One of the paradoxes of modern technology is the synchronicity between the emancipation of individuals and their collective dependency on far-reaching technical networks, fostering on the one side a new relationship between technical objects and their environments, and on the other between the technical objects and their users. The konro (a grill) is a prime example of this transformation in that it links the territorial dimension of gas networks with the intimacy of the individual kitchen. The ostensibly impersonal and faceless realms of the technical object find their correlation in the anthropomorphizing imagery of commercials. In a powerful leap from a matter of fact to a matter of concern, the blue flame of the grill is for instance transformed from a mere chemical process of methane combustion into a primordial symbol of the household, the technical object into an animated cyborg. The konro shows, in an exemplary way, how the modern kitchen has been filled by these essentially troubled cultural-technical hybrids.
Masamichi TamuraShabrina AlyaniXiaoyue Liu
Thing of Modernity – Mapping the Micro-geography of Everyday Environments