Old wooden peg

It takes a great deal of effort to see what’s in front of you, whether that’s a stone, a mountain, or another person. After much watching, after much witnessing of the metamorphoses from object to presence, you find that everything is self-luminous. If you observe something long enough, its being comes forth, the is-ness of the thing is made manifest.

Don Domanski from his Ralph Gustafson LecturePoetry and the Sacred in Reliquiæ Supplement 2016

Do objects relate to us? Do they allow for a dynamic re-shaping of experience? Are they echo-chambers, making and unmaking a subject? Do objects quiver with the promise of intriguing, intricately-pattered story-telling possibilities?

They’re neither stable – a static backdrop – nor a retreat place. They are portmanteau, but more than being simply brim full of nostalgia, objects belong to the category ‘pointer’. They mark. They’re a stepping stone.

Objects are about motion and being fleet-of-foot. Agile objects. Mobility and displacement are the constituent conditions of late modernity. Objects can provide a bulwark against the flow, encouraging a solemn moment in which to plumb the depth or hold the gaze. We stop, we savour, we see.

Perhaps we can’t fully dwell anywhere, that’s our reality. But inhabiting an object, without necessarily owning it, is rewarding and a catalyst for thoughtfulness.


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