Tag Archives: Environment

#Dust – Tell me about an object.

Can you tell me about an object you own that is tied to a particular memory? In one tweet or two, using the hashtag ‘#dust’, or write it in a couple of sentences below; about the amount of writing you could fit on a post-it. You can send me pictures if you want, but tell me about an object that is significant to you and, shortly, why it is significant. You can leave your comment anonymously below by using ‘anon’ as a name and ‘anon@anon.com’ or another fake email address in the comments form.

I am making something with Nikki Pugh called ‘Dust’. It is a response to a manifesto that claims we will make things with you, not for you. This is one of the ways it’s with. You can read about where the project is at right now over here. If you can offer me a story, it will be made into a Dust Mote. Things that people will find and keep. The stories will also feed into and inform the longer-form narrative fragments in the work. Head over here for full context.

And because this is a two way thing, here’s a couple I will submit:

Object 1: A porcelain badge, square with rounded corners, the transfer of a rabbit with a balloon on the front.

This object broke. It was the last thing in my daily life that came from the boy whose hair smelled like raku firings. It fell off my bag in St. Pancras about 3 years ago and shattered. I still have the largest fragment.

a broken thing

Object 2: A small plush rat.

[no picture]

Bought because it looked lonely. Bought just before something went completely, bafflingly wrong. Now hidden.

I need some less emo objects, huh?

Introducing… #Dust.

Scroll down for Tl;dr version.

So, here we are, 1/3 of the way into work for the MADE splacist commission (1 out of 3 days). In case you don’t read my blog RELIGIOUSLY (RSS, yo), Splacism is manifesto’d over here, and it’s that manifesto that MADE have challenged me and Nikki Pugh to respond to in an actual piece of actual art/experience/whatever. The manifesto also includes the notion of being open about process, so here we are.

The end of the day workspace

Post its. Lots of them. That’s the main gist of it. We did some looking and walking and poking outside as well. But the ideas were post-itted. It’s a method I learnt from Alexander Kelly, and is brilliant for streamlining an idea. Like a portable brainstorm where as relevancies and relationships shift, you can re-place ideas. Move them onto a next stage. There are 3 here:

1) what are we doing and why

we summarised the manifesto points (yellow)
we summarised what MADE had asked us to do (green)
we summarised what we wanted to do (pink)

stage 1 post its

2) write this as a brief

We then took this and turned it into a brief, here you can see things that moved forwards from the manifesto points and self-challenges; Interfaces, resonance and fragments/particles. Heat and lights, the fabric of a city, and racing hearts. Space, and catalysts for narrative. And a story I told about an Edgelands speaker describing the storming of a stage (“an act I had only previously seen on a football field … they needed to feel the resonance there”)

stage 2 post its

2.1) The Brief

Does what it says on the post it.

brief post it

3) Respond to the brief.

stage 3 without spoilers

This is our main thinking space directly to the brief, the thing in the middle is what we settled on making. Another thing, too, but that would spoil a bit of it, so we’ll tell you afterwards. We wanted to push the idea of stories you walk by, of moments and fragments forgotten, floating around a city (Motes…). We’re going to make a device for you to listen to them. But it will also challenge the interface of the headphone piece, it will be tactile and awkward and breakable and intimate. There will be some things never found. You will scan the city from above, and then search its streets below. Also we will provide hot drinks.

not the death star, promise


And then we named it: Dust.

Book tickets (for free) here, and look out for the next bit of open process on Nikki’s blog, which will be all about building and testing the protoype listening device.

Summary/Tl:dr version:

WHO: Made by me and Nikki Pugh, with some other people, commissioned by Made. For anyone to do. At least one aspect of the experience (out of 2) is highly suited to people with hearing and vision impairment. Those with mobility issues should be fine if in a wheelchair, top walking distance is 10 minutes. Top walking around time half an hour.

WHERE: on top of a car park, in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham, and for a couple of blocks around.

WHAT: You are invited to listen in to the whispers of strangers. A large dusty device that catches different voices depending on where you point it. Like a satellite dish, but made of clay and big and round. You will also be sent out in search of Motes. #Dust Motes are a mystery. For now.

WHY: To challenge us as artists, to challenge the perception of how space is inhabited, to pick up the fragments that you often walk by, to consider interfaces, ways at getting at the world; the map view and the street view.

HOW: Using clay, memories, arduino, audio, our brains, and the bodies of people.