Interaction through/with artifacts

I’m thinking about the relationship between the daytime and nightime users, and uses, of the place that I’m exploring (and, of course, the users may be the same people, but with different modes of engagement with the place, different interests and motivations and different relationships with others in that place at that time). One option for exploring this (without direct engagement, which could be highly problematic!) is to create artifacts that are left in the place for others (at another time) to interact with. I’m thinking about environmental artists, like Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long, who create artifacts in the landscape, and use photography as a way of recording these. Goldsworthy, in particular, recognises, and records, the deterioration/change that takes place in the work (made from objects found in the environment) with the passage of time. In this case, though, I’m thinking about human engagement and agency. So, an artifact is created, photographed and left for a period of time (overnight, and periodically subsequently) to see (and record photographically) how it has changed (or rather, been changed, by humans, animals, weather). This could range between total indifference and total destruction. Worth a try. Need to think about he nature of the artifact and the location. So I think the first steps (photographically) are to explore places within the park where activity and interaction takes place, and to explore the material for making that are available there, and subsequently to work on what can be made. Another option is to leave objects and explore/record their fate (and these activities and interactions leave their own artifacts for other to engage with and respond to, of course). But, I think it is worth figuring out whether making might work initially. Day/night is, of course, just one (extreme) way of differentiating between uses of the same space; this multiplicity of understandings and modes of engagement with the same spaces is a common feature of the increasingly intensive use of urban space. And in research, the use of artifacts to facilitate or provoke interaction and dialogue is well established. I need to explore the degree to which these have been explored photographically, and potential for images that illuminate, engage and provoke.