Evocative Objects (Hardcover)
Things We Think with
MIT Press (MA), 9780262201681, 385pp.
Publication Date: July 1, 2007
For Sherry Turkle, "We think with the objects we love; we love theobjects we think with." In Evocative Objects, Turkle collects writings byscientists, humanists, artists, and designers that trace the power of everydaythings. These essays reveal objects as emotional and intellectual companions thatanchor memory, sustain relationships, and provoke new ideas.These days, scholarsshow new interest in the importance of the concrete. This volume's specialcontribution is its focus on everyday riches: the simplest of objects--an apple, adatebook, a laptop computer--are shown to bring philosophy down to earth. The poetcontends, "No ideas but in things." The notion of evocative objects goes further: objects carry both ideas and passions. In our relations to things, thought andfeeling are inseparable.Whether it's a student's beloved 1964 Ford Falcon (leftbehind for a station wagon and motherhood), or a cello that inspires a meditation onfatherhood, the intimate objects in this collection are used to reflect on largerthemes--the role of objects in design and play, discipline and desire, history andexchange, mourning and memory, transition and passage, meditation and new vision.Inthe interest of enriching these connections, Turkle pairs each autobiographicalessay with a text from philosophy, history, literature, or theory, creatingjuxtapositions at once playful and profound. So we have Howard Gardner's keyboardsand Lev Vygotsky's hobbyhorses; William Mitchell's Melbourne train and RolandBarthes' pleasures of text; Joseph Cevetello's glucometer and Donna Haraway'scyborgs. Each essay is framed by images that are themselves evocative. Essays byTurkle begin and end the collection, inviting us to look more closely at theeveryday objects of our lives, the familiar objects that drive our routines, holdour affections, and open out our world in unexpected ways.