New Notional Slurry exercise: Read your signature on the scattered ashes. The exercise includes:
What items there in the room with you could be used to reconstruct or rediscover an aspect of your life? What of your possessions differentiate your life from that of others in your demographic?
Again, consider the objects you have received from other people, which carry some of their story. What proportion of their material possessions do those objects represent? Now consider your own possessions. What proportion of yours would connote anything at all to an ignorant but interested detective or anthropologist?
Although i could make a psychologist giddy with this exercise and expound for hours in a state of utter procrastination, i’ll refrain. Instead, i’ll use this exercise as a prompt to offer a few “observations” that one would have, all of which say very different things about me.
There’s a sewing machine upside down on top of the sweaters. Taped to it are hand-written labels and instructions in someone else’s handwriting, pointers to what particular dials are and what to do to make the machine work. The gift card for the sewing machine will be found under my bed, with a note wishing me luck on learning to sew. In a bin, one will find a stack of things needing mending and nothing in the room will be found with mends having been made.
700+ books scatter the room, many in topical piles. Most are not duplicates, but there are 7 copies of one book and 9 of another. Upon opening many books, random things are bound to fly out. There will be hundreds of transportation stubs, fliers from parties and receipts. Surfing through the books, random phone numbers and to-do lists will be found.
A box of Lego Mindstorms is stashed beneath a 4′ stuffed dog. Inside the box, there is a list of all Legos included with this set. All of those Legos are there, but so are many more. Many of the additional Legos cannot be found in any set now or ever on the market.
Under the bed, there is a large box containing mostly photos. There are thousands of photos, mostly Polaroids. That box also contains a hand-made collage, a poster, a handmade box containing paper butterflies, a Self magazine, a bottle of perfume, three unmarked postcards, a signed Ani Difranco stub, an earring, a broken bracelet and a pacifier. There are many more boxes with mementos, but this one is at the front and contains very few mementos compared to photos.
OK… i’ll stop because this is too much fun. It reminds me of the time when a couple broke up across the street and one threw all the others’ possessions into the street for trash day. What a story those items told. Or, of course, the I Found Some of Your Life blog….
Note: mucho appreciation for Danyel for giving me an opportunity to procrastinate. He rightfully knew that i would love this post in context of the CSCW workshop on Representations of Identity that Liz, Michele and i ran.