chapter  19
These Foolish Things: On Intimacy and Insignifi cance in Mobile Media
ByKATE CRAWFORD
Pages 14

In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard recounts a letter written by Rainer Maria Rilke. Rather than selecting a letter featuring more traditionally poetic themes of love or loss, Bachelard is captivated by an account of housework. Rilke writes at length about polishing his furniture, in particular, the family piano:

[O]ur little piano fell under my jurisdiction as duster. It was, in fact, one of the few objects that lent itself willingly to this operation and gave no sign of boredom. On the contrary, under my zealous washcloth, it suddenly started to purr mechanically . . . and it’s fi ne, deep black surface became more and more beautiful. When you’ve been through this there’s little you don’t know!1