Visual Narratives and Design Thinking: 15 10 2018

I am particularly happy with how this day turned out. We went out, left the classroom and wandered around while drawing, taking pictures, anything that could record and capture what was surrounding us. I spent the morning walking around, stalking a few people for work purposes, observing them and expressing as accurately as possible the way they held themselves and interacted with their environment.

It reminded me of what I used to regularly do while I was in Fine Arts, and I must admit it was something that I missed doing. Going back to something manual and familiar like sketching and observing people live in their own carefully structured bubbles, was both pleasant and reassuring, a bit like coming back home after a long time away.

With our newly acquired material, we returned to school to string it into a gif. I incorporate little to no humour in my work, probably because it isn’t one of my finest qualities. I usually tend to gravitate around psychological and philosophical questions and ideas, producing delicate yet chaotic pieces of work. Which is probably why I am both proud and surprised of that short video which makes no sense whatsoever and isn’t supposed to. It’s basically a loop of non-explainable events, colourful grandmas, lost grandpas and shocked dads and I love it. I’m blaming it all on the fever.

What is about to follow hasn’t been filtered yet, it will be but I’m letting it sit for a while until then these are my multiple-barely-thought-through-poorly-strung-together answers to this question:

How do collections of objects tell stories?

What is an object? A thing that at some point has an owner, a utility or perhaps simply a sentimental value, anyway it is owned and has value to whoever owns it or maybe it doesn’t anymore but it used too. Objects have lives just like we do. We build our own, accumulating objects left and right for whatever purpose, we cherish them or we don’t, but these objects have found their way in our possession because we approved of them, at some point in time our ideas, style, objectives were in accordance with this object. It illustrated us. And as time passes sentimental value will be added in some cases, whether it is a particular memory that struck us so deeply that this object is forever linked to it, or just a feeling, sentiment, a part of ourselves that we pour into this object and end up considering it less like a decoration and more like a companion. And then there are objects which don’t necessarily have value but define their owner. I’m a smoker, I go through lighters quicker than I go through my closet in the morning in search of something adequate. I replace it, that lighter doesn’t have any more value than the previous one had or next one will. It’s just constantly there, in one of my pockets. Besides affirming that yes I do indeed smoke, I guess it’s constant presence on my body does say a few more things. Like the need to know that should I desperately need it, it’s there, a twinge of paranoia as well, fear that someone might steal should it be somewhere else (for some reason I am rather protective of my lighters), and the fact that I often have my hands in my pockets, it gives me something to touch, hold onto and play with which hints at nervousness, anxiety, trouble with social interaction and that kind of thing.

Of course, objects tell stories. Whether they have been purchased to be used as decoration or actively used, the object we chose already tells so much about our personality, tastes, experiences, needs etc … Then we add that sentimental value through usage, we give it a past, and it can have as many owners afterwards, a small part of us will still be there. There’s a reason why heirlooms are passed down for generations in some families. They might not remember each name, but that doesn’t mean the story isn’t there.

Objects are the reflections of who we are and who we aspire to be.

In truth everything that we own is the physical representation of that, we impose on physical things our wants, our needs and our histories.

They put things in context as well, historical value, they tell a lot about the time at which they were made, the beliefs, the artistic currents, the culture etc … and therefore people can build their tale around that object, it gives context and a character.

Every choice you make build you as a person, so why shouldn’t collections of objects reflect that constant evolution choice after choice, object after object?

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