The Secret Life of External Air Conditioning Units is a project commissioned by and published by HAPAX Magazine in their 2024 spring issue. In this theory-fiction i'm impersonating someone who is the only expert in their field: the science of external air conditioning units. The project consists of images and text. Special thanks for their kind help to Budai Hűtéstechnika és Épületgépészeti Kft.
Circling around the city, trying to catch up with all the tasks I’ve set myself, I sometimes get a feeling that none of those actually make sense. In fact, I can’t even think of anything that does, or anything I would care about. An important deadline, or an exciting event: not only do i fail to focus on these, i simply have no interest in them. It’s not despair, but a gentle melancholy, if I don’t want to call it sadness. 
I snap out of it and I look around me. The late afternoon sunlight casts a lingering shadow on every nook and cranny, every balcony. The withered street trees bend their branches in silence. Everything is quiet and utterly indifferent. A smile crosses my face as I see that up above, a white metal box gleams, a shape that is all too familiar to me. A dark circle sitting in the middle of a square: the all-seeing, but never judging, single eye of an external unit. On the top floor of its sheltering facade, it is set to watch the scorching sunset for the hundredth time, unblinking. And all around it’s family: some sitting proudly on the rooftop, or under the safety of the eaves, and those waiting on the opposite wall to watch the same Sun rise. And they are witness to the movement of clouds, birds, the changing seasons, and the birth and death of people who crowd the streets beneath, and who, for their own convenience, have created this clan of mechanical cyclopses, humming gently from a million iron throats.
Since childhood I have felt an empathy for objects. I felt pity and love for a broken cup or a disfigured eraser destined to be thrown away. What I have always found most heartbreaking is  when a once useful object wasn’t required anymore, was no longer  interesting  or cared for. I have kept this special relationship with objects, listening to what they have to say.
My story with air-conditioning units started when one decided to nest on the wall of my apartment. It was my first. From that moment on, I couldn’t help but notice them, and came to see these seemingly grey, uniform boxes as the wise entities they always were. Do they enjoy company? Does the one sitting alone in a dark industrial alley feel neglected? Do they find joy in the moonlight, or a summer breeze? I have slowly acquired a secret knowledge, that is mine alone.
They arrive en masse in their boxes and miraculously mount themselves on wisely chosen wall surfaces to start humming, quietly in solitude, or in choirs of hundreds, forming sacred constellations and patterns beyond human comprehension, while pouring out their benign warmth into the air in an age when, according to their original creators, it was most needed. And they will grow old and die too, their silent shells being dismembered to pieces by brute and unknowing human hands. In mute immobility they will be together again.
Life and death, a full cycle. But for the organism sprawling the entire planet, the lifespan of a single unit is but a mere blink in infinity, a grain of sand in the majestic vastness of the thousand-eyed Leviathan. A man-made but post-human God, accompanying it’s studiously anxious creators to their final, comfortably cold sleep.
My own anxiety is peaking from morning to early afternoon, when I can’t concentrate on all my tasks because i’m distracted by a video of baby ducks, or long range rockets killing civilians a few thousand kilometers away from me. An article about celebrities or another one about mass extinction. They are all equal in the sweet and spicy information-smoothie flowing down like lava and into ourselves through the umbilical cord of information sharing.
Now that is when I have to get out, go for a walk, take photographs of my beloved external air conditioning units, because the more i keep studying them, the more i understand what they have to say with their formations and patterns, their droning songs and accepting silence. Every discovery warms my heart and tames my worried soul. So around evening I can start being effective again, prompting searches and writing emails. 
I have a recurring dream. The stars shine above me, as I am quietly sliding through dark alleys, exploring the moonlit courtyards of a city inhabited by none but me. There is no movement or sound, only my quick footsteps as i’m searching for something very important amidst the million buildings and objects once used and loved, now meaningless alien monuments glowing silvery in the night. I stop, as i reach a facade of an industrial building. I have found what i came for. The several dozen air conditioning units operate no more, but their peculiar formation speaks clearly, and straight to the soul. It is a holy sentence, or maybe just a word, but all is finally understood, and everything does make sense for a second. By the time i wake up, the meaning dissolves, but the feeling lingers on for a while, as I can’t stop longing for a life in which i would only need to photograph air conditioning units, and do nothing else.
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