Archives for category: anthropology

More future of dead things:

Both Grinding and Environmental Graffiti highlight the work of Brian Dettmer who has turned the ‘dead technology’ of cassette tapes into skeletal creatures, two examples of which are above and below.

Environmental Graffiti says:

“The shells of cassette tapes make up the bones of life-sized human skeletons and animal skulls – so the new creations appear more lifeless than the media from which they are formed.”

Yet, I cannot see the work as lifeless. If anything, Dettmer’s work anthropomorphises the dead cassettes into something more readily identifiable and emotional. By creating skeletons we see analogue music turning into fossils of the passed.

While some bibliophiles may roar in outrage, Dettmer has also worked his magic with books. Again from Environmental Graffiti:

“After first sealing the book, he carves into it, removing content wielding instruments such as a scalpel and tweezers, to reveal fragmented images and words. In this way, the book – often old and hardback – is excavated till it becomes a complex 3D sculpture, at once splitting from and retaining remnants of its original meaning. (my italics)”


I mentioned that I like new things, and one of them is actually ‘dead objects’. Or, the ‘Autopsies Project‘  which is, as Haidy L Geismar says on the Material World blog,:

“The Autopsies Project explores how objects die. Just as the twentieth century was transformed by the advent of new forms of media – the typewriter, gramophone, and film, for example – the arrival of the twenty-first century has brought the phasing out of many public and private objects that only recently seemed essential to “modern life.” The project brings together a team of postgraduate students and full-time lecturers, from several humanities and social science disciplines to reflect on the ends of objects, raising questions of modernity, obsolescence, memory, collecting and recording.”

The Autopsies obituaries section, and the website itself, is really rather interesting, for example one of the posts is about ‘Matches‘, you know, those phospherous headed sticks that you use to light things. Below is an abstract:

“On consideration, I decided they may in fact be the ultimate in dead objects, for their useful working lives are so short they are pretty much dead on arrival. They are struck, they burst into momentary flame and then are consigned to ashtray, bin, or pavement. On a wider scale, matches have been traditionally shunned in favour of the mechanical lighter which is refuelled and re-used.”

I urge you to check out the website if only to wonder in awe at what is being covered. I’ll even post the address again: The Autopsies Project. Go Now

link from the BBC and News AU

One of South America’s few remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes has been spotted and photographed on the border between Brazil and Peru. (Says the BBC article)

This is worth noting in itself, but I also wanted to repost something I wrote from a discussion board I visit:

This is very catching to my anthropologists eye.

It seems amazing how with all the worlds ‘advances’ and exploration there are still people yet to be encountered. To me this is awesome, and not because there is now a new people to explore and exploit. But, rather as the news article linked to suggested, the legal and political discussions that are going to happen should be interesting and far more wide ranging than simply impacting this new people.

I will have to try and keep and eye on this