The Container Principle: How A Box Changes The Way We Think

Hardcover | February 27, 2015

byAlexander KloseTranslated byCharles Marcrum

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We live in a world organized around the container. Standardized twenty- and forty-foot shipping containers carry material goods across oceans and over land; provide shelter, office space, and storage capacity; inspire films, novels, metaphors, and paradigms. Today, TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit, the official measurement for shipping containers) has become something like a global currency. A container ship, sailing under the flag of one country but owned by a corporation headquartered in another, carrying auto parts from Japan, frozen fish from Vietnam, and rubber ducks from China, offers a vivid representation of the increasing, world-is-flat globalization of the international economy. In The Container Principle, Alexander Klose investigates the principle of the container and its effect on the way we live and think.

Klose explores a series of "container situations" in their historical, political, and cultural contexts. He examines the container as a time capsule, sometimes breaking loose and washing up onshore to display an inventory of artifacts of our culture. He explains the "Matryoshka principle," explores the history of land-water transport, and charts the three phases of container history. He examines the rise of logistics, the containerization of computing in the form of modularization and standardization, the architecture of container-like housing (citing both Le Corbusier and Malvina Reynolds's "Little Boxes"), and a range of artistic projects inspired by containers. Containerization, spreading from physical storage to organizational metaphors, Klose argues, signals a change in the fundamental order of thinking and things. It has become a principle.

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From the Publisher

We live in a world organized around the container. Standardized twenty- and forty-foot shipping containers carry material goods across oceans and over land; provide shelter, office space, and storage capacity; inspire films, novels, metaphors, and paradigms. Today, TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit, the official measurement for shipping...

Alexander Klose is a researcher and curator in the program department of the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

other books by Alexander Klose

Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 8 × 5.38 × 0.81 inPublished:February 27, 2015Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262028573

ISBN - 13:9780262028578

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The Container Principle captures the fear and imagination inspired by our logistics-driven world. Klose describes the paradoxes of the container: how it collapses time and space and how it has become the most dynamic, networked object on both land and sea.