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Evocative Objects: Things We Think With (MIT Press) Paperback – September 30, 2011
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Original, absorbing, and beautifully written, this collection of essays will forever change the way you look at the objects in your life.(Helen Epstein, author of Children of the Holocaust and Where She Came From: A Daughter's Search for her Mother's History)
A wonderfully evocative (there really is no other word for it) series of meditations on meaningful objects.(PD Smith The Guardian)
Evocative Objects is a collection of great richness and complexity. Reading these essays transforms one"s sense of the most commonplace objects, and prompts us to explore the palimpsest of the past within us.(Jill Ker Conway, President Emerita, Smith College, author of The Road from Coorain)
About the Author
Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and Founder and Director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. A psychoanalytically trained sociologist and psychologist, she is the author of The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit (Twentieth Anniversary Edition, MIT Press), Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, and Psychoanalytic Politics: Jacques Lacan and Freud's French Revolution. She is the editor of Evocative Objects: Things We Think With, Falling for Science: Objects in Mind, and The Inner History of Devices, all three published by the MIT Press.
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Top Customer Reviews
I can heartily recommend Turkle's two chapters on photography in Evocative Objects: The Polaroid SX-70 Instant Camera by Stefan Helmreich and Salvaged Photographs by Glrianna Davenport. Turkle's includes these two chapters in a section of the book entitled "Mourning and Memory". My involvement with technology actually began because of my father's career in photography. There were many cameras in our home, 8x10 black and white glossies on most tables. Our family life was more visually documented than most I think, but as "the photographer" my father disappeared behind the camera. Maybe, if you pick up this book, and read these two chapters, you might identify in yourself these feelings of grief and mourning that accompany the photographs. Over the years, I have learned to ration the time I spend with photographs of the past, because they are so immersive and draw me into the image.
It is one of the fundamental insights Turkle's makes in her entire body of work on the social and psychological impact of technologies. Whether it is computers, smartphones, or a glucometer we run the danger of plunging into the world of these evocative objects and stepping out of our more immediate, present lives.
This is an unexpectedly delightful yet seriously thoughtful book that invites you reexamine your relationship to objects, about which, you seldom, if ever think.
It's a collection of essays written by humanists, designers, scientists and artists--thoughtful individuals--that disclose the fluidity and complexity of being alive by revealing their very personal relationships with objects as mundane as a rolling pin and as banal as comic book superheroes.
Each essay is paired with writings from philosophy, history, literature and theory which resonate with the essay in ways that illuminate both what the essayist is saying and what he or she means.
Each essay, in a very different way, demonstrates why it is a mistake to assume that objects are nothing more than inanimate collections of atoms and molecules. They show instead that objects can be and often are capable of evoking potent emotional responses dealing with grief, fear, loss, love, hatred, abandonment, intellectual curiosity, poverty and existence.
Here's a taste of what's in store for you should you choose to read this book:
From the essay MURRAY: THE STUFFED BUNNY
Before the essay the paired writing offers this: "To get to the idea of playing it is helpful to think of the preoccupation that characterizes the playing of a young child. The content does not matter. What matters is the near withdrawal state, akin to the concentration of older children and adults. The playing child inhabits an area that cannot be easily left, nor can it easily admit intrusions. This area of playing is not inner psychic reality. It is outside the individual but it is not the external world.Read more ›
Rather, there is a class of special things (in the sense above) comprised of "invocative objects": they do cause changes in us, they likely relate to a stage of development and there is something in them and something in us that are "the same." Or so I gather from Sherry's closing essay.
That said, the collection is fascinating - and Sherry's essays should be seen as no different in kind from any of the others. Perhaps that's what saddens me: she recognizes her invocative objects - the photograph and the imago of her dad and the world of "the grandparent's box" - and she fails the test of ultimate engagement. (All the other writers pass, with varying grades).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is not a note about the book itself, which I think would have been very interesting, but I was VERY annoyed with the format, with no links to notes and back. Read morePublished 9 months ago by anonyme
It delivers what it says it will, i.e. a compilation of essays that explore people's relationships with objects. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Reid Wegner
Had problems with original download of kindle ed. Returned and repurchased with no problems. Happy with the purchase. Read morePublished on April 1, 2013 by Anonymous
The only reason I purchased this book was for bookclub. Didn't enjoy it, not my cup of tea.Published on October 1, 2009 by Trailsboop
This book vividly illustrates that not all human attachments to inanimate objects can be casually discounted as mere materialism. Read morePublished on May 15, 2009 by P. J.
My 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. Read morePublished on February 8, 2009 by L. King