'Yesterday’s Objects: The Death and Afterlife of Everyday Things'
Autopsies Research Project Study Day
Friday, 4 June 2010
University College London (UCL)
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 with it the disappearance of many public and private objects that only recently seemed essential to ‘modern life.’
Responding to recent work in cultural history, spatial studies, and 'thing theory,' this study day reflects on the ends of objects, raising questions of modernity, obsolescence, memory, collecting and recording. How can critical theorists and cultural historians participate in the reflexion on the ends of objects—from their physical finitude to the very projects for their disposal, the latter increasingly of concern with the multiplication of things that do not gently decompose into their own night?
This study day on ‘Yesterday’s Objects’ will investigate the everyday objects—the fridges, typewriters, and jukeboxes—that have irrevocably changed our lives. We invite papers that will explore how these objects have refashioned and reimagined our work, home, and leisure spaces. We are interested in hearing research on ‘built-in’ obsolescence and other processes of ‘renewal’ that have changed consumer habits. We are also eager to welcome papers on the economic and environmental implications of this process.
The Autopsies Project forms part of the UCL Film Studies Space interdisciplinary research project on ‘Cinematic Memory, Consumer Culture, and Everyday Life’. The UCL Film Studies Space is a centre devoted to the cultural history of the moving image. We are particularly interested in proposals for papers that address how still and moving images represent objects. We encourage work on cinema, television, photography, and the arts of advertising.
Individual papers are invited from scholars and researchers in any discipline of the humanities, arts, social sciences, and sciences. Scholars from postgraduate to permanent senior academics are welcome to submit papers.
Suggested topics include, but are not limited to :
· the representation of objects in cinema and the visual arts
· the role of advertising in consumer culture
· history of technology
· industrial and interior design
· domestic objects
· object disposal
· the object and the museum
· objects and the spaces they inhabit
Send abstracts of no more than 300 words for 20-minute papers with your name, institution and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, 26 April 2010. We will read proposals and respond by Monday, 3 May 2010.
For further information on the project see,
The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.