O nosso trabalho é fazer pó

«I will show you fear in a handful of dust»

– T. S. Eliot.


«Tinham-nos prometido a chegada da nossa serpente pela tardinha e nessa altura tudo tinha de estar reduzido a pó, a nossa serpente não era capaz de resistir à mais pequena pedra. Onde há outra assim sensível? É uma serpente sem par, foi muito mimada com o nosso trabalho e agora não há ninguém que se lhe compare. Nós não percebemos, deploramos o facto de ela se continuar a chamar serpente. Podia chamar-se pelo menos Madame – se bem que como Madame ela também não teria igual. Mas isso não é problema nosso; o nosso trabalho é fazer pó.»

– Kafka, “Diários”.


“Dust” (Staub), 2007, documentary by Hartmut Bitomsky.


“Dust causes illness, dust makes up the cosmos. (…)

Tons of dust are produced every second by factory emissions, demolitions and quarries. Lignite coal mining sends huge amounts of dust into the air. Particles rise high into the atmosphere, travelling distances of up to 4,000 kilometres. When the coal is burnt at power plants to produce electricity, it creates a fine dust, a mixture of ultra-fine matter which can get into the bloodstream, leading to inflammation of the lungs and damage to the heart. Dust can cause illness. The “Palast der Republik” in Berlin formed the backdrop for the assembly of the former East German political elite, as well as being a recreational centre for the people of the communist state. But when its demolition began, the original structure was found to contain asbestos. The short fibres of this dust-shaped mineral are carcinogenic in large amounts. Following the attacks of September 11th 2001, office workers and residents in New York complained of headaches and respiratory problems. By the end of 2003 more than two thousand firefighters were incapable of working, uninsured and without any claim to help from the government. The dust that had risen from the ruins of the World Trade Center included glass fibre residue, pesticides, radioactive nuclides, lead and arsenic: all of civilisation‘s by-products vaporized and reduced to dust. (…)
But dust is also an elemental matter: it‘s what makes the sky blue. When dust particles collide, they create planets and galaxies. Without dust, there would be no cosmos; without dust, there would be no sky. There exists a particle of dust in every rain drop. It‘s only thanks to a certain amount of dust in the air that humidity condenses and forms clouds.” – Synopsis.


“Dust is the smallest object a film can deal with. Film is dust lighting up in the darkness of a movie theatre. (…) They speak of a dust grain. They speak of a film grain. It’s the smallest visual unit in which the film stock itself becomes visible.”

“Removing dust is a job and a business”.

“I once heard that 95 percent of the dust in a home, in an apartment, comes from people: skin particles, hair, dandruff. So dusting means you deal with yourself. Actually, you can’t ever win the battle.”

“Wherever we drop the work and life comes to a standstill, dust collects”.

“Dust and science both belong together, and they don’t. Dust is a kind of interface. There’s something philosophical about it. To me, dust is a kind of proto-matter. It is a phantom particle. It exists out of public eye. Yet it essentially has the ability to create matter. It’s evolution that went wrong. Evolution under the bed. On the one hand, we have a biological evolution where in the beginning there was dust as a kind of fertility charm. We are always emitting dust. It is essentially the ‘personal cloud’ around us, a kind of ‘calling card’ for everyone. The dust in our home is like an archive, a record of what has happened.”

“Dust needs people. Man, culture creates dust, the dust we know at home. But, on the other hand, dust needs our absence in order to collect and grow. It’s always going back and forth. It is like Leibniz said, like a herd where something is added and something is taken away. And the herd needs interaction between man and his environment, and between men themselves. Dust is a partner. We shouldn’t forget. It belongs to us. Man wants to keep the dust out, but it’s one of his very own mediums in a certain sense. Dust is the sediment of Creation, so to speak.”

“We have a constant cycle of gas and dust creating new stars which then give up gas and dust when they die…”


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