The still life becomes both the seductive representation of inanimate objects at rest and the still itself — the machine that distills the viscous fluids of forms of feeling, sociality, power, contingency, and agency into a concrete but elusive substance. Encompassing the dual movements of anxiety and pleasure, abjection and warm recluse, totalization and fragmentation, it culls the dense intertextualities of our everyday life to a state of continual excitement in which desire is indistinguishable from dread. It promises the copy that is also contact, matter shifting into image shifting into matter. [...] It is the arresting image on a public stage that whispers to us, in an inaudible murmur, "Love me." It holds the promise and threat of the scene where the public meets the intimate.
— Kathleen Stewart, "Still Life" in Intimacy ed. by Lauren Berlant