As a whole my work engages in different modes of feedback between objects to redefine public and private space by infusing poetics into the everyday life. There is a lost sensibility to the physical due to the digital and I am interested in the tension between them. The work aims to change the atmosphere to which we see, think and imagine the physical spaces around us through these events. We forget that the biggest part of living is living through our imagination, to use the power of thought to create excitement, surprise and meaningful experience.
I use objects designed with a single purpose as a medium in my work because there is potential for these materials to become something special. I am interested in the arranging and blending of standard materials in different ways to give them new meaning, this new space that allows them to become something greater than what they are.
Standard objects and materials have this "untouched/touched" quality. There is this strange unconscious sensibility towards these objects because they are so familiar to us we forget that they even exist. And we forget this because they are "ordinary," "unexciting," and "un-special." Design today is the equivalent of the relationship we share with familiar objects. Design is all about achieving the "special" and rejecting what is normal. Designers are pushed into the competitive markets of trying to design things that are "special" and "stimulating" to avoid being "mediocre," "standard" or "normal." So designers lose a sensibility towards the potential of what familiar can provide. Aesthetics than become a priority and the rest is sort swept under the carpet.
And what this means is that we are very much an exterior culture. We are heavily influenced by what we see. A friend of mind once used the metaphor of an ice berg. Society is generally more interested in the surface, the small tip. The infrastructure, the guts, the methods, the decisions, all of these things are what make up the bottom of the ice berg but no one is interested to dive in and see what is keeping the tip breaking. But we should be interested in the tip and bottom of what we see.
Designing with with intention to be familiar is in one way less concerned with designing beauty and instead interested in playing out the raw relationship between materials and objects and the experiences they create. And it is here where beauty is not made but afforded through the careful fusing of these objects. And there is potential in framing ones design thinking and process around designing things that are normal and familiar and blending these things together in order to discover something newly engaging, poetic and beautiful.
Each of these projects were approached with its own poetic motivation, its own story that called on its own set of materials and technologies and environments to make these stories become realized. These interactions are mainly object to object relationships and rarely are they human to object.
Each experiment relies on its counterpart to initiate its communication to create feedback between the objects that then becomes the experience for the viewer. The interaction that takes place between the objects is the event intended to be observed, not to be participated. Before starting each of these projects that was always the position that was taken. The idea was that these objects were to be observed from a distance because of the environments that were created for these objects that were either desolate, remote or difficult to come by. The lights for instance are more responsive and controllable in a dark space with very little ambience. Therefore allowing the lights to live only at night is the more appropriate environment both for responsiveness and providing a level of surprise and poetics placed back into the everyday.
For this reason human interaction was not entirely considered as part of the physical experience because the mythos to which these objects belong is to share their own private ecology. But this is also due to how I have defined the role of interaction in these projects. Interaction design is typically associated with creating influenced or action based experiences that are either physical or digital. I define interaction as being in the middle between what is physical and what is digital, that being the imaginative. Each of these works engage in leveraging the imagination. I am designing stories and experiences that allow the viewer to use their imagination and thoughts to ignite a process to which these staged events come to life, and to me that is interaction. To create movement or to ignite a process in ones mind is the influence, is the transaction that is taking place.
Again, the viewer is merely a spectator and observer to the communication between objects. However, in reexamining the relationship between the spectator and the objects, it would be interesting if there were an added level of intelligence that could be applied to each project that could make the objects more aware and responsive to external influences that come in and out of their space. I would like to adopt the concept of what is beautiful is also threatening to further explore the interaction and tension between object and human. What interests me about this concept is that if these objects are only meant to be viewed from a distance and we are not allowed to intrude and wander through their space then what can I do to push the participant back into the role of being an observer.
And this theme is already present in some of the projects. For instance, "Soulmate" to an extent pushes the participant back into the role of observer by simply warning them off when they obstruct their communication. However, this tactic is not very threatening, it is irritating but not threatening. The rockets are probably the closest to reaching this high level of threat. From a distance they are beautiful to watch but if one were to get too close they can physically harm you (e.g., burn you, scrap you, hit you, tangle you up, etc.). My goal would be to in some way apply this very same level of threat and danger into each of these projects to fulfill this new motivation of what is beautiful is also threatening.
Much like nature itself. It is beautiful and powerfully magnificent and sublime, but it is also very viscous and volatile. Nature can hurt you if you become too comfortable and you get too close. For instance, seeing a tornado from a distance is an extraordinary event, we see its beauty and its destructive nature all at the same time, and for this reason do not wish to get any closer. We may imagine what it might feel like to run into a tornado but we understand the physical appendages if those actions were to be taken. In this same way, how can these objects elicit that same level of peace and destruction. To truly become these powerful forces of nature.
1. Louis Althusser. "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses." 2004.
2. Aristotle. "The Metaphysics." 1907.
3. Walter Benjamin. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." 1936.
4. Joseph Campbell. "The Power of Myth." 1988.
5. C.S. Lewis. "The Shape of His Faith and Thought." 1976.
6. Gustave Flaubert. "Madame Bovary." 1902.
7. Henrik Ibsen. "The Wild Duck." 1918.
8. Jacques Lacan. "The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis." 2004.
9. Friedrich Nietzsche. "On Truth and Lying in an Extra-moral Sense." 1873
10. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. "Formalisms." 2004.
11. Slavoj Žižek. "The Sublime Object of Ideology." 1997.