Michael Shenouda

Ethnography: Pre-Electric Culture

a night without electricity

I found this week’s activity to be extremely relaxing, and a way to bring the family together, since there is nothing else to do in the situation. I told my family, consisting of my dad, mom, and two younger sisters of the project, and they thought it was a good idea to give it a try and see what life without electricity would be like.

I took a photo of my bedroom because this is the location I plan on having everyone get together and spend the night there. Some people can sit on the bed, while others can sit on the chairs in my bedroom.

The night turned out to be great, we had good conversation and re-lived old memories of when my sisters and I were younger. Since my dad works a lot, it’s rare to get the family to spend time together. This was a great experience to have. My mom lit a couple candles downstairs just in case someone needed to go get something, but other than that we didn’t use any source of light at all.

At first, I thought the experience would be boring, since everything we do revolves around technology, but once my family said that they would join in, I knew it would be a good time. I found it easy and liberating to spend time without technology and a way to get the family closer in a way. That being said, it would be incredibility frustrating to spend your life without electricity because you would always need an outside source of light to get around.

I slept about the same amount of time, so that felt the same. But I also went to sleep very satisfied with the bonding time with my family. Life without electricity would be pretty boring, but because I was with family it wasn’t bad at all. That being said, it could also give me time to reflect and think about decisions in my life.

All and all, I found this project intriguing. It gave me an appreciation of what we take for granted today. Individuals in the past didn’t have electricity and would therefore have to use other forms of light, which could be frustrating. My ideal level of life and activity is the life I live now, so I need to make sure I don’t take it for granted.

a room with a bed and a chair
Bedroom, photo by Michael Shenouda