Lots of thoughts around use at the moment as I'm beginning to understand that it is USE rather than FUNCTION that I am drawn to and the differences between the two. There is something about the combination of object + time + human intervention that is interesting. Function seems to be about the object and the intention of the designer (I'm thinking equally of industrial and machine-made objects as well as hand-made things) whereas use involves process and repetition - something used carries traces of time and users in a way that an unused functional object never can. The sense of human interaction with an object is important - when something is used it carries the story of its users - Neil Cummings captures some of it in Reading Things
This is where, I believe, an object’s real life begins, moving from hand to hand, being bought, thrown out, collected, displayed, broken, sold, recollected and re-displayed. Something closer to the flea-market economy.
This local inflection, generated by the friction of use, requires the most detailed reading, and it seems to me, the most resistant to representation.
I think that when I make deliberately ambiguous, apparently abandoned things what I am trying to create is a sense of something used, something that someone once thought useful but now that person is gone that sense of use is also gone. The object refers back to the person and the glimpses of their history that it now holds. Giving the object functional characteristics is not about my intention it should be used but a way of signalling that it had been used. I'm not sure that this distinction is always clear, not least to me, and maybe need to explore that a bit more - maybe make the function even more obscure, maybe find ways of suggesting use (wear, damage, repair?) as well as function.