First there is the desire to speak. As we discussed, it begins with desire and imagination. Imagination is important. One imagines how one would seize the mike, switch it on and speak one’s mind.
But then it’s technology. The humble hand heldmike becomes an object of curiosity, embedding within itself the framework of the complexity of a black box, it refuses to switch on. And when another tech savvy discussant helps (it works thank god!!) one is left feeling that an inanimate object has got the better of you.
By the afternoon session, most people had got a hang of the mike. Some even managed to switch it on at one go, and voila! The mikes were interchanged. The MCPH mikes that go on with a “long press button” were exchanged for the mike with a double slide and left the participants ‘voiceless’ for a while.
It was back to the mike school.
The other interesting practice around the mike is the way a mike is passed around the table. It reminds one of the old native American ritual of passing the pipe of peace or of athletic teams passing around the trophy. By itself, this ritual would not make sense but viewed in contrast with another event that precedes this, it seems very curious.
When the lead discussant asks people to start commenting on the topic at hand, there is a mike resistance period: no one wants to hold the mike.
… To be continued.