Biography of the Object, 2019

For my November review in my second year of college I demonstrated series of tools I made from bone. These included a comb, fishing rod, knife, hammer and necklace. I did this to show the material use and advantages of bone. I used bone also to acknowledge its use by our ancestors. The bones different textures, structure and make up dictated to me their use and what tool should be made from them. I used the denseness of a leg bone to make a knife for example.

I then used the knife to make a statement about humanity. I “caught” a fish in a performance I did demonstrating the tools. I used the fishing rod and hook I made and then used the knife to fillet it in front of my audience. But as the knife wasn’t very sharp and capable of this task it appeared more as a stabbing assault on the fish. This prompted a series of reactions of disgust, shock, nausea and even laughter.

The shock is what I was interested in as I feel the bone knife represents humanity and the fish other living species. The shock that others felt informed me that others are not comfortable in treating other species so violently. Yet we do this every day, otherwise I wouldn’t have had such easy access to the bones I obtained from the butcher. DeSilvey (2006) said:“Remembrance comes into its own as a balacing act, an ‘art of transience’ (Hawkins, 2001) which salvages meaning from waste things and reveals the complexity of our entangled material memories.” I feel this encapsulates the reactions of my peers as I am forcing them to remember the social and mental separation we have put between humans and other animals.

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