I was at #seeingthepast these last two days (website). During one of the discussions, the idea of glitchiness of augmented reality was raised, and ways that this might intersect with materiality were explored. At one point, the idea of an app that let people break museum objects (the better to know them and how they were created) was mooted. (nb, I didn’t come up with the idea; it might have been Keri or Caitlin).

I tweeted:

and archaeologists on the twitterverse responded. (I then would periodically inform the symposium of the twitter discussion, which would then spark ruminations on the virtuality of conferences, but I digress):

On the way home, I had time to think about how this might work. If you’ve got the chops to make it happen, this is how I think ‘Breakage’ could go, so I’d love to see something like:

– photos uploaded from museum online catalogues, exhibitions, or databases (ones without good provenances)

– user can pan through these. When one catches the user’s fancy, the user selects it: and it shatters into pieces.

– each piece can then be examined; pieces highlights some aspect of the object inherent to the object (makers’ marks, artistic effects, clay fabric, whatever).

– touch again, and the pieces are put into a *possible* context. touch again, a different *possible* context. Show how different meanings could be understood if this was the actual context, and how it…. but damn. We don’t actually know what the piece’s real context was, so we don’t know anything.

– and then the image would be deleted from the user’s version of the app, never to be seen again, as if it has been looted anew.