Critical Approaches to Culture + Communications

A Weblog by Ron Burnett (Founded in 1994 and now celebrating 23 Years!!)

This site began as one of the first academic sites in Canada when the World Wide Web was in its early phase of development. I have maintained it through many iterations since 1994.

Object Connections (Part 2)

by Hélène Day Fraser

(This is the second in a series of research projects being developed by Graduate Students at Emily Carr Institute.)

Just as materials offer potent stimuli to the design process so does insight into the aspects of an individuals being: intellect, imagination, sensitivity and will (Fuad-Luke, Slow Design 2). I will consider this insight as I collect information concerning human interactivity with objects, while using methods inherent in the industrial design process. A range of individuals will be given a series of creative projects designed to source information on the objects they treasure, the objects they dispose off, the manner in which they arrange objects within personal spaces and the spaces in which they take the time to stop and reflect. The finished projects and the responses of participants will be analyzed and evaluated. A process of sorting, elimination and mapping will clarify my understanding of real peoples’ experiences and relationship to objects and serve as a catalyst to the creative process of design. The process of designing and critiquing of ideas will be an ongoing one and involve the collaboration with graphic designer and fellow Masters student Jaime Barrett; along with other designers and professionals in craft based fields, the visual arts, mixed media and computational arts.

An integral part of my studies at Emily Carr is a four-month internship program designed to further my background in my areas of interest and facilitate new professional connections. My intention is to split this internship program into two parts, beginning with a four-week internship working with a company within the domain of intelligent textiles in Europe or the United States. This will be followed by a three month period of work within a Vancouver based design firm with strong international ties. Additionally I will attend state-of-the-art conferences, based in the areas of craft and smart materials technology; 2007 Canadian Year of the Craft, Worlds Thread Festival, New Craft-Future Voices International Conference, Connecting’07 World Design Congress, Wired Next Fest ’07.

The project will conclude with an installation piece using the objects created and the facilities available within Emily Carr’s new Intersections Digital Studio. The objective of this final piece is two fold: i) to place the observer in a situation where they can re-evaluate their relationship to a series of objects; and ii) to track their subsequent interaction with these objects within a defined space. This study will provide provocation, allowing people to reassess their relationship to the tactile world. Comprehending this person-space-object relationship and placing it into the context of slow time and the need for reflection will facilitate designs which people will be able to interact with in a new meaningful manner. The objects I create through the partnership of recycled materials, interactive textiles and traditional craftsmanship will act as sustainable design solutions. The nature of the materials used will serve as catalysts for further discussions around the role technological development can play within the context of sustainability.


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