A Beloved Machine Goes on the Fritz

Aug 23, 2012

Material culture explores why objects have meaning to us. For our contributor, it's because it does her wash.

Contributor Gianofer Fields' beloved washer is on the fritz - here's its "brain" in the capable hands of repairman John.
Credit Gianofer Fields

In our last "It's A Material World" segment, contributor Gianofer Fields explained that even in the field of material culture - which studies the meaning of objects and the relationship between artifacts and their owners - some objects mean more than others.

Material culture contributor Gianofer Fields' beloved washer - her "sick girl" - needs some fixing.
Credit Gianofer Fields

These so-called "evocative objects" are the items that we hold dear, that have great meaning to us, that evoke powerful emotions, that in some cases we couldn't live without. Little did Fields know that just a couple weeks later she'd be faced with a crisis - that one of her own "evocative objects" was on the fritz - and she could lose it forever. That is, if her repairman John's own evocative object didn't save the day first.

Fields produces and curates the series, "It's a Material World." That project is funded by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.