The Spur Questionnaire: Jaya Beange

Jaya Beange
Jaya Beange

Jaya Beange is a student, teacher, thinker and maker currently residing in Winnipeg. She is interested in the dynamic that exists between ethics and aesthetics, and in how a shared appreciation of the aesthetic experience can serve as a foundation for community.

Tell us about your role with Spur.
I was one of the RBC Emerging Scholars.

In the last year, what is the longest you have gone ‘unplugged’?
Every year I usually spend at least a few days tenting or at a cottage where there’s no cell reception. I relish these opportunities, even though there’s always a nagging feeling that someone is needing an immediate response. I unplug myself from Facebook more intentionally, sometimes for months at a time when I’m busy with deadlines.

Which book is currently on your nightstand?
I am in the middle of reading three books: Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman, Karsten Harries’ The Ethical Function of Architecture and David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.

What is the one item you never leave home without?
In addition to the things I consider to be basics (house keys, wallet, cell phone) I will usually bring along a Moleskine notebook and Lamy fountain pen. I always hope to find a few minutes to sketch and to brainstorm ideas.

Do you have any friends you have never met in person?
As a teenager I used to actively meet people online, curious to learn about life in other countries. Now that my network has grown larger and I have travelled more myself, I don’t feel as much need to do so. I met a few of those people in person after years of online messaging and I appreciate the role they played in enriching my world view.

Do you have a favourite podcast?
I have three favourite podcasts: NPR’s Radiolab (on anything and everything), Radiotopia’s Ninety Nine Percent Invisible (on design and the built world) and CBC’s Under the Influence (on marketing).

Who was the last person you texted?
Many of the people closest to me still don’t have cell phones and I choose to make phone calls wherever possible. I do however text close friends who won’t be put off by curt messages used to coordinate logistics. I asked Apollo to pick up some sunflower seeds while he was at Home Depot.

The animated show The Jetsons was set in 2062. Is there anything from their futuristic world that you wish were a current reality?
I don’t remember much about the Jetsons, but the article online mentions a short work day. I sympathize with Jacques Ellul’s assessment that efficiency was once a means to higher ends but has unfortunately become an end in itself.

How do you prefer to communicate with colleagues: by phone, email, text or in person? How do you prefer to communicate with friends?
I always prefer to converse in person. Non-verbal communication seems central to building and sustaining meaningful relationships and communities. To rely on anything else is to prioritize a limited dimension of the human character.

What do you love about the city in which you live?
Many Winnipeggers, I believe, have a love/hate relationship with the city. Many have deep roots which pull them back to Winnipeg even after they have left the city for school or other adventures abroad. I moved here much later in life and thus my roots aren’t quite as deep. For now I am happy to be living in Winnipeg because, as others have pointed out, it is a city of potential. Things happen here that couldn’t happen in bigger cities with strict structures already in place. The freedom is here for great ideas to take hold and I would be happy to play a role in making that happen.

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