Monday, March 02, 2009

assemblages versus assemblies

I had been listening to a lecture given on assemblages versus assemblies by Bruno Latour in 1993, Milano (link is also available on the Anthem site). In it he reminds us of how pictures do not capture the intricacies and complexities of the network. He describes the limitations that are involved in representations that are not telling the whole picture. He uses the example of a space shuttle that until there is a catastrophe, the inner workings and the work of having produced this 'thing' remain hidden, blackboxed.
You could also take the example, as i did this weekend, where i bought a beautiful daybed off trade me (NZ equivalent to e-bay). I had anticipated a kitset/flatpack delivery for making this up. Instead it came fully made BUT wouldnt fit through the doors so needed dissassembly. In the rain. (A bit like a Hemmingway novel at this point). To dissassemble required Alan keys, not provided, and when some were obtained, this required two sizes, and the bolts involved 4 sizes, and some dooflickies i dont even know what their names are. Once undone and moved, further assemblage issues, what goes back in where??? And so the simplistic diagram that one expects with any IKEA type furniture would have come into its own, had it been provided. But it wasnt. And then there's the other parts of the picture not evident, there are people that make this happen, importers, markets, delivery persons, cash on delivery, ATM visit, the person for whome the bed was needed...
How to put make this fuller picture?
Here's what Exonn has for an answer :)

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