Mediating/Investigating The Emotional Life Of The Object After The Death Of The Owner

Before we are able to enter language, objects bring us into contact with the world beyond our mother’s body. We use the same apparatus again to deal with a loss; we attach ourselves to their objects. But how can we choose what to keep and what to throw away? This is hard. This is why so many objects are being donated to museums. But do they have value, energy, life, beyond the emotions the donator feels of them? What counts as ‘dirt’ is subjective; Britney Spears’ chewing gum at auction anyone?

This is a conversation that took place between Rose Martin, Fiona Candlin, Julie Westerman, Andy Welland and Lea Torp Nielsen. It started at 3:30pm on 23rd march 2012, and is still going.

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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.

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