Yesterday’s Objects: The Death and Afterlife of Everyday Things

Autopsies Research Project Study Day

Friday, 4 June 2010

University College London (UCL)

The Autopsies Project explores how objects die. Just as the twentieth
century was transformed by the advent of new forms of media - the
typewriter, gramophone, and film, for example - the arrival of the
twenty-first century has brought with it the disappearance of many public
and private objects that only recently seemed essential to ‘modern life.’

Responding to recent work in cultural history, spatial studies, and 'thing
theory,' this study day reflects on the ends of objects, raising questions
of modernity, obsolescence, memory, collecting and recording. How can
critical theorists and cultural historians participate in the reflexion on
the ends of objects—from their physical finitude to the very projects for
their disposal, the latter increasingly of concern with the multiplication
of things that do not gently decompose into their own night?

This study day on ‘Yesterday’s Objects’ will investigate the everyday
objects—the fridges, typewriters, and jukeboxes—that have irrevocably
changed our lives. We invite papers that will explore how these objects have
refashioned and reimagined our work, home, and leisure spaces. We are
interested in hearing research on ‘built-in’ obsolescence and other
processes of ‘renewal’ that have changed consumer habits. We are also eager
to welcome papers on the economic and environmental implications of this

The Autopsies Project forms part of the UCL Film Studies Space
interdisciplinary research project on ‘Cinematic Memory, Consumer Culture,
and Everyday Life’. The UCL Film Studies Space is a centre devoted to the
cultural history of the moving image. We are particularly interested in
proposals for papers that address how still and moving images represent
objects. We encourage work on cinema, television, photography, and the arts
of advertising.

Individual papers are invited from scholars and researchers in any
discipline of the humanities, arts, social sciences, and sciences. Scholars
from postgraduate to permanent senior academics are welcome to submit

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to :

· the representation of objects in cinema and the visual arts

· the role of advertising in consumer culture

· history of technology

· industrial and interior design

· domestic objects

· obsolescence

· recycling

· object disposal

· the object and the museum

· objects and the spaces they inhabit

Send abstracts of no more than 300 words for 20-minute papers with your
name, institution and contact details to by Monday, 26
April 2010. We will read proposals and respond by Monday, 3 May 2010.

For further information on the project see,

Karolina Kendall-Bush
Research Assistant
UCL Film Studies Space
University College London