During the breakdown of an unhappy marriage, writer Joanna Walsh got a job as a hotel reviewer, and began to gravitate towards places designed as alternatives to home. Luxury, sex, power, anonymity, privacy…hotels are where our desires go on holiday, but also places where our desires are shaped by the hard realities of the marketplace. Part memoir and part meditation, this book visits a series of rooms, suites, hallways, and lobbies—the spaces and things that make up these modern sites of gathering and alienation, hotels.
Though we try to imagine otherwise, waste is every object, plus time. Whatever else an object is, it’s also waste—or was, or will be. All that is needed is time or a change of sentiment or circumstance. Waste is not merely the field of discarded objects, but the name we give to our troubled relationship with the decaying object-world outside ourselves. This book focuses on those waste objects that most fundamentally shape our modern lives and also attempts to understand our complicated emotional and intellectual relationships to our own refuse: nuclear waste, climate debris, pop-culture rubbish, digital detritus, and more.
An archeological object without conservationists, the phone booth exists as a memory to those over thirty—and as a strange, curious, and dysfunctional occupier of public space for those under thirty. This book approaches the phone booth as an entity that, in its myriad manifestations in different parts of the world, embodies a cluster of attitudes concerning privacy, freedom, power, sanctuary, and communication. Playing off of myriad surfaces—literature, film, personal narrative, philosophy, and religion—the book will present a prismatic ontology of an object on the cusp of obsolescence.