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Inanimate Objects

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Morgan Bliss

on 7 February 2013

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Transcript of Inanimate Objects

Inanimate Objects Amanda C, Morgan, Amy 1) Who is Jane Bennett? Modernity and Enchantment Artwork People's perception/ Hoarding A challenge has to do with defining such vague and complex terms as “modernity” and “enchantment.” Taken separately, each term has a multitude of meanings. However when the two terms are paired under a particular interpretation of the relationship between “modernity and enchantment,” each assumes greater specificity through their joint interrelationship. It thus has the benefit of illumining some of the different stances that historians have taken toward defining modernity as a whole. 2) Jane Bennett is a profeesor at the Johns Hopkins University of Arts and Sciences. She works in the department of political science and is interested in how objects can impact a person's life. She is the author of "Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things". 3) Thing Power 1 - Trash 4) Jane Bennett looked at a collection of trash on the ground an noticed that the objects shimmered back and forth between trash and thing, stuff to ignore and stuff that commands attention. 5) She thought that the garbage could exist as a reference to human flaws or projects, and compared this garbage to the common "materialistic life" of society. 6) Bennett then arranged pieces of garbage to form a still life to show the relationship between the objects and how this gave them a kind of "persona" or a "Thing-Power". 7) A "Thing-Power" is the ability of inanimate objects to animate, act, and/or produce effects. 8) Thing Power 2 - Creative Self-Organization 9) Was it possible that Bennett's captivation over the trash was inspired by memories and effects that had accumulated around her idea of those items? 10) Within the article, Bennett describes how a man named Kafka believes that inanimate objects have the ability to jump between animate and inanimate. He refused any sharp distinction between the two and used "living" to stress that life was less a thing and more of a happening. 11) Thing Power 3 - Conjunctions 12) Bennett believes that there is an ability of materiality to move across distinctions between matter and life. 13) This capacity is liked to the fact that every thing with an individual existence is deemed a "mode". 14) Using this theory, Bennett describes that each human is always in the process of entering into a set of relationships with other "modes". 15) A material body always resides within some assembly, and its ability to produce an effect/animate is a function of that grouping. In other words, a thing has power by virtue of its relationship with the other things in its environment. 16) It is suggested that the Thing-Power is a property of being in an assembly. 17) Thing-Power Materialism is a theory that states that matter likes to make connections and form networks of relations with varying degrees of stability. 18) Thing-Power 4 Actancy 19) The term "actant" can be either human or nonhuman: it is that which DOES SOMETHING or has some way of performing actions, producing effects, and altering situations. 20) Today, there is a tendency to call expressions of Thing-Power a human operation, since humans are seen to be the ultimate source of something that has the ability to animate/act/produce effects. 21) Naivete 22) A man named Lucretius states that inanimate things have a life of their own - a vitality or energy within them, a moment of independence from other things. 23) Adorno states that things are already humanized objects, as this status arises the moment something comes into our awareness. 24) Bennett points out that while humans have a kind of naive realism:

- a moment of naivete is able to be dome without any discernment of Thing-Power if we are to be able to acknowledge the force of matter

- concentration of the insight that any Thing-Power recognized is an effect of culture and is an insight that diminishes any potential to render more clarity into the world. 25) Walking, Taking Minerals 26) Thing-Power Materialism describes how things have the power to move humans, who have the ability to move themselves. 27) Humans can then be thought to be composed of a complex materiality, composed of simple materials that inanimate objects are also made out of. This may cause there to be a connection between us and objects, linking and creating relationships/ allowing us to create an easy relationship with objects. 28) There is a danger, besides the possibility of treating humans as objects, that we may reduce objects to mere objects to just mere objects - things destined for trash (insignificant). 29) Bennett believes that in order to increase ones awareness of the vitality of the world, we must have sympathy or a certain feeling of enchantment or love of the world. 30) Negativity and Things 31) Because humans are materials, they possess a Thing-Power of their own, which can result as a sort of resistance or negativity. 32) This negativity/resistance can be described as non-identity, or lack of a connection between concept and thing.

Adorno recommends various excersizes to honour this non-identity and therefore hone in on it: 33)
1. Make the process of conceptualization itself as an object of reflection.

2. Admit the 'playful' element into ones thinking and attempt to understand by appearing as though you completely comprehend the idea.

3. Imagine emergent possibilities and do not restrict yourself to the examination of existing objects. 34) Bennett's primary goal is to give expression to Thing-Power. She wants to enliven the debate over what materiality is and what it does. To Bennett, the term "inanimate" means something that cannot perform any sort of action, nor can it produce effects or alter situations. Because most objects have the ability to do all these things, it is possible that she doesn't consider these objects to be inanimate after all. Tim Noble and Sue Webster These two artists collaborate to create art pieces that use "inanimate objects" such as garbage that, when shone light upon, create a shadow that depicts the bodies of the artists. Perhaps the artists use objects that the relate to or have some sort of relation to in their lives and use these objects to depict themselves. By Michael Saler

In recent years, historians from disparate fields have independently challenged the longstanding sociological view that modernity is characterized by “disenchantment.”

To disenchant is to free from illusion, yet it seems as though the view of disenchantment allows mysteries that defy science to exist and is used also to allow reason. This view maintains that wonders have been demystified by science, spirituality has been supplanted by secularism, spontaneity has been replaced by bureaucratization, and the imagination has been subordinated to instrumental reason.

In the past decade, however, a new historiographic position, if not consensus, has emerged that presents Western modernity as “enchanted.” Valerie Blass Christine Swintak worked on creating a consciousness on the shed. Recreating the way that many people who are obsessed with certain objects and how they behaved towards certain things. Trying to place feeling within an inanimate object she found that she couldn't feel the sheds 'consciousness' and she believed that it was because of the way felt towards the 'object' of her obsession. Swintak
Self Aware Shed Authors tend to present the interrelationship between modernity and enchantment in one of three ways, each of which corresponds to an “ideal type” that the author holds about the question, either explicitly or implicitly.

These can be called the binary, dialectical, and antinomial approaches, although those are somewhat rough and ready heuristic labels intended to highlight key features of particular interpretations. The binary and the dialectical approaches to the topic, with their “either/or” logic, have been common since the late nineteenth century, but the antinomial approach, with its “both/and” logic, seems to have become the prevailing one in recent years. HOARDERS? People who accumulate or gather objects they find interesting 3 main points why hoarders act the way they do to inanimate objects: 1: Slowness According to the therapists in the Hoarders show, hoarding is often caused by a loss of a family member, something important, or just loneliness. Unlike us humans, objects made from materials such as metal or plastic, can last forever. The slow process of decaying reassures the hoarders that the objects will not disappear before them. 2: Proximity/ Contagion Relationship in how objects with their "thing" power can invade or fuse with any body or medium. Conative: to drive or to seek alliance of other bodies to enhance itself/vitality 3: Inorganic Sympathy Non hoarders does not tend to think inanimate objects have feelings. Valarie's interest in the artifacts of the past influence her sculptural works because her intrigued feelings put more meaning and purpose behind the pieces that she places in her works. Rather than just finding pieces of garbage she looks for artifacts that have meaning to her or society.
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