Looking out to the other


Words by Marta Faustino & Francesca Ponzini

So here we are again and this time we want to talk about rules and exceptions.
At first sight, being exceptional takes immediately a positive connotation. We are made to think that standing out from the flock, to achieve more than our counterparts, is our ultimate goal. Exception means outstanding, peculiar, one of a kind – but it also can signify a misfit, a deviation or an oddity.

Why are outstanding behaviours considered exceptions and why shouldn’t these be consider the rule? Or why are rules that cause us distress or that are restrictive just not mere exceptions?

What fascinates us is the transient nature of rules and exceptions. Hopefully, rules will keep growing to incorporate our best exceptions. Some others will still remain so, beyond the limit of what is acceptable.

Still, one thing pops to mind – there is in us this voyeuristic instinct of looking out to the other. Whether our position is as an exception or as a rule, we’re always looking outwards or inwards depending where we’re at. And we’re always changing positions, depending on the situation. We’re not always the rule, we very rarely are just an exception.

Armed with these thoughts, we collated pieces from areas as diverse as physics or love in the look for different perspectives:

There are cases, like in the piece To begin again from the beginning where people have opted out of the normative society; others where one feels like an exception when one really shouldn’t as in A transgender woman is not an alien; yet others where you feel the weight of the rule such as in The Line; in Towards Arabfuturism/s you’ll see normative views that we hope to change; and others that shouldn’t change but towards whom we feel inevitably attracted as in Serial fascination.

We hope this issue sparks interesting conversations. Because rules and exceptions are so mutable, who knows?, next time we talk perhaps some of them might have changed.

So let’s get talking.