Dirt and the status of objects in design exhibits

Dirt An intriguing aspect noticed at the Design Biennial the other day concerns the status of objects presented in design exhibit. Most of the objects have warning signs forbidding people to touch/use/employ/walk on/sit on artifacts. However since most of the objects have clear affordances and are quite successful as calling for their own use... people cannot help using them (design success uh?). Which leads to pictures like the one above and below with foot traces here and there on some pieces.

Plus, given the huge quantity of kids there, this sort of audience inevitably wants and needs to touch artifacts.


As a matter of fact, I find this extremely interesting as a person intrigued by usage and the passage of time (generally synonymous of dirt, dust and rusted pieces). What do people think at the end of the exhibit? Is the quantity of dirt a measure of success ("ah the affordance of this couch is so great that it's trashed by now").