Objects and their stories

The emotional value of an object can lie in experiences with that object, or intensive use of it. Perhaps the object was a precious gift or it reminds you of pleasant or unpleasant times. Crafted objects can be selfreflecting, and souvenirs can remind you of a location.

Union Square - San Francisco

In this project the emotional stories are narrowed down to childhood nostalgia. The objects used are a Fisher-Price roller skate, a stuffed animal, a plastic military tank and a handcrafted puppet. Because these items were collected in The Netherlands, they might be emotional to only Dutch.

To test this hypothesis the objects would have to be presented to people from different countries. To find people not in a hurry or not going somewhere a good place to look is a park or a square. People there would be relaxing and not be bothering too much by a few questions. The ideal place to meet people from a lot of different nationalities would be a tourist hot spot. I found a perfect combination of the two in Union Square, San Francisco.

There was a chance that people would not recognise the objects at all. Their emotional stories would be geographically bound. However it was very interesting to see nearly everybody coorporating recognising the objects. Interesting stories were captured. The story-telling people came from Canada, the US, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Spain, Germany, Russia, France, Scotland and England. Together this created an interesting mixture of emotions, with some emotions being country specific, and others being global.

It seemed like the perfect place to interview people, but unfortunately it also had a downside. The sound quality of the recordings is pretty low because of constant traffic and construction background sounds. Nevertheless the great emotional and international stories weigh easily up against this loss of quality.