Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Material?

Can I create a new material that is recyclable, non-composite, or renewable that shows wear, records use, or develops patina? This Eindhoven student created a new material, a 'yarn' from newsprint, to produce objects.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What is Wear?

A friend just told me about his father's truck. It has over 300,000 miles on it and a couple interesting wear marks on the interior from being used so much. The edge of the driver's side seat is rubbed bare from getting into the tall vehicle. Also, the middle section of the front bucket seat shows wear from the driver's arm resting there. These examples remind me that wear isn't just a recording of the object's life, but often is direct evidence of people's use, behavior, and interaction.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

In Search of Authenticity

In the Regina Bendix book, In Search of Authenticity, she writes, "Authenticity is generated not from the bounded classification of an other, but from the probing comparison between self and other, as well as between external and internal states of being."

According to her, authenticity isn't an objective characteristic, but a judgment made by each consumer if a product aligns with their belief system and identity.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Manufacturing Desire and Shaping Identity

I believe brands provide information to consumers and attempt to manufacture desire within them. Consumers choose, through purchase and use, to incorporate the associations, connotations, feelings, and status that they believe is conveyed by a brand within their own identity. Consumers use objects and possessions to communicate who they are to others and form their own self-image.

Personally, I am typically reluctant to own items that loudly advertise themselves, like a t-shirt with a massive Nike swoosh or glasses with a bold D&G on the temple. I sometimes remove labels that are visible even if I like the company, like the Coal winter hat I have. Most of the things I own are quiet self-advertisers, however, there are a few items that I don't mind having their logo showing, probably because I relate strongly to the company and product. For example, my Freitag bag and Sigg bottle both have branding visible, although relatively subtle, on their exterior. I imagine these brands closely align with who I think I am and how I want others to view me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

This book by Leonard Koren is a fantastic brief overview of the wabi-sabi aesthetic. I found the following excerpts particularly valuable and relevant.
Things wabi-sabi are expressions of time frozen. They are made of materials that are visibly vulnerable to the effects of weathering and human treatment. They record the sun, wind, rain, heat, and cold in a language of discoloration, rust, tarnish, stain, warping, shrinking, shriveling, and cracking. Their nicks, chips, bruises, scars, dents, peeling, and other forms of attrition are a testament to histories of use and misuse.
"Things wabi-sabi are appreciated only during direct contact and use."

And maybe most importantly, things wabi-sabi are simple: "Pare down to the essence, but don't remove the poetry."