Basic English Usage Exercises by Jennifer Seidl

By Jennifer Seidl

An alphabetical consultant to the commonest difficulties of grammar and vocabulary.

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1 Not least the inflationary mass of electronic data has caused a convergence of archives and trash-dumps. There are also theoretical reflections on a structural relation between trash-dump and museum. ‘Where at the present time things are withdrawn, trash-dump and museum are current alternatives’ [‘Wo die Dinge gegenwärtig aus dem Gebrauch kommen, sind Müllhalde und Museum aktuelle Alternativen’] (Thiekötter 1999: 31) – this statement can be found in a brochure published by the Museum der Dinge [‘Museum of Things’] in Berlin, which belongs to the German Werkbund.

As a mode of ordering it is laid bare, made visible as such. As with Simmel, only when the social relations that made these factories and for which they had significance have gone into decline and become a shell-like ruin, Edensor suggests, do we see a trace of what held them together materially in the ruined remains (2005). Similarly, in her work on waste Hawkins (2006) suggests that when something, a commodity, loses its value, when it becomes rubbish (see also Thompson 1979), only then do we start to see it again as a material form, embodying once more the social relations that made it, rather than as an abstract sign-value.

Acknowledgments I would like to thank Gillian Pye, John Law, Tony Bennett, Nick Bingham, Nigel Clark and members of the materialities group at the Open University for their comments on an earlier version of this essay. Works Cited Adorno, T. et al. (2002), Aesthetics and Politics: The Key Texts of the Classic Debate Within German Marxism. London, Verso. Aragon, L. (1987), Paris Peasant. London, Picador. /Brienes, P. (1979), The Young Lukács and the Origins of Western Marxism. London, Pluto Press.

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