Jules Prown The Truth of Material Culture Discussion
How do we find out about past belief systems? We have objects: books, letters, legal documents. For example: we can look at Thomas Paine’s common sense and see exactly what the Boston tea party was about.
Also, people used to have the same copy of the bible. When a bible goes into a home, it becomes evidence of a particular set of users, however it can also be studied to learn about how people used bible’s in the past. The bible can be read as a literary document and also as an individual object with significance. As can most objects. They can embody a particular history.
It is more a process of interpretation when dealing with material culture, it is a little bit like anthropology, and understanding culture and social relations and objects as evidence.
The goal of the interpretive process is to think about the unique qualities of an object to access its broader cultural context.
Ekphrasis: casting one art form into another, like dancing a poem.
Written text can be a visual representation of an object, and it can represent all the modes. For example, text can say how something smells, whereas, just a picture of something does not.
As you are writing text descriptions of your 3D models, think about what the text brings to the table.
Affordances of written text: will always be accessible, whereas as maybe 3D models could go obsolete in a couple years. Also, text is a better way to explain things than images as it can be used by people with visual disabilities.
To what extent do we need stuff or do people need us to need stuff. Desire for things drives the economy. Think about how things are set up to make us want more things.
For the 3D model object analysis:
The Prownian object analysis and Kenneth Haltman reading is vital for what you are going to do in this class. Make sure to understand it. You will be contributing to the Phoenix collection. It is a collection of objects that were under Marta. A lot of late 18th to early 19th century stuff. Also Manuel’s Tavern has a conservation project going on. Look at Atlanta artifacts.net. There is an archive section in the library. Begin to think about choosing an object.
We use the language of analogy and metaphor to describe objects. But you begin by first accessing the thing in its particular details.
Pretend that you are from a culture that is completely unfamiliar with the object, then use analogies and metaphors to describe it.
Don’t go straight to analogy. Try to be as specific as possible (with adjectives) before using like or as.
Steps for object analysis (from Haltman):
- Choose an object.
- Thoroughly describe an object.
- Think about intellectual and sensory responses (make metaphors and similes).
- Begin to think about associations you make between this object and other objects.