Objective Dialogues at Wasteland Twinning Network Forum

24 Feb 2013 | Alex Head

The Objective Dialogues Y-Table sought to generate live, subjective research around trash and debris collected from 7 wastelands in the network. 


The Objective Dialogues Y-Table was developed by The Anxious Prop (AXP) on the occasion of the Wasteland Twinning Network Forum 2012. 

The WTN Forum brought together the project partners of WTN from Europe, Asia, USA and Australia to present, reflect and contribute to a wide discussion concerning the potential and responsibility of engaging in temporary practical projects and research within the fabric of contemporary urban societies. 

The Anxious Prop was invited to participate within the forum with a view to developing a live space that would facilitate the generation of collective knowledge around a collection of objects extracted from seven of the wasteland sites profiled within the forum. 

Based on the AXP's previous Y-Table series [www.theanxiousprop.org] the project evolved through discussion and work with the WTN Forum organisers into the research vehicle The Objective Dialogues Y-Table that proposed diverse methods of object classification, display and discussion.

Through extending an invitation to submit debris from seven of the wasteland sites presented within the WTN Forum, network partners contributed physical material that would become the focal points of discourse around the Objective Dialogues Y-Table. Submitted in person and by mail these objects were then re-selected before being catalogued into the OD display cabinet. 

Emphasis was placed on the objects’ unique qualities in relation to the site of their discovery. Once in position within the live event of the forum visitors began their inspection of the available material before agreeing as a pair on a specific object to analyse. This further process of re-selection, negotiated with the OD facilitator, continued the gradual journey of these activated objects leading to its documentation at the 3D scanner on the OD Y-Table. 

Once the object had been scanned the pair of investigators were presented with a pre-formated analysis sheet and a choice of three analysis stations to continue the process. 

Through the use of the investigative tools described below notional conversations between pairs lead to shared narratives, sketches, numerical specifications and the creation of social bonds between analysts. In conclusion investigators were encouraged to record a short synopsis of their findings which often focused on hypothetical micro-narratives in favour of the textual and diagrammatical information typical of written analysis sheets. To complete the arc of the objects movement through the process they were then returned to the display cabinet with the introduction and archiving of results.        


The Objective Dialogues Y-Table consisted of a three-way, Y-shaped table with 4 analytical examination stations, a display system, examination sheets, audio recorders and a facilitator.

The table was equipped with a 3D scanner and three analysis stations offering digital scales, measuring devices and an illuminated magnifying glass, and stood directly adjacent to a display cabinet from which objects could be observed and selected for investigation. 

Pairs of investigators would be guided through the process by a facilitator who would begin by creating a 3D scan of the object. This scan would then emerge as a printed colour image from beneath the table in the form of an A4 frame divided into object-image and fields of information: names of the investigators, object specifications and analysis notes along with fields with which to ‘catalogue’ the object.

The aim was to initiate and mediate dialogues between the participants of the forum by way of material objects collected and submitted by artists and researchers from the network. 

Project: Alex Head, Miodrag Kuc, Will Foster, Patrick Kochlick, Jens Wunderling, Jan Bovelet 

Genealogy of the Y-Table: The Anxious Prop: http://www.theanxiousprop.org/y-table.html

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