Blog Post #6: Smart Things

When I was very young, I read the Raggedy Ann (and Andy) stories by Johnny Gruelle over and over again. My grandmother made a Raggedy Ann doll for me. The doll was exactly my size, and one Halloween, I borrowed her dress to go trick-or-treating as Raggedy Ann. I was fascinated by the idea that my toys might walk and talk and live when I wasn’t around. Now, I am rediscovering the Raggedy Ann stories with my daughter, who loves them, too, and while I still find them charming, I also find them a little bit horrifying. Because I remember the vague guilt I would sometimes feel when, after days of forgetting she existed, I would discover my Raggedy Ann squashed (trapped) in the bottom of a container of toys, and in a fit of remorse, I would throw her tea parties and take her everywhere for a week or two before forgetting about her once again.

In her essay, “The Dream of Intelligent Robot Friends,” Carla Diana seems to welcome the possibility of smart objects that could respond to and interact with us:

The tools for meaningful digital-physical integration are finally accessible, but it’s still a messy challenge to get them all to work together in a meaningful way. Dreaming about robots is a bit like dreaming about finding strangers who will understand you completely upon first meeting. With the right predisposition, the appropriate context for a social exchange, and enough key info to grab onto, you and a stranger can hit it off right away, but without those things, the experience can be downright awful. Since we’ve got a lot more to understand when it comes to programming engagement and understanding, the robot of my dreams is unlikely to be commercially available any time soon, but with the right tools and data we can come pretty close.

I admit to being a technophile, like Diana. Robots, though, especially the kinds of robots she has helped to design, or the Kismet robot designed by MIT labs, evoke in me feelings of unease as well as fascination. As with the Raggedy Ann doll of my childhood, the potential “smart things” of our future raise for me the spectre of sentient objects, things that might resent us when we’re neglectful, things that might rebel if we treat them in ways they don’t like. Some scientists who work in artificial intelligence posit that things can be “smart”–that is capable of advanced human-like behavior–without being conscious or self-aware. If that’s the case, then arguably, we could have intelligent robots who aren’t bothered by their working conditions.

Yet, should feeling empathy with or responsibility toward things be dependent on a perception of those things as “intelligent” or “conscious”? For example, many of us go out of our way to avoid causing harm to animals, or plants, or even bodies of water or geologic resources. Why is it normal, even encouraged, to care for some objects but not others? How might our attitude to things like smart phones or robots be transformed if we could interact with them–and they could respond like–our pets or our friends? Would we be required to rethink the implicit ethics that guide our everyday interactions with things?

Some religions, such as the Japanese religion of shinto, posit a world in which inanimate objects are a manifestation of or are animated by living, spiritual forces. Environmentalists and animal rights activists often make compelling arguments that all living things have an equal right to existence, and that human needs and concerns must always be balanced against that right. To the extent we may develop smart objects that tend to blur the line between living beings and contrivances of inert matter, might we find ethical guidance about dealing with such smart things in religion or philosophy? Or should that guidance come from somewhere else? Or, maybe, are all of these discursive systems or intellectual disciplines potentially relevant?

Carefully read Diana’s essay, and use that piece and some of the resources linked in this prompt as a starting point for some quick research. Combine a web search with a search of the library’s eJournals, looking for resources that might help us understand the ethical systems that govern human/object interactions. Craft a post that summarizes the results of your research and provides links or citations to useful resources.

Posting: Group 2

Commenting: Group 1

Category: Smart Things

In your Blog #6 post, you should do more than offer a list of source summaries. Rather, you should frame the summary of your research, as a cohesive response to a research question that is posed or suggested by this prompt. Please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog as they’ve been outlined in the Blog Project Description.

Feature Image: “Forgotten 80/365” by Marcy Leigh on Flickr.

Blog 5: What contemporary objects can be both a tool and a weapon?

With the help of technology, each and every contemporary object can be both a tool and a weapon. Distinguishing between a tool and a weapon, simply put, is a matter of function and intent. In my opinion, this is an interesting topic because of the gray area that exists between the two. John Cline uses the example of the iphone, which seems to be, these days, the symbol of technology in the 21st century as an example of an object that may be used as weapon. While I agree with Cline, I must go a step further: Every contemporary object can be both a tool and a weapon.

In elementary school, my classmates and I were rather fond of rubber band balls. We would collect all the rubber band balls we could find and stretch them around each other until we possessed a bouncing ball. It was the perfect disguise for us. During school hours, we were innocent school children being creative, but after school… it was all out war. When the last bell of the day rang, and we were released to walk home, those rubber bands were unwound, stretched back as far as they could go, and released at the nearest ten-year-old boy we could find. Occasionally, if you thought you could recover your ball, you would just throw the whole thing at your friend’s head.

Did our teacher know that the simple tool she used to group pencils with was being used as weapons after school? If she did, she sure put on a good show after a parent found us out and notified her. Mrs. Hatch yelled at us for what felt like 30 minutes, and needless to say, we never received another rubber band.

What was the difference between the rubber band balls we made in class and the rubber bands we flung at each other? We changed the rubber bands function and intent. Any contemporary object can be used as weapon with the right amount of creativity. For instance, a book is a simple tool for learning, but let Clayton Kershaw throw it at you, and I guarantee the next time you see him with a book in his hand, you will perceive it as a weapon.

In Oculomotor Examination of the Weapon Focus Effect: Does a Gun Automatically Engage Visual Attention?, Heather D. Flowe, Lorraine Hope, and Anne P. Hillstrom explore the notion of a person being less likely remembered if they appear in a visual seen with a gun. They conclude: “An image of a gun did not engage attention to a larger extent than images of other types of objects (i.e., a pocket watch or tomato). The results suggest that context may be an important determinant of WFE. The extent to which an object is threatening may depend on the larger context in which it is presented.”


But, Why is this? In my opinion, when people see a gun, they perceive fear and the only thing they are worried about is safety. This isn’t the case with all contemporary tools. While many contemporary tools have the ability to be used as weapon, the tool actually being a weapon is a matter of one’s perception of its function and intent.




Blog Post 5: Harmless or Harmful?

An object can be many things: a tool, a weapon, a political instrument, the symbol of a culture, etc. Objects certainly have many faces, and these faces are easily interchangeable, as John Cline shows in his intriguing essay “What Is a Machete, Anyway?” For instance, a machete can quickly transform “from a boy’s plaything to an instrument of violence.” The act is so spontaneous that there is no conscious realization of this undergoing process, and the person who is responsible for it involuntarily gives character to an inanimate artifact. That is, things that look harmless have the ability to become deadly, and vice versa.

Instead of focusing my attention on objects that look dangerous but have a playful side, like the machete, I want to concentrate on those objects that seem innocuous but hide potentially lethal consequences for those who use them. What about watches, for instance? A watch seems inoffensive at first glance, but the so-called “radium girls” in the ‘20s think differently. During World War I, men went to fight on the front, and women went to work. At U.S. Radium Corp, a company in New Jersey, women painted watch dials with a material that was new at the time, radium, and in particular a radium paint powder that made watch numbers glow in the dark. Then, the women working at the factory began to get seriously ill, and  U.S. Radium Corp denied that the dial painter was harmful, claiming that radium was indeed beneficial to human health. This episode reminds me of Cline’s assertion about politics. He states that weapons like firearms, or even a machete, might lead to a possible insurrection, and for this reason state’s agents think to be the only ones entitled to use violence. This is clearly an abuse of power based on a faulty reasoning, as I believe that citizens have the right to defend themselves when necessary (only when necessary). In both cases, politicians and businessmen used objects to carry own their agenda. In the case of the “radium girls,” a substance considered innocuous to the body caused these girls to slowly deteriorate, loose their teeth, and even their strength to the point that they couldn’t even raise their hands. However, the corporation made the outrageous statement that radium “was helpful rather than injurious to the human system.” From innocent substance to silent poison.

In the same way,  more recently, the famous multinational company Samsung, based in Korea, caused 243 chip factory workers to get cancer due to the proximity of highly toxic chemicals. Samsung’s apologies did not sound sincere, however, as the corporation still refuses to connect the death of a 23-year-old and the sickening of other numerous workers to the chemicals used in the factories. “Former Samsung workers, their families and civil groups struggled for years to raise awareness about the cancer cases.” These people tried, and are still trying, to highlight the transformation of seemingly harmless chemicals into agents of death, a process taking place before our very eyes, sometimes fostered by the same authority that is supposed to protect us from dangerous objects.

Blog #5 Objects connect to histroy and experiences

The first thing that come to mind when I think about and object, is normally something that can be seen or touched. However, after googling the definition I found that objects had multiple definitions. An object can also be someone or something that makes you feel a specified emotion.  While thinking about this, I realize that most useful objects are the most dangerous. In the article “What Is a Machete”. John Cline implies that any object can oscillate between useful and harmful weapon. He made some valid interesting points pertaining to a machete; from explain the history of it. Beginning with why people used a machete in earlier years. He stated “The machete bear an unusual character. It’s possible to conceive of it as a weapon, yes, but it’s also very much a tool- not altogether different from, say a shovel”. Object, are perceived differently, at different times. For example, in earlier times people used machete often to work out on the farm or to cut things like sugar canes. A machete can also be used to defend and protect. For instance, I have a baseball bat in my trunk in an event that I must defend myself.

baseball bat


However, this object is also used for a sport. This is one of many reason why I truly believe object is what that owner want it to be or used for.  In contrast, another, example of how people are affected and not necessarily be caused by a blunt physical object, is the idea of Arab spring. Cellphones and shared internet information can have an affect on people that ultimately cause harm. Also, Chemotherapy is used for positive reason but can also be harmful.  However, I can understand why most object are perceived as harmful, Mainly in our.  Object like machete as long as I could remember has always been viewed that way.



One of many reason why I truly feel like objects are connected to people and their experience.


Weaponizing Technology

In John Cline’s article, “What Is a Machete Anyway?”, he questions the potential of technology (the example he uses of this being a smartphone) to be as politically and physically dangerous as a tool like the machete. I think he’s underestimating the range of technology out there.

He references the “Arab Spring” protests in his article as one prominent example of weaponizing technology: where people protested against their governments using the organization and international platforms social media lent them. Those protests left a lasting impact on the political landscape on the entire region one can see today. But Cline seems to think this way of using technology isn’t as long-lasting.

Popular culture disagrees. A trend that has picked up in the gaming world is the use of hacking as a form of combat. The exemplary game that made huge waves because of this was Watch_Dogs (here’s a trailer.) It’s a AAA (which means it’s a big production made by one of the big corporations; guaranteed to be a commercial success) lovechild of Grand Theft Auto and new-school spy films in which the biggest element of gameplay is the ability to manipulate your surroundings using your phone. Most missions rely on the use of the hacking feature to take down whoever you’re working against. In other words, weaponizing technology is something that we as a society are seeing more often.


A more concrete example of objects holding dual purposes as both great tools and weapons is this: a 3-D printer. 3-D printers have a lot of potential to help a lot of people. Through the work of brilliant individuals, you see how objects made from 3-D printers have helped cut cost dramatically for items people need and to act as a method of teaching the next generation.

And then someone created another kind of template to use.



In May of 2013, a group of people created the first fully realized 3-D printed gun. Which had its glitches, but people have been improving upon the original design for the past year. I personally remember the outrage and disgust around the Internet when the news was first released last year. Every commentator said something to the effect of either, “Why would these people corrupt this amazing technology meant for good?” or “It was only a matter of time before something like this happened.”

And I agreed with the latter. Technology grows as humans do; it takes on different functions and shapes and uses as a situation calls for it. Objects, technology in particular, are never inherently good or bad, but they can be painted by how people choose to use them. Just like the machete.

Damage can also be given in different ways. It can be a physical blow, with a machete or a 3-D printed gun, but it could also be information, as we saw in the “Arab Spring.” So I believe that while Cline’s overall analysis of the nature of symbolism in objects was well done, I think that he didn’t acknowledge that damage goes by a broader definition than it used to.

We may not be saying “down to the Apple” yet, but it could be sooner than he thinks.

Blog Post #5: Sharp Things

Why are the most useful objects so often also among the most dangerous? Some objects, such as knives, fire, or chemotherapy drugs have inherent properties that make them hazardous to our health. In other objects, though, the danger stems not from the object’s properties (it’s sharp, it’s hot, or it’s toxic) but from how it is used. For example, one might argue (and some do) that there is nothing inherently dangerous about a gun; guns only become dangerous through the operation of human agency, through intentional use of a gun to cause harm or mishandling that results in unintended injury. How do we tell the difference between a tool and weapon, between poison and panacea?

In his essay, “What Is a Machete, Anyway?,” John Cline implies the tendency of any object to oscillate between useful tool and dangerous weapon may be a function of its inherent characteristics, rather than the end to which it is employed by human actors:

What contemporary object can be both a tool and a weapon, like the machete? Communication technologies like cell phones might serve as one candidate, especially in light of their application during the “Arab Spring.” But can the iPhone ever bear the same gravitas as the machete? Is silicon the new steel? Information has been a part of every arsenal, revolutionary or otherwise. Still, it’s hard to imagine driving a smartphone into a body “down to the Apple.”

By contrasting the iPhone with the “gravitas” of the machete, Cline suggests that, although an iPhone might be used as a weapon, it’s not–unlike the machete–a weapon per se. Does that, though, mean that an iPhone is any less dangerous? The iPhone manufacturing process is detrimental to the environment, and iPhones themselves become environmental pollution when they are discarded. The environmental degradation caused by iPhones over their entire life cycle may ultimately far outweigh the benefits we derive from them during the relatively brief period during that life cycle when they are useful to us.

In “The Collector” and “Unpacking My Library,” Benjamin explores how individual identity is constituted through subject/object relationships. For Benjamin, the act of collecting–which transforms the commodity into the collected object–can be a significant act of resistance in part because collectors don’t fit easy, familiar categories such as “consumers” or “producers” of exchange and use value. The object itself, however, presumably remains unaffected by that transaction. Is it possible to argue these two pieces of writing are more about the power objects have over us, than they are about any power we might have over them? And if so, if we really don’t ultimately exercise much control over our things, does that make all that uncontrollable stuff inherently dangerous?

An image of a ceramic deer collection, including one blue and one green deer.
Image credit: “Deeries” by Katie Nicosia on Flickr.
While on their surface, such questions might seem too abstract to be worth much consideration, history is full of examples that demonstrate how human failure to consider adequately or understand completely what objects are and what they do has resulted in substantial harm. Early cosmetics contained heavy metals such as lead that slowly poisoned those who manufactured and used them. During the early nineteenth century, a fad for a particular shade of green dye resulted in what might be viewed as an “epidemic” of arsenic poisoning. Our inability to understand the long-term effects of industrialization and an ever-increasing dependence on fossil fuels was arguably a direct cause of climate change

Carefully read Cline’s essay, and use that piece and some of the resources linked in this prompt as a starting point for some quick research. Combine a web search with a search of the library’s eJournals, looking for resources that might help us understand more about the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which objects exert their influence in the world regardless of the steps we take to control them. Craft a post that summarizes the results of your research and provides links or citations to useful resources.

Posting: Group 1

Commenting: Group 2

Category: Sharp Things

In your Blog #5 post, you should do more than offer a list of source summaries. Rather, you should frame the summary of your research, as a cohesive response to a research question that is posed or suggested by this prompt. Please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog as they’ve been outlined in the Blog Project Description.

Feature Image: “Danger of Falling” by Minchioletta on Flickr.

Working in an Atlanta Culture-Mausoleum

I agree with the sentiment that Lawasky and Mather assert, that objects do indeed live a life beyond their own, and their afterlife is tied up in the ongoing human narrative.

According to the New York Times article about “extinct” objects of the aughts, I have the pleasure of keeping company with several dodos– the deposit slip, the foldable roadmap, the incandescent bulb, the fax machine, the cassette tape, and “smoking in bars.”

Until recently, the bar I where I work allowed smoking; I send faxes there from time to time, and I fill out a deposit slip after every shift I manage.  Atlanta Magazine has plenty to say about Manuel’s Tavern.

At our bar, these inanimate objects often take on a life of their own; people ask me to tell them the stories behind all kinds weird stuff hanging on the walls and even stuck to the ceiling.  Most of these items have little to no monetary value, but the history within them is beyond the dollar and subject to be lost, as the people within the stories slowly die-off and the people who know the stories slowly forget details, bit by bit.  There’s a lot of oral history floating around about people, about stories, about playing cards that hold dollars up onto the ceiling, and urns filled with the ashes of people you’ve never met.


We banned smoking back in January, but the walls and ceiling are still stained with nicotine.



There’s a weird sculpture that hangs above one of the booths that many of my friends mistook for an authentic Calder, but as it turns out, my research indicated, by means of gathering informal oral histories, that an art teacher from a local institution made that sculpture while he was in prison for some serious charges.  The sculpture was rumored to have been a gift to an employee of the Tavern.

I bring this up to illustrate that discovering hard facts about  the history of objects, and getting down to the business of documenting their “life” and “death” can be down right confusing and difficult, as so much depends upon the availability of source information.

I think we’re left with more questions than answers.

Also, much depends on the rhetorical situation of the object in question– to what or for what end was the object brought into the situation being studied, and what significance does the object hold in the context of its current “incarnation,” and for whom does this object have value?  For whom does it have meaning?  For how long of a timeline does an object remain relevant?  How can all of these categorical situations be subject to change due to cultural or technological evolution?

Works Cited

Burns, Rebecca.  “The Museum of Manuel’s”. Atlanta Magazine. 05 August 2014.  Web. 21 September 2014.

Photographs by Patrick Healy, Atlanta Magazine

McClanahan, Thayer. “Rust in Peace”. New York Times.  06 December 2009.  Web. 21 September 2014.


Analog Rebellion: How Vacuum Tubes Helped to Redefine the Concept of “Old”


Yes, it’s true, the Cathode Ray Tube is a dead … Kind of.

Despite how much we may want to tag human characteristics on to our objects, the lifecycle of technologies are a rather fickle thing. In modern consumer culture, a “dead” technology is merely one that’s intrinsic values are considered obsolete when compared to new models. In this case of the CRT, its older, bulky model has been replaced by new sets that boast slimmer, wall-mounted screens filled with liquid crystals and advanced features. So yes, technically the life of the tube TV is over. However, its afterlife has brought us not only a newfound sense of its irreplaceable characteristics, but sets an example for why the lifetime of objects will extend much further out than we may typically expect.

Toward the latter half of his article Lepawsky makes a brief introduction of the afterlife of CRT televisions. He paints a picture of the CRT being a valuable but deadly resource: parts being stripped for new technologies, toxic materials affecting humans, foreign countries buying them in droves because of their cheap prices, etc. In the author’s mind, the afterlife of the CRT is literally a technological poltergeist, as he discusses the millions of discarded televisions that harbor the evolution of deadly bacteria with their hazardous components. While Lepawsky certainly may have a point, I find his article to be rather one-sided, as he has clearly overlooked a major aspect of the CRT’s lifecycle: it’s reincarnation.

While it’s easy to write off the Cathode Ray Tube as “dead” because of obsolete technological specs and lowered economic value, the truth is that those who are aware of the CRT’s natural advantages hold it in high regard. In fact, vacuum tube technology as a whole has recently come back into popularity as many find a connection to its warmer, analogue qualities. In my mind, this coincides directly with the resurgence of vinyl records, film cameras, and countless other devices that are technically inferior. While “birth”, “life”, and “death” are relatively self-explanatory, the afterlife of an object stems from individuals having the hindsight to distinguish the unique qualities of each product, as opposed to the “ old=bad, new=good” mindset that is pushed in consumer culture. For example, CRTs are highly valued in gaming culture: tube televisions are much more responsive, have “deeper, more vibrant color”, and can easily adjust to a variety of resolutions. The introduction of the LCD television may have “killed” CRTs in terms of mass market value, but it cannot undermine its legacy, nor compete with the components that make it unique.

It’s very easy to merely state facts about the hidden value and advantages to older objects, so I would like to close by speaking from my own personal experience:
A few weeks ago, when shopping for a new guitar amp, I made a conscious decision to purchase an older model with vacuum tubes over one with digital technology. Looking at it from an economic standpoint, this is a completely illogical purchase: the digital amp is larger, less expensive, has higher wattage, and is significantly easier to repair/replace. But despite these facts, I (among millions of other guitar players) still chose the older technology, as there is something much more radiant and life like about it.  We’ve spoken ad-nauseam about how we identify objects as extensions of ourselves, perhaps the value we see in old objects stems from the fact that they are “flawed”, and in that sense, more human.

* “14 Gaming Myths Exposed” at

Blog Post #4 Detached Understanding

I think we definitely study objects more often for stories about humans who used them rather than studying objects as autonomous things. Studying them for insight about humans asks and answers more questions. It seems that dissecting an item as an independant thing answers the question of how it was used, while dissecting that same item to determine the human motive behind it can answer who made it, who used it, how they used it, and why it was used.

Lepawsky and Mather present an interesting idea, one that Deetz touched on in his book. Late in the article by Lepawsky and Mather they comment on the effort to recycle the defunct CRTs that may be completed in the year two-thousand fifty, if that is what is meant by the “waste stream”. That means if all CRTs will be used for renewable materials, then our history will be wiped of any physical evidence of them. It is hypothetical because it may be impossible to get a hold of every one of the monitors ever invented. Of course there are methods to identify these things, like pictures in Lepawsky’s and Mather’s article, and the methods Deetz describes, but if the history of objects made by humans ties into human’s own history there may be a disjoint in the narrative establishing a relationship that encompasses all the nuances in the objects.

After I read the article and prompt I started thinking about why it is that we place ourselves as the subjects in discourses under the social science umbrella and how it relates to the readings we’ve done so far. It only seems logical that we import ourselves over the objects because they are our creations. We can’t take claim for the sun and moon or processes in the brain or natural formations on the earth – did we create mathematics or just explain it? But we do have ownership over objects made by us. When we reclaim objects we have lost a story of how our ancestors reacted to the world can be discovered.

If we destroy a class of objects we are destroying the tangible story that accompanied those items. Lets say that someday the CRTs no longer exist, we can study the pictures, diagram the dimensions, read the literature, but that doesn’t seem, in my mind, to grasps the whole story. I remember watching Tyra Banks wear a padded suit in participation of a social experiment about the treatment of overweight people. She wore the suit for an afternoon going about her daily business in New York or Los Angeles, and nobody knew who she was. Attached to her suit were cameras to capture the expressions on people’s faces as they walked by or interacted with her. She ended the experiment by making remarks that she felt everyone judging her and so on. The experiment was good for social awareness, but the whole time I was watching I couldn’t help but smack my teeth about Tyra’s revelations: she will never truly know what it is like to be the weight she portrayed. It reminds me of an Oscar winning period piece about the Victorian Era, although those involved have done due diligence, I just don’t buy totally replicating that era.

I say this because there are real subtle nuances to the objects we reclaim. Yes, there are very thorough papers and accounts and books about the histories of objects but we can never capture a true understanding of what the world was like from where those objects came. So, if we recycle every last CRT (or any other item) we can lose a piece to better understanding a time we are not from and mindset we do not have. I guess that is why we have museums.

Blog Post #4: Objects: Reincarnated or Just Reinstated?

As an ardent antiquer, I appreciate the old, the abandoned, and the recycled. Antiques are mostly timeless, however some may tarnish or rust, but these objects degenerate slower than humans do. Objects are not mortal, but they are not immortal either, a portion are doomed to sit in warehouses for their eternity, like the Cathode Ray Tubes in Lepawsky and Mather’s essay, A Terminal Condition: The Cathode Ray Tube’s Strange Afterlife. I find comfort in their suggestion that “If burial is not an ending, perhaps we can rejoice in recycling?” Although invalidated in Lepawksy and Mather’s essay due to the futility of the CRT, it is possible that we may be able to recycle other inanimate victims of obsolescence.

It is scary but solid to think that our possessions may outlive us—this conception spawns an image of my crumbling skeletal remains atop a glossy, unblemished iPhone 57. However, if objects are so lasting, why do our narrative histories favor the human subject? It is plausible that we elevate human agency because we are proud, and elevate our memories and feelings above the earthly objects which we create and own. Our narratives may incorporate the use of an object as a symbol, or a children’s novel may anthropomorphize and personify a toothbrush, ascribing it feelings, relationships, but objects will never be able to feel things or love; that is why it is difficult to include objects into our narrative histories. Even so, it may be easier to assimilate with objects in a biographical narrative because “[b]iographical objects, like souvenirs and memorabilia, are both tangible parts of our past as well as of our present because of the feelings and images with which they are invested or that they are able to evoke. They act as proof of the narratives through which we fashion the self and our past” (Albano 17).

Also, in Caterina Albano’s essay, Displaying lives: the narrative of objects in biographical exhibitions she writes, “[t]he recognition of an object as the embodiment of an intrinsic truth that substantiates the writing of natural and cultural history suggests the cultural significance of objects as tangible links between the past and the present, between reality and its articulation as narrative systems, whether social, economic, or cultural-historical” (17). Thus, objects are simultaneous representatives of the past and of the present. Things have a creation or “birth”, a life, where they are used in daily functions, and also an afterlife, which may include recycling, conservation, or even reuse, therefore linking the past and the present and allowing the object to live again. Objects are not reincarnated, they are reinstated.