I’m delighted to say that my new book Shipping Container has now been published. The book is part of Bloomsbury Academic’s Object Lessons series, edited by Ian Bogost and Christopher Schaberg. More information on the Bloomsbury website.
I’m currently working on a draft paper for the forthcoming Designing Mobilities workshop which takes place at London South Bank University, 14-15 April, and is organised by Justin Spinney, Suzanne Reimer, and Philip Pinch. The aim of the paper is to consider the importance of packaging design to object mobilities, an area that’s been of interest to me for a number of years. The key focus of this paper is the mysterious world of the packaging materials themselves, such as cardboard inserts, polystyrene moulding, and ‘void fill systems’, including dunnage bags.
I’m really pleased to announce that I’ve been commissioned to write a book on the shipping container as part of Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series (the editors are Ian Bogost and Christopher Schaberg). This follows my research into the container over the last few years, but will take a decidedly more design-led focus on the object. More news as the book progresses. Details on the series here.
I will be taking part in a conference in the Department of Sociology at The University of York on Ballard’s Concrete Island. My paper is titled ‘Ad Hoc Material Practices: Making Do and Getting by on the Island’.
“Maitland reached up and began to shake the pipe with his hands. He wrenched it from the bracket and pulled the six-foot section of rusty tubing from behind the rear axle. His strong arms bent one end into a crude handle.”
This makeshift crutch offers Maitland some respite from his injured leg. Concrete Island contains a range of similar tactical survival measures, including the use of a car’s windscreen washer bottle as drinking water. This paper explores such practical approaches employed by Maitland on the ‘island’. It situates his use of pre-existing objects within a wider socio-political currency developing at this time in the early 1970s – ad hoc material practices. I specifically examine the confluences between the theme of ‘making do’ on the island and the turn toward adhocist tendencies developed in the book Adhocism: The Case For Improvisation by Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver. Ultimately the paper develops the thesis that the detritus of technological advancement offers potentially creative approaches to the use of seemingly redundant everyday material things.
Shingle house on Galiano Island, British Columbia
Interesting looking exhibition on disobedient objects, forthcoming at V&A.