Issue 005

object

Utter Journal, Issue 005. Summer 2020.

£5

Object

What is the object? Immeasurable principle or material presence? The scale of the object as the subject is vast, far too big to catalogue in this publication. Defined as ‘a material thing that can be seen or touched’, necessitates some sort of umbrella in order to corral a level of reasoning.

Set against humanity’s most desired object, what we see, and touch bears no reference to function. The mobile phone is flat, thin, small, shiny and outwardly celebrate the riveting boredom of minimalist design and conformity. Its main selling point is its camera and yet a camera bears little visual synthesis with the mobile phone, even if a generation’s perception of a camera, will be a mobile phone.

It could be argued the visual cartography of object, as defining progress, has less and less to delight in. The components of living have morphed into an ever-closer approximation of everything else. Things just look the same, even when they are different. Was there a time when the object took hold of the imagination, defined a memory? Well, yes. I remember my first typewriter, my first camera and the telephone we had in the house at that time. They intoned their use by virtue of their design.

There was a fizz of excitement around each of their operations. They had a value which was physical, a level of process which was unique, encapsulating a sense of time and purpose. It’s fair to say that I also remember my first mobile phone, albeit for different reasons. It was vast, had a separate handset, and a battery the size of the one you had in the car.

The few items I’ve brought together for Utter Journal 5 are still with me, they were all made in Europe [apart from the typewriter], still in full working order [apart from the typewriter], carry a code from a pre-digital age and have all been superseded by the functionality of the mobile phone. The objects I’ve selected haven’t been around for very long themselves so, in the cavalcade of technological evolution, it will be interesting to witness the terrain in sixty years.

[The draft for this text was written with pencil and paper, while sitting at a table and chair.]