Firearms are culturally significant objects. They can empower. They can kill. But I also believe that guns are complex tools of meaning that can, perhaps, provide insights into the interconnection of people, objects, and society.
My research started several years ago with a simple question: “Why doesn’t the Museum of Modern Art collect guns?” The answers lead me down a rabbit hole of research that eventually became my master’s thesis, Missing the Modern Gun: Object Ethics in Collections of Design (PDF) and a brief lecture on guns, museums, and design. But this was only a beginning.
With the essays and images on this site, I hope to further explore the implications of guns and the stories they tell. I will examine the design of firearms (how they look, feel, and function), the roles they play as material and symbolic objects, the stories of specific guns that have changed the world (or are merely interesting), and also the ways that these objects have shaped human thought.
I expect that I’ll get things wrong at times. But I work in the interest of eventually getting them right.
Barbara Eldredge is a design writer and researcher based in New York. She has written for New York Magazine, Metropolis, core77.com, and Works That Work, among others.