Cubicle Twelve

by Gareth Sénèque


Speeches in a shower, sentences for no-one. Legs that carry me from breakfast nook to balcony cradling a mug of warmth and promise. Eyes that watch as a city wakes, steam literally billowing from the tops of buildings like in old films selling dystopia. A future, here, today. It is two-thousand-and-thirteen, six years and some months away from the Los Angeles of Blade Runner. Time remains mechanical in its passage, and all I have is who I am.

I prepare to leave for a day’s labour. My movements are brief, routine. Everything I touch is made of glass; flesh and blood moving through a glass apartment. Screens small medium and large offer me all kinds of information. Some accept my gestures and change what they offer in both form and content, others beam what may as well be static, their messages fixed by unseen hands.

Soon I’m on a train, a silver carriage that moves underneath the clean streets above, through tunnels gored into the subsurface earth and then up and out into the morning light, the boom of an aircraft flying skyline-low competing with the screech of the train’s brakes. All halt. My stop is theirs too and as I file quietly into the throng I cannot help but feel love. Ours is a unity of purpose most often absent in the aimless formation of groups and crowds.

My cathedral awaits. It is tall and made of glass too. Here I work with the invisible systems behind Product. Technical systems, as in computers or more specifically the data they store. That’s the real story of our civilisation: data, grouped information, stored relationally, represented and representable in an almost infinite number of ways. The game for me is making temporary truths out of selections from this infinity, calling the machine to task, suiting the needs of those who ask, often men in suits but sometimes women too. I was born for this, I think. I could not live in any other time.