The maker and the breaker: stories behind everyday objects (Andrea Terron, Senior Fellow 2018, Guatemala)

Written by Andrea Terron Gomez, Senior Fellow 2018 & ITP Fellow 2017, Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Anthropology at Del Valle Univeristy, Guatemala City

I am writing about a fantastic session we had for the Object in Focus project this year, and the title of my blog post (The Maker and the Breaker) I have stolen from Roshan Mishra (ITP 2018) – a wonderful phrase he used during his presentation.

All the fellows selected everyday objects and created and talked about their made-up histories. We spoke about creating stories with any everyday object and how all the stories related to the feelings of those interpreting the material.

The presentations were a challenge, but it was a fruitful creative process. I think that the fellows realised that they were thinking more deeply about objects: about the stories behind them in relation to past, present and future. They were wondering about the similarities and differences, the missing links and how one can bring together imagination and fact through one or many objects.


Creative interpretation of an everyday object: from Pingu to Nokia!

Most of them agreed that is difficult to describe things that we don’t know anything about, but that one needs to focus on the storyline, putting meaning behind the object, thinking about the social context, and how any object can connect with a memory or a personal experience. We can start from here to begin interpreting what we are looking at: as one fellow said during the morning session that same day, ‘going from the known to the unknown.’

One of the things I liked most about this activity was to understand the feelings, thoughts and experiences the fellows have. The way that everyone explained stories connecting with their personal histories made the whole activity more special. We got to know the fellows better and since they were working with their partners, everybody seemed to be paying attention to the person behind the formal biography.

Object in Focus Day 1

Fellows choose their actual Object in Focus project objects from a selection of BM collection artefacts

The ITP 2018 journey we have been taking will mark the rhythm for future projects and partnerships. Let us hope to connect with one another over time, creating common knowledge and making this experience fruitful, positively challenging and ongoing.