Sunday, July 11, 2010


This project is an attempt to preserve the very moment of now.
To write messages of today and save them on draft to the future.
To chose a number of objects from today and imagine someone will find them out of the context in the distant future. To "catalog" today's day by explaining through these objects how we live today.

Lets imagine an archeologist finds one object of today in 400 years from now. How easy will it be for him to understand the context, the use, the year of made... If we could make his life easy what will we attach to that object.

For the "today in a boat" project I would like to invite a diverse group of people, from different backgrounds (who could per si represent today's society) and present them the challenge of choosing an object, collecting all the operating instructions, manufacture information, manuals, and  come on board to give us a short introduction of why they have chosen their particular object. For that they will have to describe the object, tells us what it's used for, where it was found, bought, measurements materials, etc, how much did it cost... And from there move to what does it say about our society today.

As an example I chose a plastic bottle filled with tap water. And let's say It has the original packaging from the distributor.
I would have to explain exactly how we use it now (context), how the container is produced (manufacturing instructions and technology used to produce it), what is plastic, how we put the tap water inside and how the plump water system works and gets to our houses, the problem of excess of plastic bottles in the world, how we carry this bottles in our bags an forget them it in meeting tables, visual instructions of how to use it, how we use our hand to grab it, harm to help it get close to the mouth, mouth as to be slightly open.
Well, this all seams annoyingly obvious for us now.
But how will people drink water in the future?
Portable, on the move, recycle, plastic! (will plastic still exist in 400 years from now?). So speed could also be an abstract element we can use to represent our everyday routine. What kind of speed, in what situation, what is our reaction to low speed?

Now pick another object and do the same.
If 40 people collect 40 objects will it be enough to represent this present day?
Some objects have a lot to say, and if each person put it in context and explains all the connections around it, I believe it could.

The purpose of this project is also to raise important issues about the society today and to promote tertulias between people.
The project was based on the idea that by being in a close environment such as a boat, people will focus more. Also the fact we are going to spend two days on a boat makes us think better about what we want to take with us. Again what objects?
So I thought it would be interesting to go up the Thames in the boat. And up the Thames on a boat is "Three man in a boat", by Jerome K. Jerome. And here's an excerpt of the book that helped building the concept for this project:

"To go back to the carved-oak question, they must have had very fair notions of the artistic and the beautiful, our great-great-grandfathers. Why, all our art treasures of to-day are only the dug-up commonplaces of three or four hundred years ago. I wonder if there is real intrinsic beauty in the old soup-plates, beer-mugs, and candle-snuffers that we prize so now, or if it is only the halo of age glowing around them that gives them their charms in our eyes. The "old blue" that we hang about
our walls as ornaments were the common every-day household utensils of a few centuries ago; and the pink shepherds and the yellow shepherdesses that we hand round now for all our friends to gush over, and pretend they understand, were the unvalued mantel-ornaments that the mother of the eighteenth century would have given the baby to suck when he cried.

Will it be the same in the future? Will the prized treasures of to-day always be the cheap trifles of the day before? Will rows of our willow-pattern dinner-plates be ranged above the chimneypieces of the great in the years 2000 and odd? Will the white cups with the gold rim and the beautiful gold flower inside (species unknown), that our Sarah Janes now break in sheer light-heartedness of spirit, be carefully mended, and stood upon a bracket, and dusted only by the lady of the house?

That china dog that ornaments the bedroom of my furnished lodgings. It is a white dog. Its eyes blue. Its nose is a delicate red, with spots. Its head is painfully erect, its expression is amiability carried to
verge of imbecility. I do not admire it myself. Considered as a work of art, I may say it irritates me. Thoughtless friends jeer at it, and even my landlady herself has no admiration for it, and excuses its presence by the circumstance that her aunt gave it to her.

But in 200 years' time it is more than probable that that dog will be dug up from somewhere or other, minus its legs, and with its tail broken, and will be sold for old china, and put in a glass cabinet. And people will pass it round, and admire it. They will be struck by the wonderful depth of the colour on the nose, and speculate as to how beautiful the bit of the tail that is lost no doubt was.

We, in this age, do not see the beauty of that dog. We are too familiar with it. It is like the sunset and the stars: we are not awed by their loveliness because they are common to our eyes. So it is with that china dog. In 2288 people will gush over it. The making of such dogs will have become a lost art. Our descendants will wonder how we did it, and say how clever we were. We shall be referred to lovingly as "those grand old artists that flourished in the nineteenth century, and produced those china dogs."
Chapter 6, pag 45

The concept behind the boat project it's expressed in the book itself. And this made me build the route on the river based on the trip they did as well: Starting in Kingston-upon-Thames (were they've got the boat from), up into Pangbourne, where the book heroes abandoned their boat and got the train back to London.

This project would be documented in the shape of a book.

More details to follow.

No comments: