Observed Decay: Telling Stories with Mutable Things

  title={Observed Decay: Telling Stories with Mutable Things},
  author={Caitlin DeSilvey},
  journal={Journal of Material Culture},
  pages={318 - 338}
The degradation of cultural artefacts is usually understood in a purely negative vein: the erosion of physical integrity is associated with a parallel loss of cultural information. This article asks if it is possible to adopt an interpretive approach in which entropic processes of decomposition and decay, though implicated in the destruction of cultural memory traces on one register, contribute to the recovery of memory on another register. The article tracks the entanglement of cultural and… 
The art of leftovers: Memory, matter and decay
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Mobile Temporalities: Place, Ruination and the Dialectics of Time
This chapter explores the ambiguous, contradictory and often transient ways in which the past enters our lives. It sheds light on the interplay of mobility and temporality in the life-worlds of two
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Geographers have begun to investigate the link between creative production and cultural memory-work, exploring how art interventions frame and facilitate engagements with the past in place. This
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Abstract Much has been written about constructing memories of place, yet few speak of the difficulties in dealing with lost, partial and fragmented histories of place. We argue that behind the idea
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ABSTRACT Neo-relics, constructions borrowing their looks from ancient structures or sites ranging from the mighty Stonehenge to a humble Troy town, have recently been erected in different parts of


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The preservation of selected sites and artefacts privileges certain forms of cultural memory. Other material cultures, no longer useful and deemed unworthy of preservation, accumulate in overlooked
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Acts of Memory presents 15 tightly integrated essays that illustrate the active role of individual and cultural memory in tying the past to the present. Memory, or memorialization, is a cultural
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In this paper I argue that in the now-extensive work on the sociology of consumption there is very little that addresses directly the important issue of disposal. Furthermore, I argue that disposal
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Patterned Ground unravels the entangled relationships between nature and culture. Around 100 entries by leading names in new geography and related disciplines focus on various ‘objects’ in the
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In 1851, a war began in what would become Yosemite National Park, a war against the indigenous inhabitants that has yet to come to a real conclusion. A century later - 1951 - and about a hundred and
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The meaning that people attribute to things necessarily derives from human transactions and motivations, particularly from how those things are used and circulated. The contributors to this volume
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This qualitative study explores how the concept of authenticity is constructed, experienced and employed by visitors and staff in the provocative landscape of the ghost town of Bodie, California.