We have all seen the arrows, X’s, dots and dashes springing up at our feet. These X’s and other notations are cautionary signs intended to advise where we should and should not be. Besides their everyday aesthetics of simplicity and improvisation, their sheer proliferation is hard to miss. Like some strange local positioning system or mark of a new situational awareness that we all need to adopt. Over time, some of them peel away or wear off as if to suggest things might soon return to ‘normal’, whatever that was. One day they will be gone – but the uncertainty of when remains their persistent subtext.
Atlas Everyday X is a photographic project recording the everyday archaeological ephemera of the COVID experience through a focus on social distancing floor-marks. Reflecting on how our encounters are shaped by new negotiations around space and bodily engagement, it is also expected to provide an opportunity for us to come together virtually and share our current experience. Part contemporary archaeology, part collaborative artwork, and part ongoing research into inscription practices, the Atlas invites us to reframe the signs of staying apart into a different way to connect.
Participants are invited to contribute their photographs of these notations and gestures via Direct Messenger to a dedicated Instagram account @atlas_everydayx for the duration of festivalCHAT (and beyond if interest and intrigue prevail). Along with the image, the Atlas asks for a brief description of the location (e.g. a café near Trafalgar Square, London, UK) and a note as to whether the photographer prefers to remain anonymous or to have their @ handle identified in any public post/display. By submitting images participants agree to the fact that it may be shared as a post on the Atlas Everyday X Instagram account. Images will be selected and featured in daily updates alongside the curator’s images of this phenomena.
The project responds to the global experiences of social distancing – and how digital media has sought to circumvent the restraints on movement and interpersonal contact. Depending on the uptake and submissions offered, a curated lo-fi publication of the Atlas may eventuate.
The Instagram toystage invites everybody to look into their home and find toys to recreate archaeologically themed photographs. In these days when we are confined to the home more than usual, we need to use our homes in new ways. With many people working from the home the border between work and play becomes thin. At the toystage this border is crossed by expressing archaeological practices, ideas and events through the use of toys. So we go beyond creating little excavations, although they are also welcome. In these times of isolation we want to return to what is familiar and social. And the toystage is certainly there to give joy and contentment. It is for all levels of toy and Instagram users and you can make a new account if you are not on this platform. Just post your photographs and if you want a small text during festivalCHAT and use the hashtags #toystage and #festivalCHAT2020 so everybody can enjoy your creations.
Post your contributions to Instagram: #toystage #festivalCHAT2020