Constellation – Stuff: Objects and Materiality in Society

The task for our last constellation lesson was to bring in an object which is symbolic of something other than itself.

‘Semiotics is the theory of signs – the ways in which things, images and objects are vehicles for meanings.’  – It’s not the object itself that casts the meanings, but the person who sees the object. Different object can have different meanings to every single person, yet, like wedding rings, the meaning that has been wrapped around these simple objects, has been taken on board by the masses, making it an  icon.


The object I have chosen to look at is a key.

A key is a common object, owned by most all people with the functional value of opening doors. Coming in many different shapes and sizes, virtually all keys are used for the same purpose, with the exception of birthday keys; which are most arguably given for significant birthday such as a 21st.

A key on its own means the ability to come and go as you please. A small metal object that has the ability to give access; mix this a context of having reached a certain age, the key then takes on a different meaning, one of independence and responsibility. This object with the said context, then bring a very trusting relationship;  you are being trusted to keep the key, and what it unlock (and therefore what dwells within) safe.

When the context is changed, say into a romantic relationship,  the key then takes on additional meaning; it becomes a symbol of bringing two separate lives together, a much deeper kind of trusting relationship is entailed.


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