Articles with tag: material culture

10/31/2023 _Perspective

Misunderstanding Familiar Objects in an Imagined Future

A Critical Method for Discovery

1_Photo Essay of the Discovery Fig. 1: View of mountain formations surrounding First Mellissaa, where bears have first rights Fig. 2: The peak of First Mellissaa on day 53,084, seen from the access point to the protected zone Fig. 3: View of the side of First Mellissaa, past the midpoint stone where tree cover protects ground-life from the sun Fig. 4: First sighting of the discovery Fig. 5: View two of the discovery Fig. 6: View three of the discovery Fig. 7: View four of the discovery Fig. 8: View five of the discovery 2_Research Journal 3_Misunderstanding Familiar Objects in an Imagined Future: A Critical Method for Discovery Familiarity and habit lead but also limit human understanding of how objects impact people and places. A bottle opener is just a bottle opener. An artificial plant is just an artificial plant if it remains in expected spaces and functions as intended. This tenet forms the foundation of Thing Theory and opens the door for intentional breakage as a method for engaging readers in a deeper understanding of the objects that surround them every day. [1] Moreover, if the production and uses of objects “illuminate their human and social context,” as Arjun Appadurai and contemporary material culture studies theorize, intentional breakage also reveals something about readers themselves. [2] This proposal—that defamiliarization creates new perceptions of objects and humans—underpins this multi-media project that employs deliberate misunderstanding to encourage readers to discover the interaction of design, environment, and society. Through the playful use of time and format, this project crafts a novel perspective on ordinary objects and the society that produced them. It centers around a fictional researcher in the 23rd century who discovers a trove of objects used in the early 21st century in present-day Allgäu, Germany. These objects include a plastic plant, a toilet brush, a clothespin, a clothes hanger, a stuffed animal, a bottle opener, and a bag. The researcher exists in an imagined future where humans respect their limitations and live within a delicate ecosystem without attempting to shape organic entities to their will. This society resulted from rebuilding efforts after a series of catastrophes, most notably a solar flare on August 16, 2055, that ended the memory and utility of digital technology. This history slowly unravels through a fictional research journal and a photo essay. The journal contains notes, sketches, and commentary from the researcher who has discovered and…

05/30/2016 _Perspective

Design and Modeling as Processes of Creating Culture

In the framework of the investigation into “Research as Art” by research area ‘Visual and Material Culture,’ Prof. Claudia Mareis (Basel) and Dr. Reinhard Wendler (Florence) hosted a two-day workshop on “Designing Models, Modelling Design” (February 3–4, 2016). In the workshop, the concepts of ‘design’ and ‘model’ served as semantic vehicles for a discussion on the temporal and material character of meaning-making. As ideas, both can foster an interdisciplinary analysis of emerging cultural phenomena, transcending disciplinary boundaries in academia as well as those between different fields of cultural reflection, social planning, and material production (such as architecture or engineering). The workshop revolved around the central notion that the creation of objects and images during modeling and design processes can fulfill a multitude of different functions: as means of representation, ideation, planning, or communicating ideas, they shape historically specific emergences of cultural phenomena. …

05/30/2016 _Perspective

Shake Those Methods!

The Art of Doing Research

In the winter term 2015/16, the GCSC research area ‘Visual and Material Culture’ held a number of meetings on the application of the research methodology while conducting research in the study of culture. As the immediacy of practical application of the research methods leaves a strong imprint on the ideas and knowledge that appear in academia, we wanted to report on our discussions in the light of the theoretical concept of ‘emergence.’ …

05/30/2016 _Perspective

Research Design

The explorative potential of research-planning processes in visual and material culture

The first session of the Creative Emergence of a Research Method series was dedicated to thinking about research processes and their design. The non-planned potential knowledge, emerging during those processes (also while reflecting on the research design process itself) became a central topic. It was a provocative session in which we took the abstract notion of ‘design’ as the ‘rituals of creativity’ and compared research design to object- or service-design processes. …

05/30/2016 _Perspective

Curating as Research

In recent years, curating seems to have become a flourishing practice; everything seems to be curated today: meals, music, marriage ceremonies. But beyond these inflationary uses, the professional curation of museums, exhibitions, or collections has also received increased attention — the arena where curating as research and means in the production of knowledge comes to the fore. University courses in traditional curating are booming, but there is little academic literature on the subject, and it often remains vague as to what the role of the curator and their methods and repertoire of tools might look like. For me as an artist, curator, and academic, but also for the research area ‘Visual and Material Culture,’ these questions, as well as how curatorial practice relates to academic work, are of central concern. …