Constellation Week 2: Provocation


I struggled keeping focus with this lecture because I had just landed in the UK after a 12 hour flight.

Tonkinwise’s ‘design away’ theory outlines the fact that in the process of designing something, there is the intention to make something go away, whether concious or not. For example, when designing something to improve the lives of humans, if it is good then it will render other things that were used previously obsolete. The biggest perpetrator of this are large companies that produce gadgets and fashion, as they produce new items with the intention of making the customers buy new things and throw away the old things.

No act of creation is done without an act of destruction: In order for something to be made, materials are needed, and they have to come from somewhere. A tree is felled to make a table, iron ore is excavated to become  a computer. This is not wrong inherently, it is the amount of material that is wasted in the process that is the problem, and also the fact that we as humans forget that the tree was being used before we needed it, by birds and bugs and other creatures.

Every thing, even man-made things, do not exist in a vacuum. Similar to Ingold’s threads concept, everything is linked together, needing other objects to function correctly.

During the lecture as groups we were given an object and told to map out it’s life world, its history and uses, and interactions with other things. We were given a silk scarf, and we detailed its origins- silkworm pupae- and the dye, the machines used to weave it, the transport used to carry it, and the people that wear it.

Uexkull used a tree to describe the theory that past experiences are important in how we recognise things. A lumberjack might only see a tree as something to be cut down, but a little girl might look into the gnarled bark and see a scary face, meanwhile a squirrel sees ‘home’. We were asked to use this way of thinking to imagine how our object might be understood by something that isn’t human.

The last thing we touched upon was Imoto’s theory that water senses emotions or feelings as vibrations, and when it freezes these intentions can be visible. It would have held more credibility if he hadn’t brought religious ideas into it.


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