18. 11. 2021

‘The Dark Side of the Container: Creating and manipulating the inside and outside of the container’ presentation at the workshop Containers and Waste: Ordering the Unruly

Pavel presented a paper at the online workshop ‘Containers and Waste: Ordering the Unruly’ that took place on 25 October 2021 in Prague.
The Dark Side of the Container: Creating and manipulating the inside and outside of the container
Pavel Mašek

Containers consist of the interior and the exterior. Nevertheless, the inside of the container might not always be what the outside states it is. Building upon Shryock and Smail’s (2018) note that things happen inside containers, I explore the movement of once contained things from one container to another. Furthermore, I demonstrate that things that happen inside the container are relational and inseparably interwoven with things that happen outside of it. As Robb (2018) suggests, we should take into account the containers’ ability to transform things into assemblages. Containers connect things, thus create relations. Nevertheless, the contained thing might get stuck in the process of containment, whereas losing the initially intended relations, identity, and even its material form, in order to create other types of relationship. The metamorphosis of contained things can be both real and theoretical, yet the results do not have to be necessarily conjoint. The container, thus, might develop into a deliberate or unintended vehicle of the ideology, where it serves as a medium of hierarchical communication and political order-keeping. In this paper, I build upon my ethnographic research at an auto salvage yard in the Czech Republic, where unusable auto parts are disposed of in general waste containers and eventually end up in the landfill or incineration plant. I will present the idea of the two-sided container, wherein things vanish ostensibly as inside a magician’s disappearing-person-box.

More info about the workshop here.