
Being a Millennial doesn’t help either, I come from a generation of people who connect through the internet & live by our phones, laptops, TVs, etc.
The question we were given was, “When the sun goes down it will get dark! Then what will you do?” Thinking about it, I simply thought, “I’ll probably just go to sleep.” I didn’t really think about anything else I could do because most of my time is spent doing homework on my laptop or watching TV, and if it was homework that was handwritten, the papers had to be printed out & I would need some light to do my work, since I do most of my work at night.
I decided do stay in our back house for this assignment since it’s separate from the main house & I’d be able to really avoid using any electricity. Then, I realized when it started getting dark that there aren’t any windows in the back house, except the one in the bathroom. That being said, it got really dark, really quick.
I thought the experience would be pretty easy & actually a little boring since I would have to think of different ways to entertain myself besides the use of electronics. There was a sense of liberation because I was separated from all my electronics & I was able to take the thoughts of Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook & any other social media out of my head. Although, I don’t think I got better sleep because I usually oversleep, or catch up on sleep, during the weekend anyway. During the school week, I can get pretty sleep deprived, but I have also learned over time that I can function just okay with 4-5 hours of sleep, sometimes even less. Even if I get more hours than that, it’s about the same amount of function.
Living without electricity is more organic or harmonious with nature because it allows people to connect with nature. I think living without electricity allows people to really enjoy the scenery of nature, just like camping. We are removed from the hustle & bustle of city life & put in a quiet place where the noises & sounds we hear aren’t cars or city streets, but the sounds of animals & the trees moving in the wind. But living without electricity would also make living more limited. We aren’t able to do as much in the dark, unless we have some sort of fire as a source of light, but I don’t think it’s boring. Sure there are numerous things I would miss about living with electricity, but I don’t think living without electricity would be completely boring.
I’m sure people found ways to entertain themselves when there was no electricity. My experience has taught me that my mind tends to wander into music to keep myself entertained. I asked my sister to stay with me & we ended up having random conversations or started singing all sorts of songs we knew. I also think people might have gotten ahead by doing the next day’s work as something else they could do.
Personally, I think my ideal level of life activity & connectivity would be something similar to the countryside. There’s still electricity, but people have so much do to in all the open space besides going on the internet & staying at home. I also like the idea of the countryside as well because I think it’s a great balance between indoor & outdoor activities as well as being able to go online & connect with people who aren’t close by.