Download e-book for iPad: Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity by Mimi Sheller

By Mimi Sheller

ISBN-10: 0262026821

ISBN-13: 9780262026826

Aluminum formed the 20th century. It enabled high-speed shuttle and gravity-defying flight. It was once the cloth of a streamlined aesthetic that got here to symbolize modernity. And it grew to become a necessary aspect in business and household items that ranged from airplanes and vehicles to dressmaker chairs and synthetic Christmas timber. It entered sleek houses as packaging, foil, pots and pans or even infiltrated bodies via nutrition, medication, and cosmetics. In Aluminum Dreams, Mimi Sheller describes how the materiality and that means of aluminum reworked glossy lifestyles and keeps to form the area this present day.

Aluminum, Sheller tells us, replaced mobility and mobilized glossy lifestyles. It enabled air energy, the distance age and moon landings. but, as Sheller makes transparent, aluminum was once vital not just in twentieth-century expertise, innovation, structure, and layout but additionally in underpinning worldwide army energy, asymmetric improvement, and an important environmental and wellbeing and fitness matters. Sheller describes aluminum's glossy utopia but additionally its darkish part. The accidental effects of aluminum's frequent use contain struggles for sovereignty and source keep an eye on in Africa, India, and the Caribbean; the unleashing of establishment organizations; and the pollutants of the earth via mining and smelting (and the conflict to save lots of it). utilizing a unmarried fabric as an access element to realizing a world historical past of modernization and its implications for the longer term, Aluminum desires forces us to invite: How can we gather the fabric tradition of modernity and what are its environmental effects?

Aluminum Dreams features a beneficiant number of notable photographs of iconic aluminum designs, many in colour, drawn from ads through Alcoa, Bohn, Kaiser, and different significant organizations, pamphlets, motion pictures, and exhibitions.

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Additional resources for Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity

Example text

Under its protected patent for the Hall reduction process, the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, which later became Alcoa, was able to create one of the most vertically integrated businesses in history, which gained near-monopoly control over the infant industry. In other words, it controlled not only bauxite mining, alumina reduction, and aluminum smelting facilities but also owned plants for producing sheet metal, castings, extrusions, wire, and so on, as well as extensive metallurgical research and development wings.

Although the race for a patent inspired the first inventors, and the dream of riches inspired the first investors, the story of aluminum also involves a far wider cast of characters. Beyond the chemists, metallurgists, engineers, financiers, and business managers who made it all possible, it also took the dreamers, the artists, and the inventors who doodled, dawdled, tinkered, and drew inspiration from everything around them, lashing together ideas from one realm to another, imagining the future and bringing it into being.

Aluminum as a recyclable “green metal” that can contribute to new sustainable technologies. Thus brightness and darkness run as counterpoints throughout this book, mirroring various other juxtapositions: the rhetorical “hype cycles” around the promise of this “miracle metal” versus deep disappointment in it as an ersatz cheap substitution for better things;52 the charges of antismelter activists of alleged “greenwashing” by industry brand management versus the corporate social responsibility managers who describe aluminum as a useful Introduction 29 “energy bank” and a “green metal” that improves the efficiency of transport systems; the ethereal lightness of modernity’s dreams of mobility and faster communication, on the one hand, and the heavy burdens of the weight of modernization, the gritty labors of mining, and the destructive power of weaponry, on the other.

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Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity by Mimi Sheller

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