Material poetics of a Malay house

Lundberg, Anita (2008) Material poetics of a Malay house. Australian Journal of Anthropology, 19 (1). pp. 1-16.

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Abstract

Material objects call to us and structure our being. They are not passive, while we are active—rather, they embroil us in their lives as much as we engage them. Hence, sociality is not solely a human function but necessarily involves environments and artefacts. The notion of material poetics is, in this sense, a mutually shaping matrix that affects social life and thought. This philosophy is explored through an encounter with a Malay house. The house is in many ways liminal—a place in which thought and image dwells. It is traditional, yet unique; it holds and expresses history, yet that history is elsewhere and legendary; is Malay but with Chinese decorations, which articulate hybridity; is specifically local, yet involved in national and international flows. It embraces both oscillation and direction. The house is made of wood. This paper takes up this element, showing how the wood not only shelters, but also leads us to venture out to a garden of trees and a dream of jungles where encounters with things, stories and myths subvert our normal categories and expectations. The house leads us places and clears things for us, leading us into a new social field.

Item ID: 22426
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: material poetics; Malay house; cultural anthropology; architecture
ISSN: 1757-6547
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2012 04:07
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950399 Heritage not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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