Evocative Objects: Things We Think with PDF Å Things

Evocative Objects: Things We Think with Sherry Turkle s Life on the Screen was a central text for my unfinished master s thesis about gendered communication in an online community It s beenthan a decade since I moved on to other interests and I was curious to read about what Dr Turkle is looking into these days A lovely collection of thoughtful, languid essays about evocative objects in each of the contributors lives, this book was not quite captivating enough to speed all the way though before it was due back at the library Sherry Turkle s Life on the Screen was a central text for my unfinished master s thesis about gendered communication in an online community It s beenthan a decade since I moved on to other interests and I was curious to read about what Dr Turkle is looking into these days A lovely collection of thoughtful, languid essays about evocative objects in each of the contributors lives, this book was not quite captivating enough to speed all the way though before it was due back at the library Sherry Turkle is best known for writing about the impact of the internet on identity This book is an anthology of people writing about things that are important or significant to them The range is enormous here, and many of the pieces are quite poignant If you want to get a better understanding of the human relationship with stuff all those products and objects that clutter and inhabit our lives then this collection is a wonderful way to access that Each original essay is preceded by a Sherry Turkle is best known for writing about the impact of the internet on identity This book is an anthology of people writing about things that are important or significant to them The range is enormous here, and many of the pieces are quite poignant If you want to get a better understanding of the human relationship with stuff all those products and objects that clutter and inhabit our lives then this collection is a wonderful way to access that Each original essay is preceded by a quote from a well known writer or philosopher or theorist, and some of those are pretty swell, too And because each essay is relatively short, the book is easy to pick up and put down, if you tend to be pressed for time to read as I sometimes am This collection of essays about the meaning of objects is both provocative and meditative Introduced by the Sherry Turkle, best known for her work in the digital world, these essays focus on the role that the tangible world plays in understanding our own feelings as well as the perspectives of others Particularly poignant for me was the essay about the silver pin, an object that defined the author s image of her mother Imbued with both the pain of loss and the beauty of youth, the pin evokes This collection of essays about the meaning of objects is both provocative and meditative Introduced by the Sherry Turkle, best known for her work in the digital world, these essays focus on the role that the tangible world plays in understanding our own feelings as well as the perspectives of others Particularly poignant for me was the essay about the silver pin, an object that defined the author s image of her mother Imbued with both the pain of loss and the beauty of youth, the pin evokes stories of family history and the challenges of parent child relationships These essays provided me with a myriad of perspectives on how important our physical world is in understanding the cultures around us Though none of the objects described is inherently valuable, each of the authors shares how they have infused their own object with a meaning that is both very personal and universal It gave me pause to think about museums as places that hold tangible objects in stewardship for everyone In museums focus has traditionally been on the meaning of the collections both to the individuals associated with the object as well the culture in which they were a part But these essays got me thinking that shared authorship, a new buzz word, is increasingly important because the power of objects is not just in the original interpretation, but in each viewer s individual interpretation as well Imagination allows people to make a personal connection to an object, which then continues the cultural significance of that object beyond its initial meaning Layers of understanding allow ownership of collections by the greater community, which means the objects continue to live while in protective custody of museums I love this book of essays for its terrific merging of science and the humanities Turkle, an MIT prof, asked a range of mostly scientists to pen essays around an evocative object in their lives, something that connects in very primary ways with their lives and careers She links the project to Claude Levi Strauss s idea of bricolage thinking through objects, in brief She then added small jewels of philosophical wisdom to each essay from Marx to Baudrillard One of my favorites is about a I love this book of essays for its terrific merging of science and the humanities Turkle, an MIT prof, asked a range of mostly scientists to pen essays around an evocative object in their lives, something that connects in very primary ways with their lives and careers She links the project to Claude Levi Strauss s idea of bricolage thinking through objects, in brief She then added small jewels of philosophical wisdom to each essay from Marx to Baudrillard One of my favorites is about a yellow raincoat, a kind of protective spacesuit that allowed the writer to live in what too often seemed a challenging world He went on to study the neurobiology of autism I used the idea for a set of student essays once It produced wonderful results I suggest writing your own when you ve finished the collection MIT I set this book aside, in June This what I do when I know that I am going to love a book and want to have it hovering around just in case I need solace and something to dive in to I picked it up a week ago Photography, combined with memoir writing, combined with excerpts from scholarly essays the visual, the intellectual, the emotional all together provide a great reading experience This book deepened my perspective on many objects and notions. On our connections to eveyday thingsMy own experiences echoes that of the previous reviewer David Block Turkle opens up an interesting subject for discussion but I was expecting a deeper analysis The closing essay by Turkle indicates and reviews points of interest but but doesn t satisfy I was expecting Turkle to sayto tie the ideas together.The bulk of the book is a collection of essays by researchers at MIT about particular objects that they have imbued with personal meaning Most of On our connections to eveyday thingsMy own experiences echoes that of the previous reviewer David Block Turkle opens up an interesting subject for discussion but I was expecting a deeper analysis The closing essay by Turkle indicates and reviews points of interest but but doesn t satisfy I was expecting Turkle to sayto tie the ideas together.The bulk of the book is a collection of essays by researchers at MIT about particular objects that they have imbued with personal meaning Most of these are quite enjoyable, the ones that stood out for me include Carole Strohecker on Knots , Judith Donath on her 1964 Ford Falcon I was the last owner of a 1964 Ford Fairlane and can relate and Howard Gardiner on Keyboards I m reading him in another book as I review the index every single essay except Turkle s is memorable.Initially I tried to read the book in a single setting, and then got bored it was good, but not all at once I then finished it bit by bit, sipping the experiences I d recommend this as a gift book for someone who is a collector or who someone like myself just likes to browse in antique and craft shops for interesting items I d also recommend this book for writing teachers as a jumping off point for student essays.Perhaps the best response to reading this book is to write your own personal chapter about similar objects in your own life, perhaps one that connects you to a previous generation For example I have a scalloped bowl designed to look like a leaf of lettuce that belonged to my mother and before that my grandmother Its slightly chipped , but I use it carefully once a year in memory of them This is a series of very short essays desscribing the objects very loosely defined that the authors used to negociate indentity, family, loss, career and abilitites The Subtitle is Things to think with but most of the authors describe their feelings, and mostly in terms that suggested that the subtle and immersive shifts of sensory memory cannot be adequately put into words Which might be true, but made for tedious and repetitive reading And many of them felt the need to quote Proust and This is a series of very short essays desscribing the objects very loosely defined that the authors used to negociate indentity, family, loss, career and abilitites The Subtitle is Things to think with but most of the authors describe their feelings, and mostly in terms that suggested that the subtle and immersive shifts of sensory memory cannot be adequately put into words Which might be true, but made for tedious and repetitive reading And many of them felt the need to quote Proust and his inevitable Madelaine, it does not seem possible to write about memory without bringing that up Also almost all the authors were academics, which again made for repetition in lifestyle, writing style and priorities, and they took the oppertunity to promote their research, even when it wasn t relevant I m sure it would have been ainteresting book if the editor had made an effort to speak to people less like her, with a broader variety of experience Before I start, may I say that I love the jacket on this Beautiful snow blue lettering on black rich and ethereal at the same time.Content wise, this collection was better than I expected I was very interested in reading it but when it arrived and I saw that most of the essays were written by MIT professors associates, I got cold feet Some of the essays were evocative, whereas others failed to convey much beyond an intellectualized symbol To evoke, for me, is to awaken emotion and memory a Before I start, may I say that I love the jacket on this Beautiful snow blue lettering on black rich and ethereal at the same time.Content wise, this collection was better than I expected I was very interested in reading it but when it arrived and I saw that most of the essays were written by MIT professors associates, I got cold feet Some of the essays were evocative, whereas others failed to convey much beyond an intellectualized symbol To evoke, for me, is to awaken emotion and memory and the essays that failed in my eyes ignored the former Some of the essays may touch readers although the object being examined may be outside their usual haunts, like ballet slippers or the glucometer Other objects don t seem to leave the hands of the writers pondering them the writer of the essay on the Polaroid camera, for example, didn t reach out to me at all But maybe I m just an emotional lush the essay on the rolling pin was my favorite 5 stars for that one For Sherry Turkle, We think with the objects we love we love the objects we think with In Evocative Objects, Turkle collects writings by scientists, humanists, artists, and designers that trace the power of everyday things These essays reveal objects as emotional and intellectual companions that anchor memory, sustain relationships, and provoke new ideas These days, scholars show new interest in the importance of the concrete This volume s special contribution is its focus on everyday riches the simplest of objects an apple, a datebook, a laptop computer are shown to bring philosophy down to earth The poet contends, No ideas but in things The notion of evocative objects goes further objects carry both ideas and passions In our relations to things, thought and feeling are inseparableWhether it s a student s belovedFord Falcon left behind for a station wagon and motherhood , or a cello that inspires a meditation on fatherhood, the intimate objects in this collection are used to reflect on larger themes the role of objects in design and play, discipline and desire, history and exchange, mourning and memory, transition and passage, meditation and new visionIn the interest of enriching these connections, Turkle pairs each autobiographical essay with a text from philosophy, history, literature, or theory, creating juxtapositions at once playful and profound So we have Howard Gardner s keyboards and Lev Vygotsky s hobbyhorses William Mitchell s Melbourne train and Roland Barthes pleasures of text Joseph Cevetello s glucometer and Donna Haraway s cyborgs Each essay is framed by images that are themselves evocative Essays by Turkle begin and end the collection, inviting us to look closely at the everyday objects of our lives, the familiar objects that drive our routines, hold our affections, and open out our world in unexpected ways


About the Author: Sherry Turkle

Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauz Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder 2001 and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self Professor Turkle received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist.Professor Turkle writes on the subjective side of people s relationships with technology, especially computers She is an expert on mobile technology, social networking, and sociable robotics Profiles of Professor Turkle have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Scientific American, and Wired Magazine She has been named woman of the year by Ms Magazine and among the forty under forty who are changing the nation by Esquire Magazine She is a featured media commentator on the social and psychological effects of technology for CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the BBC, and NPR, including appearances on such programs as Nightline, Frontline, 20 20, and The Colbert Report.


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