Liquid States and Inner Shipwreck Karin Ohlenschläger
In varying degrees, they all master and practise the art of ‘liquid life’: acceptance of disorientation, immunity to vertigo and adaptation to a state of dizziness, tolerance for an absence of itinerary and direction, and for an indefinite duration of travel.1
This definition of liquid life by Zygmunt Bauman could very well have referred to the extreme conditions experienced by the explorers of the Antarctic a century ago: to their precarious conditions on their way to the unknown, unaware of the abysms of life and indifferent to the hostile white immensity. We are talking about a period when there were lands – or rather seas and ice masses – yet to be mapped, while the known world was blurring in a profound process of change. We are referring to a time when the social models would lose their grip, and the apparently solid and stable structures would become uncertain and transitory. These parameters coincide with those used by Zygmunt Bauman to characterise the contemporary human condition: increasingly more fragile and changeable in the face of the forces of uncertainty and uprooting. 1. Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Life, Cambridge: Polity, 2005.