Yesterday I took my own mug to a coastal picnic at the sea at the end of my street in Blackmans Bay, Tasmania. Last night I get a message from the seafarer with mug #121 to say he is in Singapore, heading to Malaysia next. Today I check the Marine Traffic website and can see the BENEDICT SCHULTE making its way through the Straits of Singapore already in deeper water. I turn off the hybrid layers on my satellite image and see the angular ports and chiselled reclaimed coastline of Singapore give way to forests and coastlines and open sea. From a satellite’s distance the water looks like mercury, finding in every bay and coast a way to connect us. Mercury has a ‘will to connect’, a phrase coined by Hetherington (1997) about the capacity of objects to connect with people on multiple levels. This phrase is also used by Nissa Ramsay (2009) who questions whether souvenir objects might have the capacity to forge connections between people and place. This question is in my mind too as I ponder the social and geographical distance between Blackmans Bay and the Singapore Strait. The sea is all around us.
Hetherington, K. (1997) Museum topology and the will to connect, Journal of Material Culture 2:199-218.
Ramsay, N. (2009) Taking-place: refracted enchantment and the habitual spaces of the tourist souvenir, Social & Cultural Geography, Vol. 10, No. 2, March 2009