‘These are stories about the space between rationality and reality, which in an industrial society have come to be synonymous’
Anthony Dunne, Hertzian Tails 1999
I had tried to explore speculation through experimental material research. Not to propose new materials to be used, but to give the existing material culture a sense of strangeness_by creating them out of odd materials. For instance, along with Conner Eastwood, we tried to use Ferro Fluid as wire coating. In my thoughts, this would have made the coating dance as the electricity alternates. Another experiment was conducted with Olivia Loannou, where we tried to create pottery out of dough. Unfortunately both of these experiments failed. However, I have continued to explore the notion of alternative presents, through the direct use of materials. I have made a series of vases out of silicon, expanding foam, and concrete.
During a field-based project, in collaboration with Lara Machado, we were focusing on bridging the gap between patients in the hospice and their family. We arrived at the idea of personalised telecommunication systems. Where the word personal doesn't refer to ownership, but incorporates a sentimental value imbedded in the object. A brief was made to propose a workshop regarding this, where we can help patients design their own version. Unfortunately, the proposal didn't go through. I then responded to the brief myself and made an alternative means of communication, in which the sensory of auditory was replaced with touch.
As a kid, my mom use to hold my hand when she took me out and she use to pinch my pinky; I hated it. I made a silicon cast of my pinky, which would hang on my mother’s key chain. This would function, using a Bluetooth low energy and a pressure-sensor, which where beyond my budget. If she squeezes the pinky, a signal is sent to my computer, reminding me to contact home.
At one point this year, I was investigating the role of buttons in ethical decision making situations and how they reduce moral responsibilities. Gregoire Chamayou wrote a fabulous book on this called the ‘Drone Theory’. As the result of my observation, I made a Human-Button. By bringing human values to the button, I was trying to reflect how inhuman it is to use drone’s in warfare. The button uses hall sensor to detect the finger approaching it and asks for mercy by yelling “Don’t!”. If the button is pressed, it will bleed. Perhaps this piece could be called a ‘para-functional’ object. Anthony Dunne coined this term in his book ‘Hertzian Tails’ defines it as, ‘a form of design where function is used to encourage reflection on how electronic products condition our behaviour’ [p.44]. He adds on, ‘the meaning behind the object is driven from ‘sense- function’, the objects make functional sense, but are still useless’
Imagine how different the city would have looked, if cars where replaced by jetpacks as the means of transportation. If you agree that replacing cars with jetpacks could transform the material culture, jobs and the infrastructure of the city, then you would agree that such products transcend beyond their physicality, as the result of being entangeled in the webs of a wider network.