Initial Design

I spent the weekend developing the system and designing the look of my categorising machine. Because the questions i want to ask are subjective and in sequence, it was really difficult to place them correctly to come out with cohierent categories- especially as there is cross questioning (some answers can take you off course to another flow of questions). I also was aware that the questions had to be completely relevant or all the objects would fail to categorise every time. I found this- which really helped me decide on the questions.

Plutchik's Wheel of emotions


at the moment the machine consists of a flat piece of wood with shelves.  The shelves have holes so that the user can place the object in the holes of the coresponding answer. They follow the arrows through the process until the item lands in one of the bags at the bottom these become the categories. the middle bag will be the fail category- i will then make things wit these items.


first draft of the categorisation machine



Just a quick word about tea. I know its not a big thing over here, and if i couldn’t find it at all I’d understand- but the Green Bean cafe down the road sells it but it is so weak. It is so so weak. Its like being given a galaxy wrapper to suck on rather than the chocolate bar. I have a take away cup of it sitting here to my left, and its mocking me. Its the kind of weak that when you put a teaspoon of milk into it turns transparent white. gross. My new mission is to find proper tea.


I was quietly hoping i would get on well with the artists and staff here. I figured-that anyone who gravitates towards this place would have to be like-minded and therefore my kind of person. I prepared myself for a solitary experience, just in case i didn’t fit in at all.

Luckily everyone here is friendly and funny, intelligent, socially, culturally and politically aware; very well-rounded people in short. Also very capable, there are severally carpenters and builders here who have built the most amazing things out of collection* wood and metal. The calm dedication of the staff here is really inspiring. There are so many things that could have happened to this place that would have seen the collection* scattered to the wind. Yet they are drawing people in to the museum, sustaining this unique environment and allowing it to be cared for in a creative way.

I think humor is a great bonding tool so i was very pleased to discover there are a few of people here who are big fans of Spaced, the IT crowd, Fry & Laurie, the Young Ones, Peep Show etc… I have laughed loads since I’ve been here, and feel very comfortable in their company.

*collection  Everything that was hoarded by Sylvia is refered to as collection, and therefore commands the utmost respect from the user. This could be anything from a WWII bomber fuselage to a plastic food bag full of broken plastic. (these are both here)


Project Proposal

I presented my project idea to the Elsewhere staff this morning for approval. A few details have changed by luckily they are happy for me to go ahead with it! here it is…

Nicola Winstanley- Proposal Working title: Definite Articles. 14th Sept- 11th October

Inspiration: While snooping around the top level I came across Jeremiah sorting through boxes and wondering what to do with the scraps of paper, bits of broken plastic and ceramic. I recognised his innate feeling of frustration in not being able to categorize these pieces. When I asked Jeremiah what he was planning to do with the uncategorizable items he said he didn’t know- they would probably go back into boxes. I think this is an opportunity to substantiate these objects, and create a space where people can come in the future to seek affirmation about ambiguous items.

Categorization: It is human nature to categorize. This is how we learn as children and how we make sense of the world around us. Categorization is the process in which ideas and objects are recognised, differentiated and understood. Category illuminates a relationship between the subjects and objects of knowledge. Categorising is an essential process at Elsewhere.

Inquiry: I would like to extrapolate the instantaneous process our brains perform when we see an object- particularly an ambiguous scrap or shard. When we fail to group an object with others, or cannot see its place amongst the collection, I would like to create new methods of recognition. To force-categorise the uncategorisable.

Stage 1: I would like to build a filtering system, where objects will be placed into/onto the structure and scrutinised in terms of their danger level, emotional resonance, perceived gender, etc. The use of subjective questions like ‘perceived gender’ will hopefully make for some interesting groupings. The user will use their own judgement for each filtering level to move the object on to the next question. The new categories will then be displayed in the museum space and hopefully will make it easier to place ambiguous objects in the future. There will always be the option ‘none’ for objects to move down the system. The items that have been decided as ‘none’ all the way down the system have failed to categorise and will move on to stage 2.

Stage 2: Forced categorisation. -Desperate categorisation. In an attempt to find meaning and a place for everything that has failed to be categorised, as a last resort they are turned into definite articles. For example: a bag of dust fails to be categorised. I could then form a cup and saucer out of the dust so it can be observed as a cup and saucer and processed as kitchenware. The dust will then be displayed with the cups and saucers.

Questions to be explored:

  • In my work I usually select sections of materials and build     something preconceived. What if the materials dictated the outcome?
  • What is the most effective method of filtering the objects?
  • When an item breaks or tears, why do we feel the need to put them back together?
  • What criteria does it take to invent a new system of categorization?
  • Will the new categories be adopted by the museum?

Location: I would like to use the document room up on the top level. I think the location is ideal for this experiment. Here I am close to the boxes I saw Jeremiah sorting through, and materials for building. The room already has the feel of a place for administration, for sorting and documenting. Also. I like the idea that when a person down in the museum encounters an object they would like to recategorize they would have to make a sort of pilgrimage all the way up to the top level, passing by everything and their categories before they can perform their task. The force-categorised items will be displayed with their likenesses in the museum.

Materials: I expect it would involve some wood and tubing possibly. Also some clear plastic or glass containers for the newly categorised items. Then some shelves to display the categorised items on.

Shaddow Painting

A little shaddow painting i did yesterday.

with still life

i set up a still life, shone a light onto it and painted the shaddow.





My desk is oposite that girl, she's a new resident too. in the library





the hall on the 1st floor




part of the library



this is a room full of ribbons, and its not a small room. Its a great place to go and sit.


this is so clever, i'm going to do this at home.


the kitchen is amazing. Anyone is free to help themselves, including visitors to the museum.


my bedroom, which i share with two other girls. Its really beautiful- but shabby, lovely shabby.