Body And Objects In Susan Stewart's On Longing

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Body and objects are always discussed together in a relational sense. In ‘On Longing’, Susan Stewart discusses the body- object relation by way of scale, arguing that when we are presented with a miniature object we are invited into a different temporal and perceived space. The smallness of the object takes us into a private world and changes our focus from public to private spheres. She explains, “This is the daydream of the microscope: the daydream of life inside life, of significance multiplied infinitely within significance’ . This mode of significance and sphere of miniature scale, Stewart argues, returns us to a childlike state ‘the daydream of life inside life’ suggests the way we would play as children creating a safe domestic space,…show more content…
Like the biographical object, it offers us a world that is ultimately unattainable: “The observer is offered a transcendent and simultaneous view of the miniature, yet is trapped outside the possibility of a lived reality of the miniature” . Whether it is a past self through memory or a fictive narrative we have constructed for escapism, we still stand outside the object as another material entity, unable to live the imagined reality we desire. This idea is present in the work of Boltanski, ‘Trois Tiroirs’ discussed earlier, where he constructs a reference to the miniature object in tableau like form. The drawers containing the miniature objects remind us that ultimately we are always shut out of these imagined realities, despite our urge to connect with them. ‘Hence the miniature is often a material allusion to a text which is no longer available to us, or which, because of its fictiveness, never was available to us except through a second- order fictive world’ . These objects become performative in that they become a stage for our projections: however projections of past or fictive realities can only ever be played out in the psyche. Therefore we are always left with a sense of longing for that which we cannot
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