The container. The ”burgerwrapaper”.

October 15, 2014

No “something” exists in and of itself.

In relation to human understanding, no “something” exists in and of itself, for no something can be removed from the interdependencies it has. These interdenpendencies are both existent in the objects world and in the somethings world, the world of human understanding.

Consider a burger wrapping paper. It’s life is continuously dependent on other things to give it value. But other things in turn are dependent on it to be given value. In this case, the burger. They hold diminished value separated. In turn this is dependent on more somethings, in this case something buying and/or consuming it and thus giving it monetary and nutritionary value as well. Without this the two somethings would also hold diminished value.

Its express purpose is of course to be a container for the burger, which is supposed to be the main something in this case. If that is so, it exists only to keep the burger and those who handle it clean. From each other. (Other reasons might include hiding the burger from sight since it often looks a bit shit or to “spread brand awareness” etc.)

This brings us neatly on to a second point referring to both the container and the thing. How uncleanliness and trash is created. While this is absolutely not exclusive to containers it is far more common for them than most other “somethings”.

The burger is capable of soiling a person while a person is also capable of soiling the burger. Any contact with the burger itself would probably lead both at once, the second part mostly for those who did not touch the burger.

A trashcan filled only with things thrown into it by one person, during a short amount of time, will still be full of trash. All of the trash are obviously things that the person in question had no problem touching or using just moments before.

The burger wrapping paper has its own value and creates value up until the moment it is taken of the burger. From that moment on it is trash. It has not changed in any actual way. It is only the context and its interdependecies that have changed. Since it is rarely viewed as something giving value to the burger but rather something that is only there because of the burger (the burger would obviously also not be there without the burger wrapping paper). This is not a unique characteristic of this specific container but something many containers suffer from. The paper cup containing coffee, the bag carrying your groceries etc.



/Gustav Knochenhauer


2 Responses to “The container. The ”burgerwrapaper”.”

  1. Hi Gustav, Have you been watching the American version of The Killing? I’m almost positive that detective Holder makes a comment about hamburgers there, the difference between a burger in the hand, and a burger on the ground, one is dirt, as in ‘matter out of place’. It occurs to me that this might suggest an alternative way to ‘map’ Sergels Torg. Architects still haven’t gone far enough when it comes to site, we tend to rely on habitual categories of: hierarchies of traffic circulation, building mass and form, program distribution, local effects of climate, etc. What if the site were mapped according to other characteristics, the one’s we don’t usually ‘see’ when we think site, the site according to ‘matter out of place’?

  2. emmarcrea Says:

    Hi Gustav, very interesting post. The question that your piece has conjured up for me is: ‘What is a container without its contents?’

    This led me to think back to Jane Bennett’s piece and the concept of ‘thing power’. Does a container become rubbish or obsolete once its primary function has been carried out, or can it have an afterlife? This seems to come down to perception. One may eat the burger and throw away the wrapper. Another may then see opportunity in the wrapper and put their stale piece of chewing gum in it. Another may use it to make a collage for their school project.

    Although in saying this, there is also a question of ‘how dirty is the wrapper?’. Once it has been used to wrap the burger it becomes covered in oil, cheese and whatever other deliciously gross elements go into the burger itself, and once this has happened it’s value decreases somewhat. Its chance of an afterlife is somewhat ruined by the burger itself. So the thing that gives it life also takes it away and maybe there is some kind of poetic beauty to be found in that idea.

    Is it fine to accept that some containers will have a short life or is this the whole problem with today’s society? Is this letting technology take over and removing awareness from process and do you feel like this is something we should be moving away from?

    Emma Crea

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