Monday, December 12, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
My interdisciplinary approach to restaging the interaction between a person and an object exhibits the functionality of the process. I do this instead of focusing on an object from a certain time period that tends to interpret the history or social relations of a pertaining culture. A specific type of activity, object, or the human body can be the subject matter for forming a collection. By isolating the interaction of a person and object, such as documenting on a sterile white background, presents a focus on the detailed engagement between the two.
I am consciously considering the functionality of this interaction between the two when I start the collecting process. My process begins with ʻfieldworkʼ of observing types of objects or a particular activity that tends to have a specific utility. The ʻfieldworkʼ coincides with socially and culturally based research.
Borrowing from material culture methodologies such as visual and social anthropology along with observational cinema, these methods contribute to an image-based enquiry of the body and the senses with an ethnographic practice.  Employing either video or the actual object as a visual representation maintains the focus on the process by isolating the interaction that otherwise tends to be part of a daily routine.
My research has led me to this content and an understanding of some of the absences in the discussions and new approaches of material culture. One example of these absences is Nicole Boivin’s argument for an approach to a new kind of social and cultural theory, but also to recognize how integral the material world is to how individuals and societies operate.
The act of restaging my observations provides individual examples of functionality and the opportunity for future additions to a collection. The accumulation of each of the collections will represent the perspective of how fundamental the interaction between a person and an object is to a consistent consumption of the material world.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
My coupon collection is not distributed into the social interaction of the economy that it was intended for. Instead of being placed in circulation for marketing and consumer saving, the coupons are grouped by the month of expiration.
As this collection has formed in the last three months, I have begun to investigate the many aspects of the coupons. Such as: the immaterial labor (marketing), the consumer labor (clipping/ organizing), the transitional time period (the expiration date), and the cultural aspects of thrift and savings.
As I am collecting, clipping, and sorting the coupons, one aspect that was first apparent is the community that the coupons define. From food establishments, local merchants, and chain store retailers, the coupons visually represent my community’s style of consumption.
Periodically, I will be posting on my website an updated list of the coupon collection.
Besides being grouped by the expiration month, my plan is to include my location as part of the grouping. The time period of the collection will be determined by when I change my residence.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
The easy open lid of a food can is an example of a direct social interaction between a person and an object. No extra tool, besides the can opener, is needed to open the can. The design of the can’s lid allows the person to be the function of a can opener. I perceive this intimate interaction also as a form of manual labor.
My description is of this simple act of an idea that this convenient object needs manual labor to perform the activity of opening a can with the easy open lid. The significance of this description is to consider the cultural ideals of the idea of convenience and work and the beginnings of forming a collection of these social interactions of work between a person and object.
The left hand is securely grasping the main body of the can. The tin can’s cylinder shape makes it is easy to grasp. The right hand reaching for the tab blocks the long thin rays of light that bounce across the shiny surface of the lid. With a starting position of the pointer finger on the tab and the thumb on the outer edge of the can the pointer finger’s nail begins to lift the tab from the surface. The pressure from the hand to the fingernail along with the hard metal surface pulls the nail slightly from the finger. This slightly induced physical pain causes a reaction to slip the end of the finger under the tab. The pointer finger pulls the tab to the vertical position away from the lid of the can. This new position of the tab breaks the seal of the easy open lid. A suction noise occurs when the seal is broken and the center of the can swells and rises with the air entering the can. The pungent smell of condense soup is pushed out of the can with the entering outside air. With the tab bent up vertically a very small section of the lid is bent inward. This exposes the sharp edge of the lip of the can. The hand repositions with the pointer finger in the opposite direction and the thumb in the center of the can. Now all the pressure is on the thumb while the pointer finger is lifting the lid from the can. The tendons tighten across the back of the hand as the motion is carried through. The sound of metal releasing from metal does not last long in the quickness of the motion. The condense soup odor becomes stronger as the opening is enlarged. The thumb’s position moves from the outer edge of the can to move upwards with the pointer finger. The thumb contributes to the grasp on the tab during the final separation of the easy open lid. The hand carefully twists back and forth with a final sound of the metal edges scrapping together to confirm the lids removal.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
A time clock that usually has the job of logging workers’ time was mixed among other objects on a flea market seller’s table. Stopped at 6:10, unknown if that is A.M. or P.M., it’s boxy industrial design stood out with all the domestic type objects around it. This seller’s table was not organized into categories like the majority of other tables, as in glassware or specific types of tools. This eclectic arrangement of these objects made me consider all the uses of them and the interaction or "work" between people that have put them to use. This type of “work” that I was considering is usually not supervised by a time clock system of hourly time keeping. I was taking into account the tangible and intangible aspects of work.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
As the media emphasizes the current political climate of high unemployment and the future status of the American worker for this 2011 American Labor Day, I began to consider barbeque grills and their affiliation as objects to the holiday. The Labor Day holiday’s main purpose is for the recognition of the contributions from the worker that have established the prosperity of the United States as a nation. The grill is one of several prominent objects in the holiday’s festivities that contain other contexts of work culture.
Obviously, the grills main job is a source to cook food. There is an interaction between person and the grill for the process to occur. Whether the perception of this process is leisurely or utilitarian it tends to have some aspect of referencing the idea of work.
Rather than the worker and the customary work environment being concentrated on, my investigation of the grill’s social relationships of being used on a personal scale and the broader cultural concept for the American Labor Day holiday will to some extent extend the viewpoint and dialog of work culture.