evocative, epistemic, liminal objects... things we think with

evocative, epistemic, liminal objects… things we think with

Evocative Objects is a beautiful and thought-provoking compilation of objects’ biographies that invite the reader to reflect, for example, on the meaning of knot-tying, naturalization of objects, transition, memory, constructed knowledge or our cyborg presence and future. I use this as an example for a publication that breaks down the book into compact components that can be separated and rearranged (not physically though). The conceptual flexibility makes this book pro-active, and somewhat unbound.

theory (epigraph on the left) + object (personal essay on the right) allow for  fresh readings, associations and juxtaposition

theory (epigraph on the left) + object (personal essay on the right) allow for fresh readings, associations and juxtaposition

The structure and concept of this book project.
A recipe:

Evocative Objects
—1 Introduction by author
—Main Body divided into 6 parts (Objects of…, see image below)
—5-6 stories in each part
—Each story is composed of 1 epigraph (=theoretical extract) + 1 object (= Short commissioned essays on the personal relationship to an object)
Epigraphs and objects are paired to provide a specific focus, reading and association.
—1 Concluding essay by author

Sherry Turkle takes on the role of a curator with a clear concept of what aspects of evocative objects to include and how to contextualize them. In her concluding essay, she stresses that many of the individual voices have to be read in relation to other contributions. Everything in this book is short, concise, poignant and manageable. Her particular pairing yields at a specific focus of how to ‘read’ the essay and this can be interchanged at any point: “[…] I encourage the readers to create their own associations, to combine and recombine objects and theories—most generally, to use objects to bring philosophy down to earth.” In my mind it could have worked as an exhibition—the physical/digital object in the center and then left and right from it the essay and its theoretic pair.

the table of content shows the six parts of the book and its bracket of an introduction and concluding essay by the author

the table of content shows the six parts of the book that is bracketed with an introduction and concluding essay by the author

A similar example is 39 Microlectures: A Proximity of Performance by Matthew Goulish. A book one could also split up onto cards and re-mix them any time you want to engage with it.

Christina Kral

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  1. Tuesday Books: Four Books on the Future of the Internet - Critical Margins - August 6, 2013

    […] Evocative Objects by Sherry Turkle: a book that wants to unbind […]

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