Deaf geographies, and other worlds.
I was reading something this morning, and I came across a phrase I’d not seen before. The writer referred to the ‘Toothpaste tube’ effect.
Puzzled, I went to look at the article.
Apparently, the toothpaste tube effect is when:
… if you « squeeze » controversial images and comments from one [Internet] service, they outflow and relocate elsewhere.
I’ve not seen this label used before, but I’ve seen the effect… in particular, in Deaf history, where Deaf people become used to being able to produce Deaf spaces in particular locations, and then find themselves squeezed out of those locations, and set up others.
I’ve even written about this in my own work, and used the word ‘squeeze’.
Anyway, that’s not really the point. The point was that it set me thinking about what happens after the squeezing, and the relocating. And what tends to happen is that there’s always a redistribution. Spaces are never quite the same.
Do they change because of attrition? In other words, do some elements never move, and just drop by the wayside?
Do they change because of evolution? Were they, perhaps, ready to change and they took advantage of the move to do so?
Do they change to fit? Is it the case that the new context into which they go isn’t just a void… there’s always ‘something’ there that has its own rules they have to fit with?
Or maybe all, or none, or some of these… and I’m sure there are more.
But it did make me wonder how much work has been done looking at the spatial toothpaste after it’s left the tube, and what spaces and forms it takes. It doesn’t, after all, simply sit there as a minty puddle… it gradually forms another container around itself, another structure, another set of ‘normals’, and then moves on into another life.
Which then took me to a potential project that a friend and colleague of mine is working on to look at what happens when a community (the Deaf community in this case) loses its spaces and places.
The more I think about it, the more fascinating that project is becoming to me.