Evocative Objects – Book Review by Kate Murdoch

Originally posted here

Another Happy first for The Museum and it’s a double! A first post from Kate Murdoch feels like something of a coup and a first book review is equally significant. I am in constant awe at the calibre of contributors to the Museum and delighted at the variety of post that is emerging. It was my hope from the start to build a resource including links to articles and reviews alongside the posts about practice. So here it is Kate Murdoch’s review of Sherry Turkle’s (ed) Evocative Objects. It’s a resounding thumbs up!

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Sherry Turkle, the editor of ‘Evocative Objects, Things We Think With’, writes eloquently about the impact of objects on our emotional lives. I became completely entrenched in this book on a first reading and have returned to the various stories time and time again. I’ve searched back, but unfortunately, can’t find who it was who recommended the book to me in the first place – I’m sure it was a fellow a-n artist/blogger, so thank you, whoever you are.

Many wise words about the power of objects on our lives are written by Sherry Turkle in her introduction to the book – here’s a short extract from it that, to me, perfectly sums up the impact of the connection we make to the things that surround us. It ties in very well also, with what’s already found itself into the Museum of Objects – the objects and their related stories and related articles – the bra, for example; the soft toy; Jenni Dutton’s self portrait and the article on transitional objects by psychotherapist, Philipa Perry:

‘We find it familiar to consider objects as useful or aesthetic, as necessities or vain indulgences. We are on less familiar ground when we consider objects as companions to our emotional lives or as provocations to thought. The notion of evocative objects brings together these two less familiar ideas, underscoring the inseparability of thought and feeling in our relationship to things. We think with the objects we love; we love the objects we think with.’

On a similar note, this is what I wrote in my artist statement about my own relationship with found objects:

The objects we surround ourselves with are loaded with meaning, reflecting both our internal emotional world and the external image we present to others. From the mundane to the meaningful, they are steeped in social and political history. Objects are a part of our identity; they provide us with a sense of self and reveal our connections to the wider world.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough to artists whose work is concerned with working with found objects and investigating the emotional connections we make with them.

Kate’s blog can be found here: www.a-n.co.uk/blogs/keeping-it-going-1