This Glass Thing: Empty, full, solid, liquid; an exercise in paradoxical thing(k)ing

Rhiannon Vogl

Breath comes before speech, before walking, before writing. The breath, as Jois notes, is fundamental to being, to knowing, to living. With the ability to control the breath, to hold it, to mould its rhythm, humans also have the power to control their minds, their thoughts, their bodies. Breath can also be used to make, to create, and to extend the presence of the breather outwards to the external world. Taken as such, this paper considers the breath as a tool of sorts, to consider the materiality of an ancient glass flask and in turn, to find the lingering presence of its maker. After a visual analysis of the object, a discussion of its material affordances and historical context, we will move to a discussion of the unique chemical and physical properties of glass, before a theorization of the flask qua flask. Drawing together the writings of Georg Theiner and Chris Drain; Andy Clark; Martin Heidegger and Susan Sontag; and relying heavily on the historical and archeological research of Robert Brill and Julian Henderson, this paper presents the flask not as a simple museum artefact, but as a container that ultimately keeps an imprint of the person who made it… PDF

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