Wifi is apparently an endangered species here at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, so please bear with my intermittent updates.
A few thoughts amid the beginning of the Marathon: It took me about 90 minutes in a cab and 30 GBP to get to Hyde Park, where the Serpentine Gallery is located, and during that time my cab driver spoke about property values and how they became increasingly more expensive during our trip from south to central London. As we were stuck in traffic, uncannily surrounded by a demonstration against income inequality, my cabbie relayed that houses in this neighborhood easily fetch tens of millions of pounds. “Where does this money even come from?” I asked, prompting an obvious response: Oil.
I got into London from Warsaw about a week ago, and one the most shocking differences in social behavior from Eastern Europe to England is the hurried pace pace of pedestrians in this city. Londoners literally run through the many layers of the Tube, bumping into each other on the way. Further, my colleagues have generally gone to social functions all night and work twelve hours the next day, participating in this exhausting professional marathon known as Frieze Week. (It also makes me wonder if my friends’ diligent work ethic in England is connected with a Protestant work ethic.)
Since I’ve been traveling over the past 9 months, I’ve become more aware of how different cities can strain one’s resources in various ways: for example, Warsaw is taxing because I feel alienated by my inability to speak Polish; England is taxing because of the poor value of the dollar and this generally hurried public demeanor I previously mentioned.
Living in a city as taxing as London has prompted me to think about the protection of resources as a means of survival, or essentially, staving off extinction by parsimonious living. Perhaps this is one of the most difficult lessons of life: to be so convinced of future events that it changes the course of your present. One one hand, the very concept of a marathon seems a bit suspect in its exhaustion and taxing of resources (see the story of Pheidippides, who died upon completion of running the first marathon). On the other hand, perhaps the consciousness raising of such endeavors is precisely what might change the course of the present.