J.B. Chapter 3 Response
When I returned to the ERP Track the first time since leaving the NYU Cross Country Team I had this strange empty feeling towards the track. Before the inorganic rubber track was a symbol of hell. It was where I worked out over and over again, pushing my body to its physical limit. When I returned though, at 6:30am with a cup of coffee in one hand and a camera in the other, I didn’t feel the same ill will towards my ecology. I started to look at it from a different perspective. What did the track mean to certain people? What powers did the track possess? My relationship with the track, a human and nonhuman, had refreshed into a new direction.
Our relationship with food is that we consume it. We enjoy fatty foods, eat veggies & fruits to be healthy, and know that consuming food helps sustain our body. Yet, never had I considered that I had this relationship with the food I ate. The food I choose affects me. I think Jane Bennett is attempting to propose, via trash, food, etc, that us, our environments, and the materials within have self-organized into sub-divisions upon sub-divisions of differing relationships, meanings, and powers. In Chapter 3 Bennett treats food as an “actant”. For example, one of the effects of food Bennett introduces is the “crisis of obesity”. One of the effects of, say my ERP track, would be “combating the crisis of obesity”. You won’t be feeling the “crisis of obesity” effect if you eat one banana. Your relationship to a single banana is that it’s a healthy snack, nothing wrong. If you eat 100 bananas however, the relationship changes. At the conclusion of chapter 3 Bennett writes, “(Food) is one of the many agencies operative in the moods, cognitive dispositions, and moral sensibilities that we bring to bear as we engage the questions of what to eat, how to get it, and when to stop” (51). Bennett is the type of writer who doesn’t see any material as a one-definition object. They are never static, but constantly changing, evolving, redefining. Food keeps us alive, but also keeps us healthy, yet also has the ability to change our moods or how we appear on the outside. The sub-divisions and sub-divisions go on and on and on.