Everything comes from somewhere. Most things have stories to tell. What stories could objects tell if they could speak?
What is it about us that we set such store by our things? Some things are necessary to our survival; others are necessary to our sense of who we are. This chapter explores our relationships with some of these things and how we use them to express ourselves
Imagining the past lives of objects
To the Teacher
Collect an interesting array of objects. Give yourself time to do this; it may take longer than you expect. Try to have a variety of (made, not natural) things – evocative and personal objects (like an old hat, a wallet or a much-repaired shoe), and a few less personal things (like an old cold drink can). You could also include objects that speak of heritage and cultures (such as musical instruments).
Arrange the objects on a clear area of the floor.
You will need:
A number of mostly old or used objects, as varied as possible: memorabilia, discarded toys, hand-me-downs, every functional things, cultural, artefacts, precious trinkets, tools, ornaments.
Look at the objects for a few minutes.
Choose an object that you feel specially drawn to. You may find an object that represents or evokes something important to you.
See if there are clues or signs in the object that
tell of its history, that you can “read” in the object. It may be scratched, or mended in some way, or may be worn out in certain areas. What caused these changes to the object?
For example, is this a well-polished, well-cared-for, much-loved shoe? Where would the owner have worn these shoes? To church? To work? Did they do hard labour, or sit under a desk? Perhaps the owner had to make these shoes last a long time?
In turns, talk to the rest of the class about your object, what you think has happened to it, and the story that the object suggests.