Date of Publishing:
March 4, 2020

Dizziness: A Feeling of Disorientation

Georgia Perkins

My body felt spongy and disoriented. I no longer had a sense of the size of the room or where
anyone was within it, I didn’t know where the walls were, or the distance between my elbow
and hip, my chin and the floor. I gave myself over to this dizzying absence of location.

– Karen Sherman, “The Glory Hole”

Dizziness: a feeling of disorientation, a loss of balance, or our capacity to “navigate the unknown.” Ruth Anderwald, Karoline Feyertag and Leonhard Grond argue that “dizziness, marked by an increasing feeling of loss of control and vulnerability, is a midway state at the point where everything and nothing seems possible, where certainty and uncertainty are in superposition.” In Dizziness—A Resource, the editors turn to the potential reading of dizziness as method; as a generative means to shake “normative assumptions and perceptions,” as well as unsettle dominant modes of knowledge production and orientation.

The popularity of the phrase “new normal” amongst news readers implies a drastic shift in lifestyle and reality. However, as Helen Lewis writes, the global pandemic, in fact, exposes preexisting inequalities within society—for example, the unevenly distributed death rates, the invisibility of care workers suggested by lack of PPE, and the gendered responsibility over childcare. For Anderwald, Feyertag, and Grond, dizziness thus effectively proposes a catalyst for change: it unbalances societal monolithic certainties, and enables impermanence, re-orientation, and “con-fusion.”

Eight essays on e-flux, compiled by Georgia Perkins

View all essays on e-flux.