Kamilo Beach on Material World

For a relatively small dose of my more academic writing, check out my guest post over at Material World. Lots of great articles and announcements for material culture folks, and a really interesting short entry on attempts to care for and return photos and other items lost with the 3/11 tsunami.

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Door Agents

Latour has long used the door as an illustration of the ‘missing masses,’ drawing attention to the overlooked but active roles nonhumans play in organizing everyday relationships. Doors, he argues (with help from hinges), solve the ‘wall-hole’ dilemma, keeping order by allowing for selected things to pass through walls at sometimes, but not others. My door, however, also has the power to sign. No, not in the semiotic sense of carrying meaning, representing ‘home’ or ‘privacy.’ I mean the power to sign for things. Tracking packages a few weeks ago, the internets confirmed that my book was at my house, accepted by a mysterious ‘fd.’ Yes, accepted by my Front Door, without so much as a single doorbell ring to alert me of the event. My door, it seems, has been quietly standing witness to deliveries and signing for packages in my absence.