„Living in Cities, does this make us sick?“ Which structures let people get sick at all in different cultures?
What it means to be “sick” is a cultural question, even if “I feel sick” at first seems to mean only the individual suffering of a person.
To someone who is ill, something general happens to: the illness. You can name and describe it – and you think to know what causes it. What is the name of the disease? What is changed and does not work?
The illness exists also independently of an ill individual: Others suffer from this illness or have suffered from it. A symptom is triggered when this or that happens in the organism, we know that from experience – even if it is not currently happening.
And then: What are the effects of the disease? Not only individuals suffer from an illness, but also their environment: suffering awakens neediness towards others, your own possibilities are limited. You need something from others and can give nothing to them.
Finally, what or who is to blame?
A society’s culture influences how individual suffering is experienced, how suffering is described, how the connection between suffering and cause is viewed, and how suffering is dealt with. There are considerable intercultural differences in the conception of what it means to be ill and very different reactions to it.
Considering illness as a cultural phenomenon, in the ctp 5.0 project club tipping point would like to address the question of whether living in a city has a particular influence here. Many diseases, somatic as well as psychological, seem to accumulate in urban contexts; circumstances of living in cities seem to be unhealthy at first sight. So we ask: “Does city life make you sick?”. We try to trace this question in different dimensions.
club tipping point is pursuing a second question in this project, based on last year’s painful experience that theatrical forms of elaboration and presentation can make people sick because of too much closeness and thus risking an infection – and that we therefore had to think about low-touch forms such as “theatre in the digital web”: Does this lead to a sustainable gain and an expansion of theatrical forms of expression? Or are we simply happy to be able to return to what we’ve had, to what we know – to a “business as usual”?
In the ctp 5.0 project, we want to use digital media in particular to explore this question.
To be continued!