Bags as boundary objects
Dina’s generous interest in this project is multisided, and we started our conversation with her suggestion to think about bags as ‘boundary objects’. We returned to this issue at the end of our conversation. For Dina, this association between a concept that is very important for her dissertation and our request to participate in our bags project was a very stimulating one. In a small, concrete way, it gave a new dimension to her connection to work going on at the Studio. Reflecting on ‘bags as boundary objects’, Dina suggests that this might be a useful way to think about the work that bags do, as helping to move between social worlds. But, she also wonders, is the concept of boundary object useful when the boundaries are being crossed by a single person? Is the concept most useful when the work to be done involves multiple actors?
Dina’s Big Bag
The first thing that one notices about Dina’s bag is that it’s big and bright. We tried to make a photo that would capture the full volume of the bag and its huge potential for expansion.
It’s a bag that gets used for carrying work attributes, like papers and books, and a laptop (when it’s working) but also serves to carry water bottles or purchases, or to transport groceries bought on the way home. For Dina, this is THE bag—it accommodates all bag needs. Anything fits in there, and she therefore doesn’t have to bother thinking through which bag to use. This is it!
She bought her bag (like Ernst) in the US, during a stay of a few months there in 2005. This may explain why the bag seems to be a bit of a hybrid between a work bag and a piece of luggage. This bag was something of an ‘investment’ and the quality of this bag is much higher than the succession of cheaper bags she had before. She enjoys that it is a backpack, rather than a sling/shoulder bag. If the bag is especially heavy, she may strap it on to her bicycle, but otherwise she carries it on her back. It doesn’t bother her that she has to take the bag off her back to access its contents (for example to grab a bus ticket).
Dina is working at the Studio for a few months, writing her Masters dissertation. This also affects how the bag is used. In Denmark where she was a student, she didn’t have an office and therefore didn’t carry things to an office, but only to classes. Sometimes things remain in the bag and make ‘extra’ trips before they get unpacked at the appropriate location.