Exposition and Material Culture: A Natural Relationship

Through this course, I have used Material Culture Studies as an avenue to understand the varied impact of the application of exposition. Whether it was learning my own object, or reading about other people describing theirs. When reading “Unpacking My Library”, I remembered one of my first attempts of unpacking my own personal emotions about my book collection. This post was assigned as a five-minute synthesis of our class introduction, which opened discussion with begging the question: Why do we care about our stuff? What makes us care about some of our stuff more than the rest? I have to say, Walter Benjamin put my emotions and attachments much more eloquently and efficiently than my five minute mental rant of attachment. As I read the article, I felt absolute relief to see it clearly– and to know I wasn’t alone. I believe this is the purpose of Exposition: To synthesize research, with or without the use of a narrative, to create a clear expression of the topic and/or its impact. Which, is honestly a perfect marriage with how I define and understand Material Culture Studies: Expressing an object or event’s purpose while exploring the cultural meaning through time. Let’s consider this Mean Girl’s Clip from 0:00-0:11, as the girls’ employing Material Culture Studies to try and define the hierarchy of phrasing and objects. Obviously, there is the power of persuasion going on in the background– Regina knows she has established her power and ethos within the group which is why her definitions are ultimately abided by. However, taking that aspect out of the discourse, there is an interesting workshop of Material Culture Studies in their...

Blog Post 8: Potential Purposes of Telling History

In previous posts, I’ve touched on the human impact on history, and it is a theme that I constantly find myself reflecting on while reading for this class and working on my object’s definition for our project. It’s true that in a growing technological world that there are fears of human disconnection– it’s the basis of many Science Fiction works. However, there seems to be more evidence that technology is enhancing and encouraging human interaction and cataloging. As we move into a generation of user-generated content, we’re creating endless historical catalogs. There are multiple perspectives, mediums, topics, and events that are covered daily. For example, SnapChat had compilations of users during International Women’s Day, several marches on Washington, and cover the casual culture of modern America, too. There is undoubtedly an opportunity within these processes of sharing personal experience to create a larger weaved narrative of the current moment in time. Even beyond social media accounts of trends and events, there are growing amounts of online exhibits that use high quality representations of historical material with the broad reach of the internet to reach wider audiences than ever before. But the question still remains: Why do we still feel the need to catalog our accounts or research these accounts? Alexis’ blog post 7 about iodine history plays with this question while she raises the question of inaccuracies within historical texts. She mentions that there are celebrity accounts and authors that seem to supersede the accounts of other participants in history– to the point that those participants’ accounts do not exist in history. There seems to be a casual fame attached to archival practices, especially in today’s...

Blog 6: Electronic Companionship

This article encouraged my brains to wander down the rabbit hole of what relationships I hold– and how relationships are, on some level, a learned habit. Think of the first time you dropped your smartphone in water, or the phone skated right across the edge of the toilet bowl or glass of water. On my account, at least, there was a rush of adrenaline, fear, and regret. Why do we hold such a close relationship with smartphones? There is of course the argument of cost, but that is not the first thing we think of– in fact, people make the replacement happen against odds. There is something different in losing my smartphone than when I would drop or almost drown my dumb phone in 2008. As Carla Diana points out in the article, all the information is available on a desktop or laptop. However, we honestly feel like we can’t live without our smartphones. There’s a dependency based relationship with this object. We have a habit we don’t want or need to kick, so we create a bond with it. Of course, Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPA)– like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa– complicates things when considering this relationship because there is a human response. Carla Diana muses about how this relationship gets messy when the devices need repair, lose wifi connection, or malfunctions in any other way breaks our fourth wall that our devices are just objects. They don’t harbor the life force that we wish to protect that Carla Diana describes within animals, plants, and water sources. There is not an ecological responsibility explanation for why we dive our hands into toilets and...

Questions of: Cute Things

In the article, they addressed childish forms of cute, such as cartoons, babies, animals, etc. I’m wondering if the same logic could be applied to “cute” with a slightly different, more adult intention. For example: “He/She is so cute”, “That top/dress/clothing is cute!” “Your makeup is cute”. in those examples, the definition of cute is not in the innocent sense. With makeup, specifically, generally the intent is attractiveness or sexiness– Which is very different from a stuffed animal’s intent. Do we consider the use of cute in those instances misused in order to simplify our feelings? Or, is there a spectrum of cute that applies to emotional...
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