The exploit activity concerns the way objects from one or more collections can be manipulated and combined in innovative ways in order to unlock them from their containers, to bring them to life, and to enable owners to enjoy their collections as much as possible. In exploiting a collection, the owner may have some interesting experiences, and other people may get to enjoy the results.
The best way to get started on this activity is to explore and experiment with your materials – particularly those physical objects that you have just digitised and are about to throw away. Since you are going to dispose of the items anyway, it doesn’t matter what you do with them. Creating a collage is one of the simplest things you can make – follow this link for an example using doodles. Other things you can do are draw, or paint, or sculpt, or write, or whatever you’re inspired to try out – since this is essentially a private activity it doesn’t matter what talents you think you have or haven’t got. After you’ve finished you can either keep what you’ve made, or photograph it and throw it away, or just throw it away.
Once you have an established collection of digital objects, perhaps accompanied by some physical equivalents as well, you are able to continue to explore and experiment as and when you like. Although you do not have any unwanted physical objects that can be used, you can still reproduce the digital objects in the form of printed pages or photos for use in your exploitation projects – as in this collage using photos of T-Shirts. At some point, however, you may wish to share your objects with your family and friends (if you are not already doing so in your choice of storage – see U5.5], and to do this you can create displays of the items in a variety of different ways. An obvious mechanism is a display case, or a shelf in a display case, in which you can rotate a subset of your items for a period of time. You can also make up displays to go on a notice board, or to be mounted in a reusable frame and hung on a wall. The beauty of notice board or framed displays is that they can combine words and pictures to be interesting, informative, humorous – anything you want. For example, I’ve often thought it would be interesting to construct a framed display with pictures of all the houses we have lived in surrounded by information and pictures of key events that happened to the family in each house. Another example is a collage in which I placed thumbnails of all the posters, pictures and paintings that we have around the edges to emphasis the fact that the frame is intended to house a rotating display of posters and pictures.
Displays are relatively simple things to assemble. However, there is also huge scope for exploiting your collection to produce much more sophisticated artefacts. Under this heading are included things like photobooks, posters, greeting cards, printed T-Shirts, printed cushions, printed mugs etc.. All of these things and more are easily and cheaply obtained over the net. Since you have the digital objects, you already have the raw materials ready to manipulate and create the images and words of your choice. For example, a few years ago I had a mug for Father’s day produced on which was included an enlarged and cropped picture of both of us at my 21st; and more recently I have framed posters of the books I have digitised. Of course, photobooks (and ordinary books which can also be produced over the net) offer substantially more scope for creating much more complicated works. For example, this photobook includes items from a lifetime of work experiences. Of course, if you really like books, you could go so far as to attend a book binding course and create and bind a book from scratch as in this example of a book of a record collection.
Since one of the main aims of having collections is to enjoy them, it is also worth considering using them to create things specifically designed for enjoyable entertainment – games and quizzes. Collections can contain many objects which are known to the family, and can therefore be used to construct a game around (such as a monopoly-type game with the streets the family has lived on and chance and community cards of events that happened to the family), or straightforward quizzes, or more complicated puzzles or treasure hunts.
The above discussion has described just a few of the ways in which you can bring your collections to life, and perhaps help to enhance your enjoyment of the items they contain. I’d recommend you trying out some of them just to see if you enjoy it or not. However, there is one other thing you might want to do with your collections that needs to be included here for completeness, and that is transfer them to someone else. The recipient might be a family member or friend, or some other individual or organisation. Whoever it is, you will probably be wanting to make sure that the items go to a good home where they will be appreciated and used and exploited by somebody else.