Personal object tagging practices

Two remarkable forms of "object tagging" encountered recently at ENSCI two weeks ago: 1. Tagging for temporary storage

ENSCI is a design school in Paris. The kind of place where students need stuff for their practices, which means that they have storage facilities (small boxes made of steel). Besides, students are encouraged to take one semester abroad, off the school OR to make an internship in a design studio. This situation often leads to what you can see on the picture below: there's plenty of packages and student's boxes distributed in the different rooms of the school building. Some leave bike frames, others leave their old tent. And some students have the delicate practice of tagging their belongings with their names/email/telephone/reason for being elsewhere/time of return.

2. Tagging to give names for one's artifacts

Another curious example consists in this series of artifacts owned by one of the students I taught to last week. Each object (apart from the glasses) have a dedicated name indicated by the colored adhesive tags. The heart-shaped mirror is called "Pocahontas", the Black-Berry cell phone is called "Johnnie" (it's a "she") and the deck of cards is called "Suce-Vieille" (which is hard to translate literally in English, it means something like "Blowing Old"). The owner of these objects told me that it was important to give a name to objects which are close to her. Definitely uncommon with tiny objects like this but much likely in the case of cars, vaccum cleaners or roomba bots recently.

Why do I blog this? Preparing a speech about the people's practices in the house of the future, I am convinced that these two observations have something to say about our interactions with objects. Whenever you chat with people with similar practices, you end up discussing very important matter concerning how they project meaning in their personal artifacts. Working on a conference project about robots definitely makes me think about such elements.