➤ to note a certain fascination with objects has often meant an aversion to theory.
➤ take up the call of Adorno for an ‘Arcades orthodoxy’ (pace Benjamin) in that the description of objects is mediated, requiring a theoretical contextualization of things.
➤ take up case studies, trinkets, objects, material culture in a way that perhaps starts with commodities, but then adds market, money, production, circulation, division of labour, technology, training, credit, valourization and decline of the rate of profit into the mix as well. (pace Capital).
➤ so, I am thinking of Benjamin, maybe looking at how we maybe take the Arcades as a model, but want to not leave the manuscript up a mountain, incomplete and forever waiting for Adorno to read and critique. Well, at least recognizing its unfinished character. OR Michael Taussig’s work, where his myriad examples in My Cocaine Museum are assembled to order, how each of those curios has to make sense in a history, in syncopation with other examples in the archive of the imaginary institution, and provide a model for eloquence…
➤ start with an object and draw lines of significance around it. Take any object, say, perhaps the AK47, starting from seeing one used by a thug in a village (there is mention in Taussig’s book Law in a Lawless Land), its more widespread use by the rightwing paramilitaries, and the drug traders, and then the history of the FARC, of course the State machinations, the longer history of Colombia, and the International arms industry, the colonial geo-political system, the Soviet connection, the Kalishnikov family, the AK47 as the symbol of global struggle, of political liberation movements, and of course their betrayal, including in cinema, literature, photogenic media war etc… AK-47′s have – no surprise - become fashion items, jewelry, t-shirt icons, guitars etc – see here and here. More…
➤ seek to examine objects or items of congealed interest and place these theoretically and politically in a range of contexts, evoked through writing that attends to style and is inspired by the eloquence of things seen as significant. Objects matter, but not in themselves
➤ evoke and provoke the meaning and market of trinkets in ways that animate and surprise, making connections and associations that link up with a wider analysis of the current of capital as it unfolds in stuff.
➤ get something written. Sooner rather than later. Less planning, Learn to fire.