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.
Pause and look, and you will see that you are surrounded by glass: light reflects off and refracts through your windows; it encircles a glowing filament above you; it’s in a mirror hanging on the wall; it lies shattered in a dented corner of an iPhone; you’re drinking water out of a pint glass. Taking up a most common object, rarely considered because assumed to be transparent, this book draws evocative connections between historical depictions of glass and emergent discourses within the technology sector that envision glass as holding unique promise for new forms of interaction. Grounded in examples familiar to most readers, this book offers a series of surprising—often counterintuitive—insights into how we see the world and see ourselves in the world.