By and About Things (book manuscript)
This is a book about objects, the narrative tension generated when they become things, and how select Madrid and Barcelona-based authors and artists from the pre-Civil War era used them in especially innovative ways. From “it-narratives” and their non-human protagonists, through stories of material acquisition and loss, to the photographic thing and the object mania inherent in avant-garde print culture and advertising, this book draws on ground-breaking examples from a rich period of both Castilian and Catalan cultural production. I argue that these artists’ unique engagements with the narrative possibilities of materiality not only provide new perspectives on the expression of the modern experience in the Spanish state, but also offer insights into the limits of aesthetic response to phenomena, and how objects—and their thingness—posit and prefigure new modes of being in the early twentieth century.
The Taste of a Nation (book manuscript)
In this project, I explore the evolving articulations of Catalan identity in regards to food production, distribution and preparation. My study considers the actions of both state actors and individuals in relation to the suggestive concept of terroir (the “taste of place”) and investigates, as well, how global and local markets have become intrinsic to the selling not only of goods but also identity in the Catalan context and beyond. This book brings together and expands my previous work on the Priorat, the Denomination of Origin system in Catalonia, the vermouth revival, and the legacy of Ferran Adrià.