Les materiaux de la vie

Translated title of the contribution: The materials of life

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What is odd is that studies of the material culture of kitchens have generally concentrated on pots and pans, and spoons, to the virtual exclusion of the soup. The focus, in short, has been on objects rather than materials. Yet on second thoughts, this is not a division between what we find in the kitchen: objects here; materials there. It is rather a difference of perspective. Householders might think of pots and pans as objects, at least until they start to cook, but for the dealer in scrap metal, they are lumps of material.

To read making longitudinally, as a confluence of forces and materials, rather than laterally, as a transposition from image to object, is to regard it as such a form-generating —or morphogenetic— process. This is to soften any distinction we might draw between organism and artefact. For if organisms grow, so too do artefacts. And if artefacts are made, so too are organisms. What varies, among countless other things, is the extent of human involvement in the generation of form : but this variation is one of degree, not kind.
Translated title of the contributionThe materials of life
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)23-43
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2017


  • materials
  • process of growth
  • form-generating
  • correspondence


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