Study across Borders 

Crossing through and banging into Borders


Protagonists: Anette Baldauf, Tesfaye Bekele Beri, Fasil Giorgis, Dawit Girma, Stefan Gruber, Martha Halle Hagos, Moira Hille, Mihret Kebede, Annette Krauss, Ermyas Legesse, Shalom Lemma, Vladimir Miller, Mara Verlič, Hong-Kai Wang, Julia Wieger, Emnet Woubishet, Helen Zeru.  

Scheme: The Grand Housing Program aims to construct up to fifty thousand housing units per year, creating forty thousand jobs and supporting fifteen hundred micro- and small enterprises. 


Site: Jemo Condominium Site I, II and III are satellite cities approximately eight kilometers southwest of the Addis Ababa city center. Construction started in 2006. Total amount of newly introduced units: ten thousand; expected number of dwellers: fifty thousand. 

(Parts of this section have been adapted from the essay ‘Study across Borders: Addis Ababa – Vienna’ previously published in Spaces of Commoning: Artistic Research and the Utopia of the Everyday on pp.198-216).

‘Study Across Borders’ is based on a collaboration with students and teachers from the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design and the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC) at the University of Addis Ababa. Formally, the collaboration relied on institutional contacts; it was framed as a workshop and generously hosted by the Alle School. Initially, the study group based in Vienna proposed to colleagues in Addis to look into the urban transformation of the capital of Ethiopia. We had read about the Grand Housing Program (GHP), established by the government in 2004 to improve overall housing conditions, and the satellite cities built from scratch resonated with some features of the grand social housing complexes following Vienna’s Settlers’ Movement (see Study Across Time). This constellation provoked many questions within our group. We tried to work against, along and beyond the tricky connections we made to the Red Vienna housing initiative1 and its proclaimed modernisation in the early twentieth century. With this in mind, we approached our colleagues in Addis and asked if, together, we could visit one of the GHP locations and explore it as site of un/commoning. 


The encounter heavily redirected our focus, as we navigated between the recognition of the situatedness of our knowledge and the precarious making of a ‘we’. This necessarily included the problems and complexities when travelling with a concept and practice, namely an idea of commoning that originates from a Western and Global North perspective. Our meeting was embedded in epistemic conditions of coloniality, and bound by the stark, uneven distribution of resources as much as the violence of Western immigration regimes. Recognising and working on these unresolved tensions and forms of uncommoning, the following text gives insights into the process and different practices that emerged through these encounters, that were invigorated by both communicating and miscommunicating across borders. 


One of the practices that we further developed in these encounters — and now in this text — are conversations that lead to the ‘sticky terms of and for the commons’. These sticky terms speak to the untransferability of the term, concept and practice of the commons and commoning from the Global North to the Global South, or its violence when doing so. Using the commons as a lens, our aim was to approach etymologies, histories, practices and impossible translations as they circulate in written, spoken and embodied languages in a specific context. Based on workshop conversations, the collaboration developed a set of entries — some of which reference important literature for the group, while others are edited from the conversations. These entries asked how these etymologies, histories, practices and impossible translations relate to commoning as a micro-political instance, as a set of material conditions, relations and attitudes in the immediate neighbourhood, as well as recurring trajectories that have been compounded by geopolitical, neoliberal forces such as gentrification or financialization. Some of these entries found their way into this text.

Sticky term of and for The Commons:2


’The word itself, “research,” is probably one of the dirtiest words in the indigenous world’s vocabulary. When mentioned in many indigenous contexts, it stirs up silence, it conjures up bad memories, it raises a smile that is knowing and distrustful. [...] The ways in which scientific research is implicated in the worst excesses of colonialism remains a powerful remembered history for many of the world’s colonised peoples.’

— Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (1999).

Sticky term of and for The Commons:


‘Africa as a name, as an idea, and as an object of academic and public discourse has been, and remains, fraught. [...] Indeed, Africa is not only perpetually caught and imagined within a web of difference and absolute otherness. More radically, the sign is fraught because Africa so often ends up epitomizing the intractable, the mute, the abject, or the other-worldly.’

— Achille Mbembe and Sarah Nuttall, Writing the World from an African Metropolis (2004).

Crossing Seven:

Can You Teach Me? 

By Moira Hille, Annette Krauss, Ermyas Legesse, Shalom Lemma

Shalom Lemma: When we walked through the meda, children were playing there. I would like to investigate the meda a bit more.

Moira Hille: What kind of space is it? What do you know about medas?

Ermyas Legesse: In urban communities, we use the medas for playing soccer and shepherds take their cattle there to graze. Today, it’s rare that you find these large medas unless they are near a river, where people tend not to build as the soil is not so strong. You will see adults and kids playing soccer, kids running around. And you see a lot of nature. We just use them to play around.
SL: There are fewer and fewer medas in urban spaces, due to the boom in construction. The medas have been degraded and given over for other purposes. 

EL: They are rare, but if you walk around a lot on foot, you will find them. Here the open spaces are not well taken care of, and nobody seems to pay attention.

AK: I have a map of Addis, and there are a lot of medas on it. 

MH: This is actually funny because on my map of Addis there are hardly any medas.

AK: I identified a few. Two are just behind the school building. I saw them from the upper floor of the Alle School. People are hanging out, kids are playing soccer. 

MH: Here on my map, there are only a few medas — it does not show a lot of green in the inner city.

AK: If you zoom in on this map, it says if it is a meda or not. I wonder who made this map. 

EL: But you see, this meda, for example, is enclosed and nobody can get into it.

AK: Does this mean that it is not a meda at all? How do you read this map? Can you teach me? 

MH: It would be interesting to go to these medas, look at them, and investigate further. It would be important to learn more about the relationship between communal spaces and the medas

Crossing Six:

Buying and Selling

A Project by Tesfaye Bekele Beri 

For Wax and Gold, a public art performance, I aimed to stimulate reflection on the condominium houses in Ethiopia. The performance took place on a public street, where I auctioned off scale models of the condominium houses to the public. The event took place at a time when the government began registrations for those spaces, so the mentality of selling and buying a space (especially condominium flats) was very present. People, the media, everybody were talking about condominium houses. 

I built small models of condominium houses according to the four types the government provided. During the performance, people were very active. They raised questions and criticised the role of the government, they engaged in Addis’ public spaces and participated in discussion. They talked with each other about this current situation and there was a lot of bargaining, since some buyers resold their models. This process of buying and selling allowed for a broader discussion about events in Addis.

Tesfaye Bekele Beri, “Wax and Gold” Project, 2013, Addis Ababa. Photo: Tesfaye Bekele Beri. Courtesy of the artist.

Planning: Site of Un/commoning 

Our research in Vienna evolved through our collective study as/of commoning, finding inspiration both in our internal group processes (see yellow pages) and in Vienna’s settlers’ movement at the turn of the twentieth century. For our third site, we collaborated with the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design and the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC) at the University of Addis Ababa. Initially, to our colleagues in Addis, we proposed looking into the Ethiopian capital’s urban transformation. We had read about the Grand Housing Program (GHP), established by the government in 2004 to improve overall housing conditions, both in satellite cities built from scratch and in large-scale resettlements, as some of their features resonated with the grand social housing complexes following Vienna’s settlers’ movement (see Study Across Time). 

With our colleagues in Addis, we wanted to share and challenge the insights and methods we had developed in Vienna. We also wanted to engage in a common practice. Could we envision the massive block formations of the Grand Housing Program as a glimpse of a future to come? Drawing on José Esteban Muñoz’s methodology of cruising utopia, could these new sub-cities, built from scratch, allow for a speculative walk into the past? As new residents moved from patched-together, single-storey neighbourhoods into solid, multistorey blocks, which offered four apartment typologies to choose from, would the processes of spatial and social adjustment make visible the aspects of their everyday life that were previously taken for granted? Would it bring multilayered practices of commoning to the fore — the self-help associations, the infrastructures of reproductive labor and close-knit networks of care? Finally, would it be possible for the newly arrived residents to compensate for the loss of old networks by weaving new connections? 

Upon our arrival in Addis Ababa, the premise of utopia as a critical methodology was immediately lost in translation. The concept of utopia, we quickly learned, is another sticky concept. It is enmeshed within a multiplicity of other, equally adhesive elements: the conflation of development and Westernisation, for instance, or the teleology of evolution and progress, all imbued with the ideology of modernisation and its condition of coloniality. 

Sticky term of and for The Commons:


Our collaborators from the Alle School and the EiABC were quick to point out that from the mid-1970s to 1991, Ethiopia lived out the utopia of the Marxist Derg regime. Hundreds of thousands were killed as a result of the Red Terror; mass deportations and famine were used as means for destruction. In the 2015 election, the now-ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was credited with 100 percent of the votes, and Ethiopians once again confronted the realities of absolute utopia. In 2004 the government presented the “Addis Ababa Integrated Regional Development Plan” (“master plan” in short), which aimed to introduce five hundred thousand new housing units. The master plan drew an image of the city to come; it was a totalized bird’s eye perspective, abstracted from everyday life. In 2015 the government reaffirmed the plan and announced its plans for expansion. But underneath it all, or maybe above or behind the widespread suspicions about the concept of utopia looms Addis’ colonial heritage and the understanding of utopia as a means of the politics of Western modernization, which uses abstract concepts like development, progress, and modernization as a cover to further exploit and widen excess inequalities. 

Crossing 8

Commoning facing the violence of border politics

Crossing Five:

Why Is It Done Like This?

By Vladimir Miller, Emnet Woubishet, Helen Zuru


Emnet Woubishet: The residents told us that they fenced off the compound with a wire-mesh fence about three months ago. They said that without a fence anyone can get in, and out and they wanted to protect their children.

Helen Zuru: It is not only that the parents were scared that somebody might come in from the outside, but also that animals and small children might get lost.

EW: Maybe they are also afraid that at night animals like hyenas come inside. The fence keeps animals out.

VM: Do any of these households keep cattle?

HZ: Hannah, one of the residents we spoke to said she just came back from feeding the sheep. [...] Hannah said it will take her time to get to know everybody around here and to engage in the Idir.

VM: Hannah mentioned that when the residents move in, they first complete the interior spaces, their own space. Now that two years have passed, most of the residents have finished working on their apartments and are now starting to take care of the communal spaces. This is why the fence only appears now. It took the residents two years to organise themselves in such a way that they could finance the fence collectively. 

EW: Hannah also talked about the communal gardens: any of the residents can cultivate the small strips of land around the houses. Her father made the garden because he wanted to grow potatoes. Anybody can participate in gardening. It is done according to people’s interest and availability. Most people living here commute for work; they don’t have time for gardening. Hannah’s father stays at home; that is how he can do it. 

VM: The gardens are placed in what seem to be leftover spaces — between the building and the outer fence in the corner. Wouldn’t it be more practical to use a part of the central space for gardening. Why is it done like this? 

EW: When we asked the residents, they mentioned that the central space is reserved for the building up of tents for bigger communal events and activities — for example, in case of a funeral. It also functions as a playground for the children and as parking. The space in-between the wall and fence is more suitable for plants because they are more protected. 

EW: The big plot of land, which is used for events like weddings and funerals, is also used to dry clothes. Clothes are mostly hand-washed and dried in the sun. The laundry line belongs to everyone. That is a commoning element. 

VM: We also saw a herbal garden. One person did this, but everybody can pick fresh herbs there.

EW: Yes, herbs are used in small amounts, so everyone can take some. These plants are mostly used for medicinal purposes so everyone is invested in protecting them. 

HZ: In my house, we have these types of plants a lot, and our neighbours knock and ask if they can pick a little if somebody is ill in their family. 

VM: It seems we misunderstood the fences around the small garden in the beginning. The fences are actually a protection against animals and not necessarily an enclosure of communal space since, as you have explained, everybody is welcome to join in with the gardening. 

Undoing Research 

As we gave up on our methodological framework — our own abstract utopia of collaboration — we turned to face a very basic question: What can we study together? What are the borders that we encounter or re-enact? How can we hold firm on our attempt to cross borders, despite — or perhaps because of — the irreconcilability of this togetherness?


At the Alle School, together with the students and teachers, we sat down in a circle and started collecting different words for commoning practices and spaces. We exchanged experiences with the formalisation of neighbourhood banks; we compared different networks of care and obligation. 


When we study together, can we explore new frameworks of looking, listening and making? In common, can we transcend the limits of phenomenology and move beyond the parameters of what we are used to seeing, hearing and narrating? Can we transcend the limits of our bodily situatedness, our partial perspectives and limited repertoire of experiences? Together, can we unlearn our prejudices, unlearn othering and estrangement? To un-hear, un-see and un-narrate our perception? 


As we discussed the potential of commoning, the visions driving them, and the borders that continuously bind them, our focus moved to the conditions of our own coming together. Is it possible to engage in a common study in light of current European immigration politics, the fences and walls erected around us? Is it possible to study across borders, to study the crossing of borders without fetishizing the irrevocable failing in it? 

Sticky term of and for The Commons:


‘You have come from Vienna to study with us commoning. Here we are studying together. Soon you leave and we will not be able to visit you and study commoning in Vienna. Is that commoning?’

(School of Commoning, zine, 2015)


‘Dear Border, How is it going? Have you been on holidays recently. If not — how about taking a break? Being off for some time?’

(From the poster Dear Border, 2015)

Sticky term of and for The Commons:

Border, again and again!

‘Borders are not only geographic but also political, subjective (e.g. cultural), and epistemic; […] the very concepts of border implies the existence of people, languages, religions, and knowledge on both sides linked through relations established by the coloniality of power.’

(Tlostanova and Mignolo, Learning to Unlearn, p.62).


Crossing Four:

Where Are We?

Reflections by Vladimir Miller and Anette Baldauf 

We find ourselves in the middle of the vast grass meadow just behind the main road at Jemo Condominium Site. We look around. We are surrounded by a panorama of buildings, roads and yards. Buildings appear as standardised model houses, as though carefully placed in an architectural rendering. We study the panorama from a distance. A bull appears out of nowhere and we jump to run out of its way, thinking it might chase us. It is silly and funny and, afterwards, our laughter mixes with the shock of non-belonging still buzzing in our bodies. 


On the meadow looking at the condominium blocks, the scene we find ourselves in is overdetermined and overwritten. The official narrative for this site is one of modernisation and the government’s aim to create adequate housing. But there are many other stories, some told in whispers, some discussed behind closed doors. Who lived on the land before the construction workers arrived? Whose cattle grazed here? Who collected firewood in that forest? How do we measure a city’s well-being when uprooting a life is a justified measure? And who are we to question motivations and desires for modernisation? 


So we stand there, trying to observe and listen — but we cannot grasp what we see and hear. We cannot make sense of it. We don’t move because we don’t know which direction to take. Doing research is such a strange way to get to know a neighbourhood. We turn and only see ourselves: sticking out like sore thumbs, our presence is all too obvious. A group of mostly white researchers scrutinising, measuring, judging, dismissing, before finally returning to their comfort zone. Keeping a safe distance to the object of study, since, after all, it is far closer than it appears. The call for improvement, for change and development is an echo of well-known imperatives. We feel implicated, guilty by association in that mad improvement paradigm that the project of Western modernity let loose on the world. The housing blocks appear as foreign to the landscape as we are walking between them. So, what to do here in this kaleidoscope of global relations — this experimental laboratory of a utopian future and the past? Can we meet here and not do anything, or at least nothing productive? Can we simply watch and be aware of our lenses, listening and acknowledging sonic registers? 

Spaces of Commoning research group, School of Commoning, 2015, Addis Ababa. Photo: Stefan Gruber. Courtesy of the artists.

Dear Border,

Commoning Seminar, Forum Alpbach 2015

Participants of the Commoning Seminar, Forum Alpbach 2015, Poster. Courtesy of the artists. 


Attempts for Eight Crossings

Crossing One:

How Will We Live?

A Question Addressed to Fasil Giorgis


Fasil Georgis: The UN-Habitat studies of the 1980s and 90s said that Addis Ababa was 80 per cent slum. This is a very depressing statement for the leaders of any country. In 1974, when the military regime nationalised extra housing in Addis Ababa, there were a lot of kebele houses that soon started to decay, as people who did not own their own homes rarely wanted to invest in renovations. Between 1974 and the early 1990s, the city was going downhill; there were war and famine. The slums addressed by UN-Habitat were evident. This is why politicians wanted something that would radically transform the existing city — they wanted a brave, modern, new-world city. We were not against improvements in housing, but we were very cautious about the price. When I say price I don’t mean the cost of building, I mean the social price, the resettlement. We took an in-between position: we said, yes, we can have medium high-rise buildings, but be careful about the urban fabric. Eventually, our approach was incompatible with the image of the city the politicians wanted to create. 


When the Grand Housing Program was initiated, some of us were involved and pushed for better neighbourhood planning and social consciousness.

The pilot project made us realise that, for politicians with an ambitious plan, it is very difficult to break from a grand-scale programme. We have seen this in many parts of the world: the politicians aggressively went for it and in the end there was very little neighbourhood planning. They created four modern types of apartments: A, B, C and D. Four types of apartments! For me it was a shock: how can you remake a city with such a typology? It condemned all of us to live the same way. The aim was to create cost-effective, easy-to-manage housing. From the decision-makers’ point of view, they introduced thousands of new apartments and blocks, people were moving, they were happy. It was an improvement on areas where there were no proper toilets or water supplies. But on the other hand, the social cohesion — the community, the social fabric — was torn apart. When the first condominiums were built people asked, ‘how will we live?’ Almost every Ethiopian family prepares food at home but this cannot be done easily in an apartment. Will people be happy to go upstairs and make their injera? People were asking how they would maintain their community life — for example, where would we set up the tents for funerals or weddings? In old neighbourhoods, people have known each other for years; everybody looks after each other. There are social organisations called Idir. When people move into these new condominiums, these organisations are disrupted. This was what urban anthropologists, geographers and some of us architects feared. 


In the traditional neighbourhoods, many people are unemployed — they work in the informal sector, mostly close to their neighbourhood. When you take people ten kilometers out of the town, or into suburbs like Jemo, you see that their source of income is disrupted. I have learned that when the condominiums are built close to the original settlement, they have a better chance of housing the same people, meaning people are closer to their source of income. 


As it turns out, the social networks are robust; society depends on and needs these community organisations. I recently visited the condominiums in Canissa, when a relative of mine died. I went there and I was very curious to see how the funeral was going to take place because in low-rise housing people put up tents — they use the Idirto help the family. I visited the condominiums and the people sat in the corridors and on the balconies and the verandas. They told me that the new neighbours had already formed a kind of Idir and that people were trying to help. 

Crossing Three:

From Miscommunication Station to Eight-Second Sonic Refuge 

By Tesfaye Bekele Beri, Dawit Girma, Hong-Kai Wang, Mihret Kebede


There is a great gap between those who are free to speak and those who are governed into silence. Our bodies simply cannot cross that gap easily, and neither can our tongues. At Jemo Condominium Site II, we do a small exercise: we interview one another as if we were on a radio show, reflecting on our conversation with a family displaced from Piazza. 


(A cell phone rings) 

Tesfaye Bekele Beri: Mihret, we are in the second minibus.

Dawit Girma: Yes, the second minibus.

HKW: Do you want to talk about how the frequent relocations from one condominium site to another make it very difficult to build trust among neighbours?

DG: The problem with trust at this site is that people here come from different areas. They don’t know each other and even if there is an open space, it is not functioning. The person we talked with needs to reestablish his social life every time he moves. Mihret, do you want to comment on that?

Mihret Kebede: I don’t know what you are talking about.

DG: The lack of trust people have. For instance, how people don’t allow their children to live and play with the community.

MK: They have not known the neighbourhood for a long time. In their previous living situation, they had lived in a neighbourhood for a very long time so they knew they could trust each other. Here everybody is from a different place. People here have no idea who lives next to them.

TB: When you went inside his apartment, I stayed outside. Did you meet his children?

DG: Yes, he has two children.

HKW: We talked to one of them. The girl said she does not play with 
the kids from the condominium block. She only plays with her little brother. 

MK: Her dad doesn’t trust the neighbourhood enough to let her go outside. And there is no space to play. So he sends her to her grandmother’s house and his friends.

HKW: The daughter said that her schoolmates who live in Jemo I have more communal spaces.

TB: Why did he move to Jemo I from Jemo III?

MK: Because of the high rent. 


We have called this constellation a miscommunication station: the politicians, who try to respond to the needs of the society operate top-down. From the outset, this fails to address what is needed on the ground. Yet most people are unable to freely complain and respond to this system. They prefer to be silent as they know the consequences of speaking out. 


Caught between fear and desire to speak out, the Jenmo I residents we spoke with expressed discontent with this mode of research. This short conversation was brought to a halt, leading to very little overall benefit for the community. However,  we were then engaged in an act of listening, aware that we had contributed to the atmosphere of fear. 


We have attempted to sketch out an idea of freedom in the form of radio waves: an ‘eight-second sonic refuge’. 


There is only one private radio station in Ethiopia. The rest are government-controlled in one way or another. Radiophonic expressions and transmissions are authorised by the ruling system that we live under. These governmental stations do not operate without restrictions. Journalists who work there have divulged to us that the stations play a trick with programmes that may brush up against any conceivably sensitive subject. They invented an ‘eight-second hold’  tactics during live broadcasts, whether it is an interview with someone influential or a call-in on community issues. They HOLD the transmission for eight seconds before it reaches the audience, so as to fool them into thinking that it is live. If one does the math, can you imagine how many of those eight seconds we have lost altogether? What kind of fragmented temporality are we forced to live in? 


Now that we have come to ‘know of’ the particularities of radio — its temporalities, airwaves, sounds, voices and so on — that are lost in nowhere, we want to build an eight-second sonic refuge, where all can feel safe to speak and pronounce eight seconds of freedom. 

Sticky term:



‘Since 2005, Ethiopia has been implementing an ambitious government-led low- and middle-income housing programme: the Integrated Housing Development Programme (IHDP). The initial goal of the programme was to construct four hundred thousand condominium units, create two hundred thousand jobs, promote the development of ten thousand micro- and small enterprises, enhance the capacity of the construction sector, regenerate inner-city slum areas and promote homeownership for low-income households.’ (UN-HABITAT, ‘The Ethiopia Case of Condominium Housing: The Integrated Housing Development Programme,’ 2011). 


‘Development can best be described as an apparatus that links forms of knowledge about the Third World with the deployment of forms of power and intervention, resulting in the mapping and production of Third World societies.’ (Arturo Escobar, ‘Imagining a Post-development Era?’ 1996). 

Sticky term:



‘Idir is an association established among neighbours or workers to raise funds that will be used during emergencies, such as death within these groups and their families. Idir [characterized as a form of] group life insurance, usually has a large membership and the weekly or monthly membership is minimal and affordable by all. Idir guarantees grieving families, for instance, the complete assistance (financial or otherwise) they seek in times of emergency. Idir members are required to attend funerals and must always be ready to help. Idir can be established by a community or village, in the workplace, or among friends and family.’ (Ayele Bekerie, ‘Iquib and Idir: Socio-Economic Traditions of the Ethiopians,’ 2003).


‘It might be assumed that all members do have friendly relationships, and advice would be received with great warmth. However, there are members who enjoy rumor. In short, not all members are positive thinkers. They create disharmony among members. For example, if you mistakenly did something wrong, you might hear some members talking behind your back as if you did it purposely. This affects your self-esteem and the way others treat you.’ (Interviewee, quoted in Elias Teshome et al., ‘Participation and Significance of Self-Help Groups for Social Development: Exploring the Community Capacity in Ethiopia,’ 2014). 

Crossing Two:

How Do We Hear?

A Concern Raised by Hong-Kai Wang and Mihret Kebede


Listening is a way of studying together, without the pressure of preparing a speech or authorizing oneself. At the Jemo Condominium Site II, we take several silent walks in small groups and listen to what comes within earshot. In between the walks, we describe to one another what we have heard until we exhaust our responses. Later on, we do another listening exercise in small groups and try to strike up conversations with the residents of Jemo about their everyday life. 

Inspired by sound art collective Ultra-red’s pedagogical work3, we do the listening exercises in a context that not everybody involved is familiar with. Some of us live in Addis Ababa and the others live in Europe. ‘What did you hear?’ we ask one another. There is the sound of wind rattling the shack; there is the sound of construction from afar; there is the sound of music playing from a stereo nearby; and there is also something that some of us cannot make out. 

Is there a single listening moment for us to grasp? Perhaps, or perhaps not. The sounds come to us all at once from the environment, and in order to make sense of what we hear, we filter through our preconceptions. 

We shape the listening process and presuppose what we hear when we talk with some of the Jemo residents. They complain a lot about the management and the infrastructure of the condominium. It appears that the needs of the community simply cannot be met by a top-down system. 

It’s also important to stress how our seeing interrupts the listening process, as what we hear is given meaning by what we see in association. Listening happens within other processes.