Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Classification

Eighteen Found Objects

Khalifa and I met with an archaeologist yesterday, who drew to our attention a number of issues, including the following: how we are recording and collecting information/objects; what criteria we are employing in making decisions about what to keep and what to discard; how the objects will be stored; how the resulting collection will be ordered and classified, and to what end.

We also discussed how an object changes once it has been removed from the environment in which it was found and placed in a collection, for the object loses its immediate functionality and becomes an artefact. This change is evident in the photographs that record the objects in situ, in which the location or context suggests some wider sense of narrative.

Chinese toy gun, found outside building 2785

A professor from Qatar University was taking samples of concrete from the buildings on the site this morning. He observed that the abandoned buildings provide the raw material for many different operations: one group strips the wire from the buildings, another takes the metal and aluminium from the window frames, yet another salvages the copper piping, while my team sifts through and collects the personal possessions left by the former residents. He saw himself as conducting an autopsy on the buildings, a post-mortem examination on the structural integrity of concrete that has been exposed to dripping pipes, drying laundry, and poorly installed air-conditioning units, all of which cause cracks and decay over time. It is interesting that the derelict buildings and refuse provide such fertile hunting ground.

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