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13 Things 2009

13 Things 2008

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology

Search Brown



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

One of the debates in science and material studies is centered on the use of tools and by extension the humans-as-cyborgs concept. While I buy the argument that we are dependent on tools and technology, I protest the supposition that we are ultimately defined by them. Humans are defined by their ability to produce and use complex tools (like the key); it is the act of mankind shaping his environment NOT the physical world influencing us that is crucial. While we may rely on tools to function, the fact remains that we created and facilitated the existence of said object. Humans hold the power in the person-thing relationship, without a hand to insert and turn, a key it is meaningless, never mind the initial act of creating the key itself.

Embodied Power

This deals with the question of what happens when we lose a key. When we create the lock and key we have embodied them with power; the entry to an area is now protected by an inanimate object. We have placed our trust and confidence in the lock and key; while the ultimate license belongs to the person, the key now has heightened importance since the key holder must also posses the object to have power of access. By extension the existence of a key embodies the protected area with power; would protect something if it was not important?

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