Inundations In the Midst of Things In the Thrall of Things
Keywords; Thing, thingness, meaning, notice, anthromorphism, symptomology, nothingness, ordinary, particularity, sensoria, psycoanalysis, cathexis, transitional objects, possession, death drive, lifelessness Cited in Text; Pablo Neruda, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Bruno Latour, Robert Lowell, Shery Turkle, Donald Winnicott, Melanie Klein, Tracy Gleason, Virginia Woolf, Bill Brown, Sigmund Freud.
Highmore points out how people interact with the objects without noticing that they
act on us too as we are acting on them.
The rest state or disfunctionality of objects helps us to recognise its sense of thingness.
He stresses how things reshape human behaviours as human shape the things.
He mentions that technological things are shaping the society (Benjamin’s and Latour’s scope)
His aim is to look from the object’s point of view to get the sense of the object’s particularity
Highmore traces how the lively presence of inorganic things have an effect on our inner
and outer ordinary lives from childhood to adulthood. (with the help of related psycoanalysis literature)
He explains the desire of cunsumption and possess/being possesed by objects is driven by
the jealousy of the thingnessless, nothingness, and calm lifelessness of the objects. (death drive)
Ordinary lives are lived out in the midst of things; furnitures, clothes, utencils, tools... We do not notice our daily objects but we do interact with them. Symbiotic interaction People Creaturely Things Non-creaturely
The nature of things grants authority to human over things automaticly;
If there is a mutual relationship, it is suggested that there shouldn’t be a privilage of one
over the other.
Two therotical misdemeanors in ordinary life;
Reification: the thingifying of cultural processes Anthropomorphising: the treatment of animals and objects as human-like
Suggested solution is;
Taking everyday seriously, practice things diligently and excessively.
To focus on object’s point of view; Naruda suggests a method for connecting to that ordinary things, thingly actuality of objects; “Watching objects as they are resting” Because, to watch an object rest is to notice it is not working while also recognising that it has a work to do. It is at once recognise its properties, its potential, its sense of itself. Inundations are qualities that flow from and inside to things, qualities which may or may not have a meaning.
Campus chair at rest What are the inundations that Naruda speaks of? Does the chair hasbeen marked, its witnessing activity there to be read on its surface, the stains of memoirs? To get some sense of chair’s particularity, Highmore goes through some anectodes that comprise its social and life story.
The mentioned chair belongs to early 1970s. Its producer is a company named Habitat, and it was a flat-paced furniture (KD: knocked-down) The KDs that flat packed created a “can’t wait to get it home” feeling for customers. But the assembly work and its difficulties consists of both impatience and patience, delay and desire. The satisfaction of getting at home creates a frustration against instant gratification of walking away with the ready furniture. Habitat; It is a boutique lifestyle shop which offers a wide range of products from furniture to herbs. It is an essembled life-image as a form of boutique shopping. Habitat calalogue which not only showed you what you could buy, but offered a vivid tableux of how the world of Habitat should be lived. (Ikea)
The thing-ness of an object takes time to form. Without its visceral and
mnemonic thingness its hard to distinguish it from other similiar ones.
But if this object is made up of both anecdotes and rememberances that belong
to the object and its owner, is there a danger of “over-particularising” this object? A chair is; an object that takes up space, a designed thing that acts on us, a functional object a sentimental object a familiar thing.
Being familiar is faster than being sentimental object; it takes time but not too
Adorno looks through the perspective of ‘damaged life’, offering a willfully negative critique of ordinary subjective life caught in the midst of things orchestrated by thedemands of instrumental reason. His questions ask what things want andhow they might produce us as subjects.(bad-manners)
Emergence of new sensoria of Walter Benjamin;
Benjamin describes a world of people and things where the distribution of thesensual and sensorial is cast in a new industrial morality.What the emergenceof modernity constituted was a new sensorium adjusted to more abruptmovements, to machines that click and whirr, to forms of motion that needslightermovement but quicker reflexes.(habit-things)
Bruno Latour suggests that weshould find a place in a new social theory for the nonhuman
masses that beg us for understanding which are hidden and despised social masses and shape our morality. Things are social agents too and social things are actantsin theproduction, transformation and reproductionof social worlds.(positive perspective)
Latour’s perspective is anthropomorphic in 3 senses; Groom (automatic door closer) has been made by human It substitudes for the actions of people It shapes human actions
Unlike Latour, Adorno focuses on how these new devices have effects on human
behaviours as bad manners and how disenable people, redistribute abilities and competences.
Objects demand that we ‘do this, do that, behave this way, don’t gothat way,
youmay do so, be allowed to go there’
evocative things transitional things totems fetishes some objects have the capacity to represent powerful qualities beyond their prescriptions and affordances Psychoanalysis offers a way of describing how things matter to people in profoundly affective ways e.g. Klein’s study offers objects that can become ‘good’ or ‘bad’ inrelation to the child’s desires and frustrations. Psychoanalysis, then, has a tendency to see the objectbecoming a thing-that-matters by a process of unconscious transference ofaffections and energy. Cathexis isthe transfer of energy from a person to another person, or thing or idea; but the energy is attached to the representation or the idea ofthe thing, rather than the thing itself. Thats how objects are become significant and charged.
As a Materialist Analogy; we attach ourselves to things and the way that become invested with a degree of emotional intensity. These objects do not choose us we choose them, and this being thing-that-metters is a process of unconscience transfer of affections and energy. Childhood toys; These transitional object are tied by drives and instincts and helps the seperation of child from her/hisself (not-me). As the child is effected by environment, to cope with the new situation, he/she finds new ways to adjust his/her life or create a new world for the object.
We began to confront the thingness objects when they stop working. (investing resting chair)
It is story of a changed relation to the human subject and thus, the story of a the how the thing really names less an object than a particular subject-object relation. (Which is fascinating like how child’s loved transitional toy can be precious one minute and so lifeless next.)