Waiting Times Collective Session
Dr Michael FlexerZoom
Waiting Times Collective Session: Before Covid-19, and the sudden shutting of doctors’ surgeries to waiting patients, the waiting room had for years enjoyed a contradictory status as simultaneously a site of care and neglect: a place you came to be seen, but where you became temporarily (and temporally) invisible, suspended in waiting time. It was often a space strewn with neglected objects; years-old magazines, broken children’s toys, unread flyers, blank TV screens. Each ‘waiting object’ holds within it a similarly neglected moment, making these objects a museum of invisibilised lost times. Now the waiting room itself is a neglected, invisible object, one that may never return in quite the same deep, complex materiality. We are an interdisciplinary group of researchers working on waiting in healthcare contexts. Our collective session involves a creative re-examination of invisible or un(der)seen ‘waiting objects’, exploring their embedded temporalities through an archaeology of the lost time of waiting. Researchers will bring ‘waiting objects’ from each of the projects’ sites – not only objects from GP waiting rooms, but poems understood as objects in the context of waiting for social justice, puberty blockers as objects in the context of waiting in and for trans-health, ‘coughing coffins’ in the context of those struggling for breath as an ongoing part of life. Bringing together methodologies of semiotics, performance, psychoanalysis, history and ethnography, we will discuss these temporal treasures, bringing out the meanings and moments materially bound within them, and exposing new forms of invisibilising, neglect and forgetting by healthcare bureaucracies.