Object Abuse…, Cerlin Karunaratne

I do think about objects quite a lot.


I wonder if it is ok to keep making them and I think I expect too much of them. I try not to, and allow them to be but sometimes it is hard. Sometimes as with people you are aware of what they could do but they are what they are.


Is it us abusing the object or does the object abuse us by its presence?


Do we have a right to expect objects to do work by their mere presence? Is it abusive to give an object meaning without its consent?

Things are constantly done to objects without their permission. Planned obsolescence is one such thing. Is it an abusive action to plan something’s demise in advance?


Does an objects presence cause pollution – practical, visual or ethical? –

Practical pollution- Its use value is not equivalent to its material value not in a monetary sense but an ontological sense. How do we judge that? Should we judge that?


Visual pollution – Can there be such a thing or it is just a matter of taste, style, waste?


Ethical – to have an object exist is giving a strand of human thought form – there are many outcomes for thoughts but to become objects is such a definite action. This action then has an implication. Not to judge in a moral way or in any way but going back to the fact that the form exists.


I read an interesting essay last week – Behold the Invisible by Keja Silverman. –


I think this bit is interesting in relation to objects although it is written about film.


     ….. are predicated upon the assumption that every technology is also an ideology, and therefore what Althusser would call an “apparatus”; that in order to be effective this ideology must hide itself and that the best way to neutralize it is to make it visible. Invisibility is a synonym for “mystification.” Visibility signifies the opposite: “demystification,” and -by implication- “knowledge”


Can the above also be true in relation to objects? Not to imbue an object with meaning but to look at what it is and what it tries to say about the knowledge it contains  (duration of time, the space it occupies)


The object of the day is the Olympic torch! How abused is that object.  All the things it has to mean. The roads are shut today and people will line the streets to see it pass. There are concerts, and dancing, all in its name. It is very confusing. What does the torch think?


Do objects matter or are they just matter?



Cerlin Karunaratne 2012

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Object abuse asks the question:
who or what is being abused?

Object Abuse has been set up to provide a platform for people to discuss, provoke and question the very nature and orientation of objects. The aim is to readdress the unquestioned drives of our collective pursuits, to turn the tables on the object-subject dynamic.

This investigation’s relevance is reflected in recent developments in philosophy, shifts in our socio-cultural landscape and is finding expression in the visual arts. This questioning of our human-centric perspective is reflected through current ideas found in the works of Bruno Latour, Graham Harman, Quentin Meillassoux, Anselm Franke and others.

The question: what exactly is object abuse is by no means obvious, when you think about it, who is to say the object in question is passive and not active? Also it is worth asking where does the form of abuse originate from? What qualifies abuse, is it quantifiable, can we identify subtler variations? And for that matter; what is an object, or rather can we say what is not an object…with any real certainty?

OA‘s function is to invite a multidisciplinary engagement; to be a forum, a curatorial framework and an archival space.

We welcome expressions of interest and contributions to the ongoing debate.