Buzzing 20150118: Othering and Study of Materiality

Life of the Objects and The Silent Story-Teller

Objects are born as an “empty space” (according to Pinney). Any discussion on an object must associate with cultural interactions and must not end on an object-level. The notion of separating object and the meaning given to it, as I understand, serves as a precondition of art historian/anthropological research on materiality.

Besides, the original idea for the creation of an object already prepares a certain purpose for it, thus a meaning is given to this object before its creation. Eventually the “empty space” is appropriate only for describing the material(s) before the moment when the idea comes about, not after the creation of the object.

Speyer01

Therefore, born with a meaning, an object is endowed a life by “othering” of human’s natural, self-reflection. The fact is, more than we expect, objects do work not only as an “other”, but also as ourselves. The point for writing biography of an object is to tell stories of the people who create it, pass it on, receive it, and more. Every person appears in the life of an object leaves trace of himself on it, seeable or not. Men make objects to feel subjectivity, and label objects with meaning so that the same objects could be seen, from “the other”‘s point of view, as indicators of themselves. Some agents are visible in the story, some are not. Finally, the materiality exceeds the mere concrete form of itself and serves as a carrier of history, with a life that given by the people around it, becoming a story-teller of cultural interactions.

Aachen-Nacht

Most of objects with historical stories to tell we saw today outlive people of their own time. “The other could speak” is not a simple personification.

Advertisement