What was #Dust?

A Dust Mote, crushed.This is tweaked copy that Nikki and I handed out at our first experiment in making something explicitly ‘splacist‘ yesterday. A bit more of an explanation, hopefully.

#Dust was a first artistic response to the Splacist Manifesto. #Dust was a collaboration between writer/theatre maker Hannah Nicklin and artist Nikki Pugh. #Dust was a commission by MADE. #Dust is a fragment of a city.

There were two main components to #Dust, first the Dust Balls, and secondly the Dust Motes.

The Dust Balls are large fragments of the city. They are formed out of open source electronics, clay, hope and optimism. They begin by introducing themselves to the listeners, and instruct them to point the device in different directions in order to ‘pick up’ stories of individuals in the areas surrounding them. Depending on the timing and direction in which you are facing, different stories will be heard.

They are heavy, and designed to be listened to by two people at once – the weight and bulk of the object meaning that two are required to support it. The two people sharing each experience of overhearing the stories should be strangers.

The Dust Motes are small fragments of the city. Memories, secrets, and moments lost, dropped, found, discovered, gifted, stolen and spread throughout the city. All are from Real People. Be very careful with them. Select ones you like the feel of. Keep them safe.

These motes were spread around the area surrounding the carpark where the first section happened. Groups of 3 went out to collect Motes, which they were then asked to look after carefully. At the end of the walk back to MADE’s office, they were asked to make a decision. Keep it, or crush it and see if anything was inside.

Why Oh Why: This collaboration started with a number of aims; challenging Nikki and Hannah as artists (Hannah to work with more fragmentary narrative directly augmenting a city, Nikki to work with narrative and examine interfaces), challenging the perception of how space is inhabited, considering Birmingham as inhabited architecture, picking up the fragments that you often walk by, to consider our ways of getting at the world; a consideration of the map view and the street view. As well as responding to the Splacist Manifesto, which is concerned with these things and more.

The Brief: After starting with the manifesto and the aims above, we wrote ourselves the following brief. Out of this the idea for #Dust emerged. “Make something that examines interfaces and how to create resonance in space and place. Looking at fabric pre-woven and overlaid; of narrative/moments, that heats and lights and races hearts.”

Fragments and the city. Cities are made up of the people who move through them; without them they are like crab shells. In this metaphor, we are the crab meat. And to confuse it. Crab meat made up like that bar of soap your grandma used to make out of all the ends of other different coloured soaps. Maybe we should dispense with the crab soap. What I’m trying to say is that we are everything that a city is. That cannot be reduced to a map or a single path through the place. #Dust aims to bring to life (in a very small way) a very small part of the patchwork of experiences, moments, breath, that is being-in-the-city.

Read more: We are also dedicated to being open about our processes, so to follow the blog posts that accompanied the making process, head over onto npugh.co.uk/tag/dust/ and hannahnicklin.com/tag/splacist

A fragment found in a Mote

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