This essay discusses the study of things and the current obsession with unveiling their «meaning». It claims that meaning has been confused far too often with symbolic or metaphorical meaning, never allowing the object in question to be itself. Its point of departure is an event that took place in the author’s childhood village in the far north of Norway; an event that introduced the village to a new and disentangled artifact: Halldor’s lorry.
This essay discusses the semiotic logic of six ways of making things talk: through conventions (a red traffic light means «Stop!»), through social customs (a Mercedes demonstrates wealth), or through their indexical connection to other things or persons (finger-prints). And we can use things as examples (a plane tells us what a plane is) by also using their metaphorical characteristics («sad» music expresses sadness). Finally utensils communicate through their appearance (a handle says «Grab me!»).
In Norway artistic research enjoys the same status as scientific research. Not by virtue of producing texts and theories, but by engaging in research through art. This essay discusses the artistic implications of Kjell Ryander’s later art works in regard to his participation in a research project. His work expresses reflections by employing visual rather than textual means, based on artistic rather than scientific terms.
During his period as research fellow, ceramicist Kjell Rylander visited several art museums and their stored collections. The impressions he obtained from these visits may be studied here. The pictures in the article remind us of records and contain representations of works by other artists. These pictures can be considered as a curated exhibition, and they constituted part of Rylander’s dissertation at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts.
This article recuperates the economic and social contexts in which ceramic toilet production, distribution and exhibition took place in the United States between 1900 and 1920. Locating Fountain (1917), the scandalous urinal of Marcel Duchamp and Beatrice Wood, as a «craft» and «porcelain» luxury product, the article examines it in the light of the Newark Museum’s pioneering and experimental exhibitions of applied art.
Design history is often practiced within the institutional settings of art history, especially in Scandinavia. This article discusses the problematic aspects of art history heritage before exploring the interdisciplinary development of design history. Particular attention is paid to influences deriving from Material Culture Studies and Science and Technology Studies, arguing that these and other theoretical traditions have been crucial in establishing how things and theory are approached in contemporary design history.
Digitalizing is the future. This is the message that Norwegian museums have received from various recent white papers and reports. This essay tries to clarify the relationship between art objects, museums and different digital solutions in general, and claims that real objects lose ground for the beneit of access, context and quantitative searching across a wide range of databases. But the essay also tries to bring out qualitative acquisitions made for augmented reality – the blurred ield that exists between the virtual and the real – as a new and unexplored alternative, especially suitable for spatial works.