Authors:Blanca Callén (BAU, Design College of Barcelona)
Soledad Gutiérrez Rodríguez
Linda Valdes (Fundació Antoni Tàpies)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the conditions and reasons that weaken and break the linkages that bond us with our everyday objects. Inspired by archaeological method, we compile and analyse interviews and objects thrown away by their owners in order to comprehend the moments before and around breakdown.
Paper long abstract:
Our vulnerable bodies and finite lives are sustained by ambivalent relations of inter-dependency (Tronto, 1993; López-Gil, 2013) with the environment and other equally fragile bodies and 'stuff' around us. Everyday objects belong to those silent material presences that sustain our existence. And vice-versa: we, all together, compose our particular local cultures and ecologies. Considering such symmetrical material ethics (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2010), this paper asks about the multiple moments, conditions, circumstances and reasons that weaken and break the linkages that bond us with our everyday objects.
Through a qualitative research inspired by archaeological methods where human discourses are decentred, we combine the compilation and material examination of objects that were asked to be discarded or thrown away, the photographical register of their local sites, together with the individual interviews to their owners. As a result, we have compiled more than twenty interviews and objects of different types and categories, from rural and urban contexts and from 7 to 86 years' old owners. By a deep material examination and content analysis of these materials we will explain which are the main reasons and conditions for disregard, detachment and finally disposal of our daily objects. Also, by a comparison with those other stuff that owners would never throw away, we hope to comprehend more deeply some of the moments before and around breakdown. This analytical exercise can help us recognise the functions and roles that disposal, disregard or detachment can play in the (un)sustainability of our hybrid everyday ecologies.
Before/after/beyond breakdown: exploring regimes of maintenance