Three objects exemplify for me the capacity of things to trigger or make thinkable otherwise elusive ideas.

They are, first, a small figurative sculpture of a mother and child from late 19th or early 20th century Borneo; second, a rubber-stamp mounted on a small block of laminated wood, bearing a barcode and a label stating it to have been handcrafted in Emeryville, California, ©2003 Hero Arts Rubber Stamps, Inc.; and third, a gold-coloured metal invitation, also laminated, to the opening of the Crypt of Civilization at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Bornean figure is part of the Charles Hose collection in the British Museum. It is not a celebrated piece and is not even on display. The mother clasps her baby so that its head appears to replace one of her breasts, not simply to squash it as an avid little sucker might do.…

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Material World – a new webspace

Welcome to Material World, an interactive, online hub for contemporary debates, discussion, thinking and research centred on material and visual culture. It is the brainchild of scholars working in the anthropology departments of University College London and New York University, but aims to create a new international community of academics, students, curators, artists and anyone else with particular interests in material and visual culture.
We will use this digital framework to post exhibition, book and other reviews; discuss key topics; develop online reading groups and symposia; post links to images, objects and collections; highlight cutting edge research and fieldwork, conferences, meetings and other events; develop teaching resources and syllabi; and encourage student participation.

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