Thinking through houses: the materiality of kitchen houses and histri on Mere Lava, Vanuatu

Abstract : Houses in Vanuatu are prominent artefacts that materialise people’s links to the land, actualising their presence on places. Nowadays on Mere Lava, a striking emphasis is put on the building or re-building of the kitchen houses. Drawing upon recent theories of material efficacy that consider objects as potent media through which people think, this article questions the underpinnings of the major cultural part these buildings play. It suggests that their prominence is grounded precisely in the ways their material features relate to people’s conceptualisation of the world, such as the notion of histri, ‘history’. Key material features of kitchen houses as well as the values they embody are explored through the lens of the building technical process. The mechanisms that bind these artefacts to values such as balance and collaboration are highlighted, in order to show how artefacts themselves become a form through which histri is thought.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01219865
Contributor : Marie Durand <>
Submitted on : Friday, October 23, 2015 - 2:43:29 PM
Last modification on : Monday, July 29, 2019 - 11:15:05 AM

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Marie Durand. Thinking through houses: the materiality of kitchen houses and histri on Mere Lava, Vanuatu. Journal of Material Culture, SAGE Publications (UK and US), 2016, Online first, ⟨http://mcu.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/09/04/1359183515601452.abstract⟩. ⟨10.1177/1359183515601452⟩. ⟨halshs-01219865⟩

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