François Pohu Lefevre

The Beauties of the Underside

If each object, by definition, receives its value only in function of the utility that it provides (for a given person, in a given context), what can be said about the refuse that litters our metropolises except that it seems to disappear altogether from our field of perception and loses all value once it ceases to serve a specific purpose? Distinct from ordinary objects, detritus marks a limit: standing at the frontier between utility and abjection, it occupies a threshold outside of the comfortable consumer objects that surround us1. It is for this reason that these used and rejected products, more than other trash, may reveal the mechanisms at work in the world of mass produced objects, governed as they are by the law of forced obsolescence.

1For more details on this dialectic of the abject, see Julia Kristeva,Pouvoirs de l’horreur : essai sur l’abjection. This essay indirectly played an important role in gay and lesbian studies, and more generally, in the notion of the queer. The queer It is precisely what society judges abject and that becomes invisble for it. François Pohu Lefevre’s work may be seen as working to give an esthetic value to the queer(meaning, the abject), and therefore, dignity.

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