If you have visited The Infinite Nothing, you would probably notice that the whole exhibition space is composed by a number of audio/visual equipment. One of the daily duties of us as an exhibition attendant is to communicate with the technical supporting team in Hong Kong whenever there is a problem with the AV system, and try to fix it with their help and instructions. Afterwards, we would also need to write a tech log to record all the details and process.
One morning before the opening, the electricity went out in the exhibition venue. After initial checking, our diagnosis points to the source of Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker (ELCB) that came from one of the powerbars connecting to the system. It is a powerbar with 13A, yet with a socket plug-in of 10A.
Bringing both the Hong Kong and Italian powerbars we have, trying to source for something suitable in the hardware shop nearby, you would realize the mentality of the Venetian hardware staff and technicians are very different from the technicians or ‘sifu’ in Hong Kong. No doubt that the language would be one of the ‘significant’ barriers of communication (most of them only speak Italian), yet there are more to it.
Initially we have a ‘wild’ wish that we could find a hardware shop that a staff would help us custom-made a powerbar, but in reality we have to go through three hardware stores in order to find the plug-in we needed; and waited for the staff for another 5 minutes the find out the price of the plug-in in a 3 cm-thick catalogue. Compare to Hong Kong, if you were not intending to chit-chat with the ‘sifu’ for 15 minutes, you would probably spend less than 3 minutes in the store, or even 30 seconds if you are very clear with what you want.
Besides efficiency, there is also a significant difference in price difference, varies from 3 to 10 times more expensive; no matter of it is an item or a service. It certainly would make you wonder why you have to pay much more for a less efficient service (in terms of time). But on the other hand, it might be an example of how we are so used to solving any the technical/electrical problem with the convenience of consuming a new service/product.
We have two handy/mini torches for the dark environment in the exhibition venue. One of them is quite fragile, if you carelessly dropped it on the ground, the little pieces of component within will fall apart and it will take you around 10 minutes to fix it again; (actually it’s almost broken – you need to twisted it to certain angle, in order to make it work again). Despite the time-consuming process, you would still try/learn to fix it again instead of buying a new one, once you realized something that costs HKD 10 in Hong Kong costs EUR 10 in Venice.
It is no doubt that this is two very different cultures and living environments, being in two very different and unique cities, but perhaps this question should be considered further – if we have a higher consumption power and thus easier solution by replacing our possession, does it means that we should not utilize any item to it fullest, and actually, ignore our inherent ability to fix and mend problems?
When a task becomes not as easy to fulfill “as usual”, maybe you will start to appreciate the profession and effort of a technician/electrician, and thus, start with respecting their right to their lunch breaks.
/ Special Inserts /
15 types of Plug ＆ Socket