Handling Objects; Or What do objects want?

Kristensen, J C. 2014. 'Handling Objects; Or What do objects want?'. In: Thinking with Things Seminar. Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom 4 June 2014. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

In What Do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images, W.J.T. Mitchell urges us to consider the culture of images not as one of dematerialised representation and slippery semiotics but rather as one of animated objects. With the material turn within the arts, humanities and social sciences, the academy’s sensitivities to the peculiar everydayness of the material has been evident from the wealth of scholarly work on new materialisms, including studies of paraphernalia, evocative objects and how a history of the world can be told in one hundred objects. Yet even as we mine these different sets of objects, the objects themselves present acts of refusal.

This paper will locate the material turn in face of the ecological and against the back of the digital, asking how do we handle objects. Focusing on ideas of attention and touch, this paper will explore the critical and methodological tensions between a flat ontological approach and the viscerality of phenomenological experience through an object oriented analysis of the objects that are my focus of study on the 100 Hours Project: A Set of Edison Dictaphone Recording Cylinders from the Physiology Collection. In exploring these critical and methodological tensions, it will ask is this what the Edison Cylinders want - if they want anything at all.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Object Studies, Materiality, 100 Hours, Edison Dictaphone Recording Cylinders

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4 June 2014Completed

Event Location:

Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Date range:

4 June 2014

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Date Deposited:

18 Nov 2019 15:36

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 17:21



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