Saturday, 3 July 2010

Research Paper - Updates on the idea of Objects

In the last chat session Matt informed me about his friend (Alan Manley) who has written his MA paper on objects & memory. I emailed Alan, his MA thesis was lost on an unrecovered old laptop, but instead he gave me a generous list of resources to check:

Campbell, C.; The Craft Consumer: Culture, Craft, Consumption in a Post-Modern Society, Journal of Consumer Culture 5 (1) p. 24, March 2005

Csikszentmihalyi, M. and Rochberg-Halton, E.; The Meaning of Things: Domestic Symbols and the Self, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1981.

Dyson, L.; Collecting practices and autobiography: the role of objects in the mnemonic landscape of nation (chapter five), Temporality Autobiography and Everyday life, Manchester University Press, Manchester U.K., 2002.

Higgins, J.; Memory Shelf and Memory Teapot; found at Accessed on 11 Mar. 09.

Hoven, E. van den; Graspable Cues for Everyday Recollecting, Ph.D thesis, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, 2004.

Casey, E. S.; Remembering: A Phenomenological Study, Indiana University Press, U.S.A., 2000.

Milekic, Slavko.; Toward Tangible Virtualities: Tangialities; Ch.18 in Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage , MIT Press, U.S.A. 2007.

Also I was advised to search for Sherry Turkle who has written a lot about objects/memory.

An easy intro in 'emotional design: or why we love or hate everything' by Donald Norman.

Matt also told me to check a Srishti based artist in residence called Michelle Cherian who is also interested in the idea of objects and attachment/memory, I checked her website

An interesting project she has created is entitled: ‘Shoppingsfree’, a simulated ‘pseudo store’. Michelle describes the projects: “photographs of objects and experiences line the walls. Each item has a title and price. Participants are all given the same amount of imaginary money to shop with. After they are done shopping they take their photographs to the sales counter and get a receipt of their "purchases." Next, shoppers have their portrait photograph taken and this along with a scan of their receipt gets printed and displayed on a collective wall. Shoppingsfree begins with instilling desire and ends with identity building through the act of possession.”

Her project has got an interesting repercussion, it took me suddenly to the idea of the library, and I remembered an intricate character, a classmate during school days, who ‘wanting to be a Marxist’, kept on randomly repeating citations from Marx’s theories, his favorite being: “private property is theft”… then he would steal all the Jean Cocteau books from the school library to upgrade his books collection at home, and when you ask him to return the books so you could borrow them, he would answer, nobody understands Cocteau as I do, “these ignorants” are not qualified to read Cocteau, a little anecdote that describes a complexity of a Marxist collector… Add to it the fact that his name was Ernesto!

We also checked Matt’s Matchboxes collection Matt says that these matchboxes remind him of memories or of the places he has been, which was a good debut that opened up to themes that could be researched when discussing objects of symbolic reference recorded as ordinary.

Here a thorough list of alleys that could be included in the theme:
- Visual signifiers
- Mapping memories
- Functionality
- Analyzing Objects
- Enjoying Objects
- Series
- Walter Benjamin’s “the Collector”
- Mundane objects
- Categorizing Objects
- Abstract Objects vs. Functional Objects
- Possession