Category Archives: Things and Objects

Lost Technologies

In February 2011, Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired made the following assertion: “I say there is no species of technology that has ever gone globally extinct on this planet”.  You can listen to the NPR interview here.  In his … Read more »

Looted Dishes Used in Art Project Returned to Iraq – NYTimes.com

        Looted Dishes Used in Art Project Returned to Iraq – NYTimes.com. It is interesting that the artist does not appear to reflect upon his own role as a buyer of looted goods in the article or … Read more »

ARISC Collaborative Heritage Management in the Republic of Armenia Grant

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus invites proposals from collaborative teams in support of the preservation and conservation of the Republic of Armenia’s archaeological and historical heritage.  This ARISC program, generously funded by Project Discovery!, seeks to foster joint … Read more »

Scenes from Material Culture, The Film–Part 4

The hypnotic object, from The Manchurian Candidate: http://youtu.be/HkP_eYtrF6I

The epitome of unexpected use: The Water-Cooler Canon

This from Mike Bobick with many thanks. This amazing video that is but one of many examples of everyday items (beanbags, water coolers, abstract minimalist techno that has now been successfully co-opted for military uses. I thus present the watercooler as modern weapon. … Read more »

When is an umbrella not an umbrella, a cautionary tale for archaeology

Erroll Morris’s short film on the “Umbrella Man” in Abraham Zapruder’s film of JFK’s assassination provides a wonderful example of the difficulties in interpreting things.  What seems at first glance to be a sinister clue to a wider plot to … Read more »

Archaeologies of Sovereignty

The new issue of Annual Review of Anthropology contains an article of mine examining the emerging archaeological investigations of sovereignty.  From the abstract: Archaeology has long sublimated an account of the political into a series of proxy concepts such as … Read more »

Podcasts – A History of the World in 100 Objects

As a followup to a prior post, here are the collected podcasts to the BBC series: A History of the World in 100 Objects. BBC – Podcasts – A History of the World in 100 Objects. The presumptive definitive nature … Read more »

Scenes from “Material Culture–The Film” part 3

The closing scene of Bunel’s Cet obscur objet du désir:

Speculative Realism

As part of a reading/writing group that I’m participating in, I’ve been catching up with the impact of the wider material turn in philosophy. In particular, I’ve been trying to get a handle on speculative realism and Grant Harman’s call … Read more »