Queer Chattels and Fixtures: Photography and Materiality in the Homes of Frank Sargeson and Patrick White
This chapter considers the material contents of two homes, both belonging to gay literary figures, that variously manifest the homosexuality of their owners through processes of archivisation that rely on photography. Although the photographs of Frank Sargeson's and Patrick White's houses originate in institutional discourse that would consign their chattels and fixtures to the documentary past, photography remains key to the remediation of queer attachment and its domestic context. In Barthes' influential account, the genius of photography is not in its capacity to capture the lost object but in prompting its affective revivification through the quirks of personal recollection and attachment, which are different for each of us and, because intuitive rather than analytic, entirely unpredictable. What the photographs of these houses preserve is their capacity to remind each of us of something we do not yet know about our own relation to queer domesticity, its ephemerality and material persistence.
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