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THINGS daniel kent


DREAMING HEURSTICS


PREFACE: DREAMING HEURISTICS

1. Lucidity is the great enemy of revelationa –ANDRÉ BRETON a. Indeed, this paper need not be consciously rationalized, as no such rationality exists among the objectsi of the coming pages. i. Neither do the objects in this paper appear in a particular order. I encourage the reader to impose no such order on the coming pages; the reader need not dogmatically following page numbers.

2. What’s needed perhaps is… not the exotic anymore, but the endotica –GEORGES PEREC a. DISCLAIMER: The objects to be described are indeed “the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the infraordinary, the background noise, the habitual…”i (Perec 210) i. The importance1 of this banality is to accurately represent the ‘daily’ or ‘true-to-life.’ 1. “Details generally considered trivial and unimportant, ‘beneath notice,’ furnish the key to the highest achievements of human genius” (Ginzburg 86).

3. The chancea meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewingmachine and an umbrella!b –LE COMTE DE LAUTREAMONT

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PREFACE: DREAMING HEURISTICS

a. Chance is equally important as banality for an accurate portrayal of the ‘true-to-life.’

b. Indeed, the “migrating objects which wash up in our homes have different histories, the consequence of the ebb and flow of daily life penetrating the imaginary”i ii (Topor qtd in Spoerri 21) i. It is crucial that this imaginary be reached by means of the subconscious rather than the conscious. Refer back to [1] for further emphasis. ii. This imaginary (or ‘Social Imaginary’) exists in the tacit dialogue of objects with other objects, ourselves, and the society as a whole. In reading this paper, it is the reader’s responsibility to abduct this imaginary: I have merely ‘thought with objects*,’ allowing them to speak. *These objects happen to be those found on my “TELEFUNKEN” record player on December 6, 2010, at 10:34 AM, in the basement bedroom of my brick bungalow house, which is located on Grandview Dr. in Edmonton, Alberta. This house is 7574.89km, or 751429088 “EXPRESSIONIST Extra Fine Quality Oil Pastel” widths from Paris, France.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

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BOTTLE OF “AVEENO ACTIVE NATURALS SUNBLOCK LOTION”

1. BOTTLE OF “AVEENO ACTIVE NATURALS SUNBLOCK LOTION” made of soft, matte plastic,a emulating the ovular shape of a BOTTLE OF “SNIK” SUNSCREEN [20] but tapering off at the top into a sealed curved edgeb that effectively gives the bottle a larger surface area but consequently less volume and therefore less sunscreen, a cunning packaging technique. The cap is a mango-orange plastic ovular cylinder that has comfortably round edges and a circular depression along the perimeter of the cap, which invites a finger to lift the hinged lid and reveal a nozzle slightly messy from repeated usages. The squeezable upper portion of the container is a light flesh tone and amidst the directions, logos, barcodes, and ingredients is a halfheartedc sketchd of ovals. a. Unlike “SNIK’s” lotion, “AVEENO” used a plastic with DIN 02276453. This is probably the reason for each bottle’s distinctive hardness and texture. b. Embossedi in the curved sealed edge is the expiry date of the sunscreen: EXP 2008/12. i. The misalignment of “EXP” and “2008/12” suggests an automatic process that allows room for humanistic error and thereby de-mechanizes the machine-embossed date. c. The quality of this sketch is implicit in its mark-making. There is a continuous ghostly line between the sketch’s intentional

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BOTTLE OF “AVEENO ACTIVE NATURALS SUNBLOCK LOTION”

lines, which suggests a lack of motivation to bother lifting the pen entirely between strokes. This laziness leaves a trail of ink by which one line leads to another. d. This sketch was the product of an entirely uninteresting and overly drawn out telephone conversation.

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“BLUETTE” BOWTIE HAIR ACCESSORY

2. “BLUETTE” BOWTIE HAIR ACCESSORY made of faux-leathera and coated in metallic gold, recalling an earlier, more decorative and vividly colored, fashion epoch.b It features a stiff metal clasp which fastens the miniature bow to one’s head by means of clamping onto one’s hair. The origin of this object is entirely unknown, as I rarely adorn myself with such accessories. Moreover, I cannot picture anyone in my immediate social circle who would both be invited into my personal quarters and would wear such eccentric accessories.c a. Creating a bowtie out of simulated leather seems like an ironic juxtaposition seeing as I have never encountered any bowties (novelty or not) that are made of real leather. A false leather bowtie is a wonderfully irrational amalgamation of the formal and informal. b. “Every generation experiences the fashions of the most recent past as the most thorough anti-aphrodisiac that can be imagined” (Buck-Morss 237). c. My drawing professor, ALMA VISSCHER, showed interest in this mysterious accessory, and out of my benevolence, I shall promptly gift it to her upon this paper’s completion. Her admirationi of the bow has disillusioned me as to who exactly feels affinity for such peculiar accessories. i. Which is now shared by quite a few members of the female populous…

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ANTI-STATIC RECORD CLEANING CLOTH

3. ANTI-STATIC RECORD CLEANING CLOTH found in the depths of the “TELEFUNKEN” record player upon its disassembly.

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TWO PAIRS OF “APPLE IPOD” EARBUDS

4. TWO PAIRS OF “APPLE IPOD” EARBUDS hopelessly tangleda together. They are in an equal state of functional disrepair, although one pair lacks the peripheral rubber casings meant to cushion the ear from the harsh immalleable plastic. Despite this missing ergonomic feature, I can scarcely tell the difference between them, and thus my preference fallsb on the pair that happens not to be covered in fine charcoal dust from my DRAWING 240 class with ALMA VISSCHER. a. Every time this entanglement occurs, which is quite frequently, I cursei the earbuds for forcing me once again to endure the minor inconvenience of disentangling them. i. “We are constantly granting mysterious faculties to gremlins inside every conceivable home appliance” (Latour 235). b. “The Road not Taken” –ROBERT FROST Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

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TWO PAIRS OF “APPLE IPOD” EARBUDS

Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

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“AVEDA INSTITUTES & ACADEMIES” BUSINESS CARD

5. “AVEDA INSTITUTES & ACADEMIES” BUSINESS CARD belonging to my most recent hairdresser, REBECCA KING.

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TWO AFRICAN BUST SCULPTURES

6. TWO AFRICAN BUST SCULPTURESa acquired from my Grandmother’s attic at an age at which I had an affinity for almost any foreign object.b They are carved out of dark wood in a style reminiscent of Japanese woodcut prints and they over-accentuate the verticality of the human skull. a. “Ozymandias” –PERCY SHELLEY I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear: “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away. b. Oddly enough, these two heads have survived many cleaning purgesi since their acquisition in my age of over-acquisition, despite my lack of knowledge as to why I even keep them. i. Now that my grandparents have both passed away I foresee these objects surviving many future cleaning purges based on their intrinsic connection1 2 with them. 1. “As social persons, we are present not just

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TWO AFRICAN BUST SCULPTURES

in our singular bodies, but in everything in our surroundings which bears witness to our existence, our attributes, and our agency” (Gell 103). 2. “People are bound together through the agency of things, and in which, therefore, the things are imbued with notions of the person” (Munn 141, discussing Mauss).

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COUPON FOR “RODEO BURGER”

7. COUPON FOR “RODEO BURGER” ripped out of my 2010-2011 Faculty of Arts agenda book and folded into thirds on the evening of October 17, 2010 in order to eat dinnera on my way to visit ISAAK KORNELSEN,b who was in the hospital receiving stitches after accidentally hitting his head on a doorframe that same evening. a. Dinner was eaten at the neighbouring “BURRITO LIBRE”i instead, and thus the coupon was never used. i. I have a growing suspicion that both “RODEO BURGER” and “BURRITO LIBRE” are of the same company: not only do they physically neighbour each other, but they also neighbour each other in the perforated ‘coupon’ section of said agenda book. b. who Happen two proofreed this paper.

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PACKAGE OF “FUJIFILM” DVD-R’S

8. PACKAGE OF “FUJIFILM” DVD-R’S acquired at a sale price from MICHELLE WEREMCZUK. There are 21 DVD’s on the plastic spindle, all of which are enclosed in a cylindrical dome of translucent plastic. This dome locks to the glossy black base-spindle portion by means of three translucent protrusions, which slide into the corresponding fitted housings of the base with a counterclockwise twist of the translucent dome (making sure the black base remains stationary). I will be surprised if they are used rather than lost, broken, or stolen, seeing as I have absolutely no use for DVD’s.

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“BRAUN” ELECTRIC RAZOR STAND

9. “BRAUN” ELECTRIC RAZOR STANDa a. Max. 15 Vdc / max. 1.3 A

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THICK CARDBOARD ENVELOPE

10. THICK CARDBOARD ENVELOPE,a which contained the “GOBBLE GOBBLE Secret 7” vinylb single upon its delivery.c The record features the song “End of Days” on the A-side and “Lawn Knives” on the B-side.d These songs amount to 2:41 and 2:04 minutes respectively. a. The envelope is hand-addressed to me in meticulously written cursive script by “ROYAL RHINO FLYING RECORDS.” This decorative script is juxtaposed with a ‘First Class’ stamp and two “UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE” stamps,i each of which contains numerical codesii that I do not understand. i. “I became aware of the power of all these individual, simultaneously pending transactions: all over the city, and at selected sites in other states, events were being set in motion on my behalf, services were being performed simply because I had requested them and in some cases paid or agreed to pay later for them” (Baker 21). ii. The numerical codes read as follows in order from the top left of the envelope to bottom right. Handwritten numerals are distinguished with asterisks. 26505 1000 00293 00059515-12 CN 22

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THICK CARDBOARD ENVELOPE

955* 25* PS FORM 2976 b. “You withdrew the record without ever making contact with the musical surfaces, using a tripod grip: thumb at the edge, two fingers at the middle on the label. Though brand-new, the record would have attracted ambient dust in its passage through the air and onto the turntable” (Baker 67). c. The record has since been removed. d. B-sides seem to have a way of becoming popular only once the A-side singles are over-exhausted icons of a band and no longer carry their original meaning.i ii It never ceases to amaze me how many B-side recordings a label can compile in a “BOX SET” or “COLLECTOR’S EDITION” of a well-remembered musical ensemble. i. I liken this over-exhaustion to the fate of the ‘Mona Lisa.’ ii. DAVID LYNCH, acclaimed avant-garde film director, has recently released his “Good Day Today” single with two A-sides. The B-side, I suppose, does not exist.

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“HANIMEX TX475” DETACHABLE CAMERA FLASH

11. “HANIMEX TX475” DETACHABLE CAMERA FLASH bought for $2.99 at the Whyte Avenue VALUE VILLAGE. It contains four “ENERGIZER” AA batteries and is modestly held together with black electrical tape.

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KALEIDOSCOPE LENS FILTER

12. KALEIDOSCOPE LENS FILTER, the synthesisa of a 355ml aluminium “PILSNER” beerb can, 3 miniature vanity mirrors acquired from 3 different sample makeup kits,c and a grey plastic lid off of a 35mm film canister. By use of hot glue and black linen tape, a unified object was born. The lens’s final effect is that of a Kaleidoscope, converting a naturalistic image into an elusive, complex patternd that seamlessly duplicates aspects of the original image. This may be seen in a GOBBLE GOBBLE photograph [18]. a. “In travelling to ‘unpredictable’ places, an object that isn’t too rigorously bounded, that doesn’t impose itself but tries to serve, that is adaptable, flexible and responsive – in short, a fluid objecti – may well prove to be stronger than one which is firm” (Laet and Mol 226). i. I thrive on the fluidity of objects, seeing as I tend (out of lacking funds, and lack of technology) to jury-rig my own objects out of things that were never meant to become the final product. This kaleidoscope lens is a fine example. b. “Used with care, substances that harm neural tissue, such as alcohol, can aid intelligence: you corrode the chromium, giggly, crossword puzzle-solving parts of your mind with pain and poison, forcing the neurons to take responsibility for themselves and those around them, toughening themselves against the accelerated wear of these artificial solvents. After a night of poison, your brain wakes up in the morning saying,

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KALEIDOSCOPE LENS FILTER

‘No, I don’t give a shit who introduced the sweet potato into North America.’ The damage that you have inflicted heals over, and the scarred places left behind have unusual surface areas, roughnesses enough to become nodes around which wisdom weaves its fibrils” (Baker 24). c. Throughout my childhood, these makeup kits were always abundant at my house. They were always in glossy black plastic cases with rounded edges and lid-hinge combos resembling that of a BOTTLE OF “AVEENO ACTIVE NATURALS SUNBLOCK LOTION” [3]. Once open, the kits revealed petite vanity mirrors that allowed for makeup application on the go, as well as dynamic compositions of oddly coloured powder cakes which looked like this:

These are not dissimilar from the paintings of famous De Stijl painter Pete Mondrian, which look like this:

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KALEIDOSCOPE LENS FILTER

d. “Once one submits to the allure of the pattern, one is liable to become hooked or stucki in it” (Gell 82). i. “Its stickiness is a trap, it clings like a leech; it attacks the boundary between myself and it. Long columns falling off my fingers suggest my own substance flowing into a pool of stickiness… to touch stickiness is to risk diluting myself into viscosity…” (Douglas qtd in Gell 82).

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HAND-DRAWN MAP

13. HAND-DRAWN MAP outlining the road trip MICHELLE WEREMCZUK and I took on August 11, 2010. The map included destinations and estimated times of arrival.a a. Torrington – 10:00 Calgary – 14:00 Drumheller – 18:30 Ferintosh – 24:45 Edmonton – 02:45

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“ORAL-B” TOOTHBRUSH

14. “ORAL-B” TOOTHBRUSH with bristles that are more rigid than those of my usual toothbrush,a whose bristles have become limp through regular brushings. Why I do not use this toothbrush in place of the other remains a mystery. a. Upon further inspection I have concluded that my active toothbrush and my idle toothbrush are one and the same, save for the colours of the handles. The active brush is green, while the idle brush is purple. This difference suggests that in an act to save money I purchased a set of two toothbrushesi only to wear one out entirely and forget the other on my record player. i. Which were no doubt packaged in an impossible-toopen, semi-rigid plastic casing that required one to resort to an act of caveman brutishness in order to get at the contents.

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NEWSPAPER CLIPPING

15. NEWSPAPER CLIPPING; the headline reads, “Military burns uniforms of convicted murderer.”

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4 BOXES OF OIL PASTELS

16. 4 BOXES OF OIL PASTELS, all acquired at different times and locations.a The box measurments,b from smallest to largest, are as follows: 7x7, 13x8c, 18.5x9, 16.5x15.9. a. Two are from the “DESERRES” art supply shop located in PHASE 1 of WEST EDMONTON MALL, near entrance 16. One was stolen from “STRATHCONA HIGH SCHOOL,” which is located off of 72 Ave. and 106 St. The distance between “DESERRES” and “STRATHCONA HIGH SCHOOL” is 15.5 km. The most recently acquired pastels are from the second floor of a stationary shop in southern Paris,i where I was charmed to discover clerks and tills on both the first and second floors. The distance between “STRATHCONA HIGH SCHOOL” and Paris is 7572.62km. i. These pastels are no different from the pastels I stole from my former high school (both are “EXPRESSIONIST Extra Fine Quality Oil Pastels,” which happen to be the cheapest pastels in both Edmonton and Paris) and yet they are not to be mixed up, for the Parisian pastels have rendered the Eiffel Tower! Pastels that have rendered a symbol of such modernity and excellence should not comingle with the underprivileged domestic pastels of Edmonton.1 1. I actually feel this way. b. The boxes were measuredi in “EXPRESSIONIST Extra Fine Quality Oil Pastel”ii diameters, which happen to be 1/3 widthier than my “LYRA ART DESIGN 669 B” graphite drawing pencil.

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4 BOXES OF OIL PASTELS

i. “I thought of measuring things according to the criterion of the moment. For instance, my height is 60-odd tomatoes, and I am 111,225 Copenhagen-Paris train trips old” (Spoerri 75). ii. Note that the standard unit of measure was a Parisian “EXPRESSIONIST Extra Fine Quality Oil Pastel.” c. This box lists the twelve colours of the pastels contained inside, which are: Redi Reddish Orange Golden Ochre Fleshii White Lemon Yellow Blue Sky Blue Light Grey Greeniii Reddish Brown Black i. “The Red Wheelbarrow” –WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS so much depends upon a red wheel barrow

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4 BOXES OF OIL PASTELS

glazed with rain water beside the white chickens ii. It has often occurred to me that naming a light peachyorange tone ‘flesh’ tone is an overtly discriminatory,1 value-laden notion, seeing as actual flesh tones occur in a plethora of other shades. 1. “The same careful attention one would give to the rules, roles, and relationships of politics must also be given to such things as the building of highways, the creation of television networks, and the tailoring of seemingly insignificant features on new machines. The issues that divide or unite people in society are settled not only in the institutions and practices of political proper, but also, and less obviously, in tangible arrangements of steel and concrete, wires and transistors, nuts and bolts” (Winner 128). iii. “Oread” –HILDA DOOLITTLE Whirl up, sea– Whirl your pointed pines, Splash your great pines On our rocks, Hurl your green over us, Cover us with your pools of fir.

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FOUR CANADIAN PENNIES

17. FOUR CANADIAN PENNIES dated 2005, 2008a, 2009 and 2010. a. Ironically the 2008 penny is the most lustrous of the bunch.

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ARRAY OF PHOTOGRAPHS

18. ARRAY OF PHOTOGRAPHS, all of which were takena during the summer of 2010 and all of which happen to be printed on “FUJIFILM FUJICOLOR CRYSTAL ARCHIVE” photo paper.b a. One photograph was taken with a KALEIDOSCOPE LENS FILTER [12] and depicts a GOBBLE GOBBLE [10, 19] live music show at the “TUBBY DOG” hot dog restauranti ii in downtown Calgary, Alberta. It looks like this:

i. Open Friday and Saturday from 11:30 am to 4:00 am. Also open on Sundays. ii. This restaurant neighbours a crystal and gem shop containing many explicitly phallic geodes.

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ARRAY OF PHOTOGRAPHS

b. “A thicker paper with gold print watermark, Crystal Archive Supreme 02 paper is available in all popular print sizes up to 12” wide and comes in Glossy and Luster surfaces. Crystal Archive Supreme 02 paper can be printed in most all popular optical and digital minilab printers” (“Fujifilm”).

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7” TRANSPARENT PLASTIC RECORD SLEEVE

19. 7” TRANSPARENT PLASTIC RECORD SLEEVE meant for the protection of a 7” “GOBBLE GOBBLE” record but ironically forgotten underneath its THICK CARDBOARD ENVELOPE [10] upon its inaugural listen. It is now ridden with dust and debris that will no doubt subvert its protective function to one of destruction, if used without proper cleaning.

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BOTTLE OF “SNIK” SUNSCREEN

20. BOTTLE OF “SNIK” SUNSCREEN whose origins are unknown.a The small, ovular, canary yellow bottle, which measures 4.25” by 1.75”, appears to be half empty, although I cannot recall using any of the SPFb 23c lotion in it. The vibrant casing suggests an earlier age of package design.d The slogan on the front of the bottle reads: “Block out the burning rays leaving you honey bronzed and very very, desirable: DIN: 02227290.”e The twistoff cap is stiff and uninviting, and the nozzle is heavily coagulated, barely permitting passage of the viscous white lotion. a. Judging from the agedness of the vividly colored bottle, I can logically conclude that this sunscreen was given to me by my father, who happens to have translucent skini that is susceptible to sunburns while skiing. It was likely given to me on the ski hill as a token of parental concern. i. As do I. b. SPFi stands for “Sun Protection Factor” and is calculatedii like so:

i. In French, the abbreviation SPF is FPS. It never ceases to amaze me that the French insist on translating even the

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BOTTLE OF “SNIK” SUNSCREEN

minutest details of language into French, the abbreviations that no one seems to know in their original language. Also, the inclusion of French translations suggests that it is a Canadian product. ii. I have come across a similar mathematical calculation defining the coefficient of difficulty that one will experience when trying to eat something with chopsticks. I don’t doubt that many others have spent countless hours on other such equations of equal irrelevance and splendor. c. 23 is such an excellent and uncommon number for an SPF. I liken the enjoyment of finding such an unlikely integer to the joy one may encounter when passing a road sign that looks like this:

d. “Consumer objects, novelties and fashions from the past, existed in the present as dream images through which the collective unconscious communicated across generations” (Buck-Morss 217). e. Not only do I doubt that spreading 30+ year-old sunscreen

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BOTTLE OF “SNIK” SUNSCREEN

on my face will make me “very very, desirable,” I can’t help but wonder why “SNIK” would add a colon at the end of its slogan only to include the serial number identifying the type of plastic used in the bottle according to the DIN (Deutsche Industre Normi). i. Note that the DIN abbreviation need not be translated into French but the SPF abbreviation must.

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WORKS CITED


WORKS CITED

Baker, Nicholson. The Mezzanine: A Novel. New York: Grove, 2010. Print. Bijker, Wiebe E., and John Law. Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Sociotechnical Change. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 2000. Print. Buck-Morss, Susan. “Benjamin’s Passagen-Werk: Redeeming Mass Culture for the Revolution.” New German Critique 29 (1983): 211. Humanities International Complete. EBSCO. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. De Laet, Marianne, and Annemarie Mol. “The Zimbabwe Bush Pump: Mechanics of a Fluid Technology.” Social Studies of Science (Sage) 30.2 (2000): 225. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. Doolittle, Hilda. “Oread.” The Broadview Anthology of Poetry, 2nd Ed. Eds. Amanda Goldrick Jones and Herbert Rosengarten. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2009. 424. Print. Eco, Umberto, and Thomas Albert Sebeok. The Sign of Three: Dupin, Holmes, Peirce. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988. Print. Frost, Robert. “The Road not Taken.” The Broadview Anthology of Poetry, 2nd Ed. Eds. Amanda Goldrick Jones and Herbert Rosengarten. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2009. 380. Print. Fujicolor Crystal Archive Supreme Paper.” Fujifilm Canada. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. <http://www.fujifilm.ca/products/photofinishing/paper_chemistry/paper/fujicolor_crystal_archive_supreme/index. html>.

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WORKS CITED

Gell, Alfred. Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory. Oxford: Clarendon, 2008. Print. Lautréamont. Maldoror and Poems. Baltimore: Penguin, 1978. Print. Munn, Nancy D. The Transformation of Subjects into Objects in Walbiri and Pitjantjatjara Myth. Nedlands: University of Western Australia, 1970. Print. Shelley, Percy Bysshe. “Ozymandias.” The Broadview Anthology of Poetry, 2nd Ed. Eds. Amanda Goldrick Jones and Herbert Rosengarten. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2009. 188-189. Print. Spoerri, Daniel, Robert Filliou, Emmett Williams, and Dieter Roth. An Anecdoted Topography of Chance. London: Atlas, 1995. Print. Stratton, Jon. The Desirable Body: Cultural Fetishism and the Erotics of Consumption. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1996. Print. Williams, William Carlos. “The Red Wheelbarrow.” The Broadview Anthology of Poetry, 2nd Ed. Eds. Amanda Goldrick Jones and Herbert Rosengarten. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2009. 402. Print. Winner, Langdon. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” Daedalus 109.1 (1980): 121-128. Print.

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Things  
Things  

An exploration of the things that wash up in our homes.

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