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CHS College-wide Symposium: The CSI of Things – Crime Scenes and Suspect Objects

20 February 2015 | 10am – 4.30pm

Battersea, Gorvy Lecture Theatre

All objects incorporate traces and signs of their insertion into spatial and historic realms. They condense aspirations and participate in dramas of use and abuse. In this symposium we have chosen to regard objects/things as 'clues'. In fictions there are 'smoking guns', 'MacGuffins' and accessories - components of scenarios and objects of desire and repulsion. 'The Crime Scene' in which our objects are located may not involve a literal crime - it may be any environment in which we seek an explanation for how things come together to create or disturb coherent fictions.


Detectives and forensic scientists share with archaeologists and design historians various processes of induction and deduction to 'explain' or recover an incident or status quo; they try to make objects 'speak'.


Here, we are interested in methods of investigation that reveal an understanding of things and their complex functions. This relates to the story of detection - predicting outcomes from evidence or reconstructing a story from traces at the 'scene of the crime'. We will also explore, through theory and practice, some of the imaginative acts of interrogation and 'animation' that make these objects and scenes 'speak' and perform.


Finally ...in a belief that all objects and spaces can be made to reveal themselves... the 'Antiques Roadshow' format will be used to attempt to detect the significance of some fairly random objects - feel free to bring something...


Speakers include

Roger Luckhurst, Professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature, with a focus on crime and gothic horror

Tim Edensor, author of Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics and Materiality (2005)

Illona Gaynor, artist, writer and flim-maker; her work takes form as complexly precise plots and schemes.

Brian Dillon, writer, editor of Cabinet magazine and Reader at the RCA on MA Critical Writing in Art & Design


Convened by Barry Curtis, Naomi House & Monika Parrinder