A commentary on "Do Objects Tell Stories"?
"This object tells a story" is another way of saying "this object has a story." Of course people can tell any kind of story through objects, but this only means that objects can be recycled. When we speak of the story told by an object, we mean not just any story anyone might tell using the object as a prop, but rather, a story which is necessarily structured around the object's specificity, not around the teller's individuality. The story which needs to be told in order to understand the object—not just any story the teller might tell, but the story which needs this object in order to be told. Which is not to say that the teller's individuality may not interact fruitfully with the object's specificity (or historicity should I say), opening it up and making the object readable for people who could not see the story in the object or could not hear the story "told" by the object. A story told by an object is therefore the story which concerns anyone who wants to know more about the piece of history which inheres in the object. Or, ultimately, the story which concerns anyone interested in understanding the historicity which inheres in anything and in anybody. The big story that we all share with the object and with the teller.