Object Study 1


A black and silver thing, variously textured and knobby with protrusions – switches, dials, levers, buttons, a small red dome beside a button that’s shot through the center by a threaded hole. The buttons and switches crowd together in groups where a finger would easily find them when it’s held in the hand. A the top center is a black prism with a window on one side, and a little switch that opens and closes a blade that covers the window. On either side of the prism is a cluster of switches, buttons, dials and levers nested into one another and finely marked with symbols. To the right and left of the window are two small screws. Atop the prism is a pair of silver brackets holding down a piece of textured plastic, with a keystone shape at one end and a tab protruding from the other. Far to the right of the window is a series of numbers: 861496. The body consists of a black rectangular block with curved edges and a band through the middle with the texture of leather. In the center is a black rectangular frame with a rivet on each side, the edges of which are ringed with a brass patina where the black has worn away.

The face is dominated by a large black cylinder, ringed at one end by a notched silver band that holds it to the rectangle, and around the circumference by a knurled black ring marked in orange, white and green by numbers and symbols. This ring rotates in a smooth, slow circle when twisted. Behind this band is another that turns in stops, clicking from one to the next. This barrel, ringed by rotating bands, is the most impressive part of the thing. It’s wide diameter exceeds the height of the rectangle, so the entirety sits at an upward tilt. If you remove the black plastic cap by depressing textured tabs on either end, you reveal a gleaming darkness that reflects the shadows of its surroundings in oily blues and yellows. The perimeter of the opening is marked by white and red letters.

To the left of this barrel is a knurled bump with a large screwhead on the outer side, holding it to the rectangular body.