Objects at Play Process


Objects at Play: Project Development

Process documentation of workshop project

Week 1

For my final deliverable, I intend to create a set of unusable objects. After research into the history, usage and social impact of the cutlery set, I wanted to create my own set that challenged what we the perceived and learned interaction. 

The fork, spoon and knife are associated with eating which is an essential part of human life. These tools have become extensions of the human body in order to achieve tasks in a civilized manner. 

By questioning what gives an object its function, I set out to create sets of cutlery that are "unusable."

Week 2

I plan to use 3D printing as the method of creating these objects. As it is my first time using this technology, I have researched into the facilities that I am able to use as well as software for rendering the designs.

Firstly, I sketched ideas about how these objects could be unusable while still recognizable. Using the elements and principles of design, I applied these properties to the structure of the objects. By reverse engineering these objects, I am allowing the users an opportunity to challenge the interactions that are often overlooked in day-to-day activities.

Week 3

Using the sketches as the guide, I created prototypes using modelling clay. This was a quick way to test these objects before I underwent the process of 3D printing them.

The work in progress document for weeks 1-3 can be found here.

Week 4

Scene from Disney's The Little Mermaid where Ariel asks Scuttle about what the objects she finds are for. This is an interesting perspective as I speculate about how new objects can be assessed from a new user's point of view. The result of my new objects will aim to have a similar response where users apply their own interpretations to the objects.

Lina Marie Koeppen's Learning to Unlearn project includes a series of ambiguous objects which provide its users the opportunity to use them as they see fit.

Week 5

"Exploring the relationships between everyday objects (utensils) and the body by challenging the point of interaction."

Reframing my thesis statement before moving forward with further explorations. 

Questions to be asked:

  • What is the independent variable and what is constant? The body or the object?
  • How does materiality affect usability?
  • How would these objects be used on a body part other than the hand?
  • How does the relationship of the objects existing as a set differ from its purpose independently?

This project is a self-reflective initiative that involves my interest and fascination with questioning the everyday. These questions aim to challenge existing behaviours and structures.

Week 6

This week I learned how to use SketchUp to create 3D objects. I modified existing utensil files to adhere to my sketches. My goal this week is to create the 3D files so that I can begin 3D printing next week.

Week 7-8

After working in SketchUp to create the 3D models, I found this process to be too tedious. My goal is to create objects that will be playful and thought provoking. At this point, I am changing my initial plans from 3D printing to manipulating plastic utensils. I have found that the process of melting, mending and gluing to be much more organic and true to the craft-like nature of my thesis. As I am studying my relationship to the objects, the process in making these new forms adds further significance to the final product.

I bought a variety of plastic utensils from the dollar store and began making new forms based on my previous sketches as well as spontaneously through the process of making.

Week 9

Made more objects.

Week 10

Photographed the objects in the studio with playful colour palette from visual essay gifs.

Week 11

My final deliverable is in the form of a book. I wanted to compile the essays I wrote in the beginning of the term with the images I took to give my project a narrative and an artifact that can be read and observed.

Week 12

Design statement:

This project investigates the relationship between everyday objects and the body, by challenging the point of interaction. Through a series of visual essays and original artifacts, I explored how human intentions can be altered to change meaning in interaction as well as how objects can be altered. By considering both ends of a product, I have discovered that meaning is assigned by both the designer and user.

My project does not aim to solve a specific “real-world” problem. Rather it provokes questions and contemplation about things in our lives that are often overlooked. By making the familiar strange, we allow ourselves to wonder why things are the way that they are and whether or not it has to stay that way. These questions are the first step in making valuable change possible.

Thank you Jamie for giving me the opportunity and guidance to create something that I am proud and happy to take away from my undergrad. Your encouragement and enthusiasm for design and design thinking will stay with me into my career and life as a designer.