Post 13. What it's like to be a thing?
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
While reading Ian Bogost book “Alien Phenomenology or What it’s Like to Be a Thing”(1), which as the title describes develops a philosophy over the existence of the things, I can not take of my mind various animation movies which brings the things into life.
Cars, Toy Story, Beauty and the beast and many other films made objects to have voice and character. What if this concept is not just a childish concept but we can make a philosophical discussion out of it.
Can we imagine the existence of the objects beyond our existence? Most of us haven’t even thought about this question. How would that be to be a thing? How is their world? As Ian Bogost suggest we need to move in to a speculative realism in order to be able to decelerate our existence from the objects and vice versa. It is difficult indeed to think that objects that we use in our everyday life exist even when we do not use them. The most appropriate example is the plastic bottles, For us they have a purpose as long as they are full with water. Then they are done with caring water they end up in rubbish and they probably live the rest of their lives (which is for ever and incomparable much much longer than their period of use) in a landfill.
In our recent exhibition at Horniman Museaum me and my colleagues exhibit plastic in jars as they are an exhibit of the museum. This museum exhibit a lot of wild life in the form of taxidermy, skeletons and specimens preserved in fluid(2). In this collection we temporary add the plastics as we are thinking that they are part of our ecosystem and unfortunately they will live much longer from us.
The exhibit can be extended beyond the ecological angle showcasing that objects are not only a tool for us to use but they have an existence on their own. Still is really hard to be detached from their actually purpose of existence and that is because it is really difficult for us to accept at least for a moment that we are not the center of the world.
In conclusion, thinking how is it to be a think worth take a moment of our time as it can leads us to deferent questions about humanity and our actions in this planet and in addiction to understand that objects may exist beyond our existence and independently .
(1)Bogost, I. (2012). Alien phenomenology, or, What it's like to be a thing. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
(2)Gardens, T. (2019). Natural History - Displays. [online] Horniman.ac.uk. Available at: https://www.horniman.ac.uk/visit/displays/natural-history#image-2 [Accessed 26 Mar. 2019].