W4: books

Here are some books I’ve picked up recently that might be relevant to what we’re working on. I’ve only cracked 100 Objects so far, so we’ll see, but I have high hopes.

I’m just barely able to resist making that terrible meta-cliche of “yes, I did judge a book by its cover”. Pretty bloody ontographic though, in its own way. The guts are all kinds of different essays, but there seem to be a few that address different ways of communication, of breaking it up and reassessing how we tell people things. As a writer, I think it could be good external reading.

Excellent mug aside. I’ve been at this book for well over a month I’m not even into the CE, but I’m having a wonderful time. If it was an ontography (which it has not pretended to be) it would be flawed, particularly since it loves linking objects in isolated communities to the grander human condition. I think the explanations of meaning are very fair, though, particularly when there’s no way to assume knowledge. Perhaps with the more contemporary objects (listlings??? – no, they’re firmly objects) there’ll be less need to explain what they mean.

That’s got me thinking – there’s a lot of assumed knowledge in understanding ontography, at least from what I’ve read so far. Putting these listlings together without explication is all good and well if I understand what’s going on with them, but what if I don’t? To take an example from MacGregor’s work: the Basse-Yutz Flagons. I don’t know anything about early Celtic rituals, social hierarchy and culture; frankly, I’m hazy on what a flagon is, especially since these apparently aren’t anything like modern flagons / Tolkien flagons. I suppose we’ve only been introduced to simplistic ontography so far, but it’s something I’d like to keep an eye on. Can an ontography be a good or useful thing if it requires the audience to go out and research?

Love a good cultural / visual history. Curious to see the way it’s formatted, particularly given its subject. What can I learn from this about representing history?

Not strictly relevant, but trust me to go to a book fair and find a ceramic. This sweetness by Ena Ninkovic

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