A diary inscribed in stone – co-creating objects for interaction


In Portugal, the Storytooling co-creation workshop started from the theme “the beauty of destruction” to work on the heritage and landscape of the marble mines in Alentejo, and create narratives to raise awareness for environmental conservation and sustainable tourism.

The 5 days programme, facilitated by artist Rui Horta Pereira, dealt with the invention, study, and development of an object for interacting with others, an object designed for others, proposing that its final execution would be defined from a set of suggestions presented and explored during the programme.

A mandatory reference for the realisation of ideas was the material from the territory, of which there are many leftovers resulting from extraction, the marble. We visited a quarry with the challenge: to refine our gaze and make choices in potential photographic captures, focusing on details, wide shots, fragments, and combinations of light and shadows. We tried to find an idea, a story, a personal memory related to stones. Each one of the participants carried out a graphic rehearsal on this theme, developing it freely. The goal was to visually locate and materialise what, until that moment, was only in personal thought, acting creatively.

The idea of connection was a subject we proposed for reflection. Together with Rui, participants have created a connectable postcard – starting from reference images, carving and engraving by abrasion on glass plates of equal dimensions – where the whole forms a pattern. They also revisited personal stories for a direct experimentation on stone. Using cut vinyl and a selection of graphic elements from the personal stories of the group, they etched with acid different marbles in various shapes. This work was crucial for the development of what would be produced later as prototypes.

The last day of the co-creation workshop was a day of systematisation, fine-tuning, and choosing what would constitute the prototype. Participants repeated processes, carried out actions, and executed tasks using digital tools, and establishing a connection with the potential of _ARTERIA_LAB machines, more specifically with the laser engraver. This machine would prove to be the preferred tool for realizing our idea of an image puzzle engraved on a cubic volume of stone, as well as for defining part of the other prototype, a set of combinable elements also engraved in stone but using acid.