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Jason Lee Starin

JP Reuer

MFA AC&D 671 Practicum 1

20 December 2010

Virtual Objects and Knowing

Physical reality is made of material and form. Material and form also make objects.

Objects are often ascribed meaning through symbolism. These symbolic objects become objects

of identity. Objects then, are meaningful because they are symbols of our physical reality.

Material and form are also factors that are conditional to the craftsman's sensibilities experienced

in hands-on making. His experience in making is the link to his identity based in physical

reality.

Virtual reality, a creation of man-kind, possess conditions similar albeit abstracted from

the qualities of knowing physicality. The experience of interacting with an immaterial and

formless reality will have an effect on our sensibilities of knowing what an object is. This in

turn, will influence and change the meaning we ascribe to objects. Furthermore, the craftsman’s

experience in making will also change. His identity will be conditional to the intangible qualities

of the virtual.

In order to have a fuller understanding of the meaning derived from objects, first, I will

look at the important factors which are conditional to their physicality and how we know them.

The materialistic, formal, and symbolic qualities of the physical object, which are also relative to

physical reality, will each be explored taking into consideration aspects of possible virtual

implications.
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Secondly, I will discuss how I plan on displaying these concepts for my

practicum. As with any tool, digital technologies have affects on the things craftsmen make.

These tools change the notion of value found in the hand-made and therefor how the objects are

understood themselves. Yet, digital tools also invite possibilities in form which go beyond

imaginations and techniques based in physical reality. Visually representing the object, both in

physical and virtual formats shown at the same time, may create a transformative experience to

help the viewer understand this ambiguous situation we find ourselves currently living in.

Metamorphic material qualities of the ceramic object as well as interaction through presence,

will be used to serve as a transitional experience for understanding our existence in these dual

realities.

Knowing an object’s material can be understood when in the act of making it. Richard

Sennett in his book The Craftsman, calls these sensitivities our material consciousness

(119-120). Sennett, a sociologist, explains that we have established our physical consciousness

through the manipulation of material. Our intrigue with material is sustained when it goes

through the process of change. Sennett states that change happens in three ways. When material

changes through metamorphosis, when it is a recording of the maker’s presence, and when it

becomes anthropomorphized. The craftsman utilizes all three of these methods of material

consciousness when in the act of making, but for the purpose of this paper I would like to focus

on metamorphosis and presence.

Metamorphosis, can be broken down into three separate categories of change. This is

described by Sennett as type-form, joining, and domain shift. Type-form means something can

change within it’s own species. Mutation for instance, is an example of type-form
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metamorphosis. Joining a combination of two or more forms together is also considered a way

material changes in a metamorphic manner. Processes relating to chemistry, such as making

compounds and mixtures are examples of joining. Domain shift, Sennett states, “...refers to how

a tool initially used for one purpose can be applied to another task, or how the principle guiding

one practice can be applied to quite another activity” (127-128). For example, the technique of

mortise-and-tenon joinery in ship building, derived from a seemingly different technique all

together, that of the cloth join of warp and woof used in weaving, is an example of a technical or

skill based domain shift.

Shifting the domain of a principle beyond its original intention, can be seen in the

creation of the virtual environment. The technical understanding of our material world, the

principle of physics, shifted domains when we created the conceptualization of it, that which we

call a virtual reality. Our previous knowledge of physicality helped us to formalize the idea of a

virtual object. Even though material objects do not exist in virtual reality, a vocabulary based in

the previous principles of physics and material consciousness had to be utilized in order to create

it. The physical world served as an educational matrix of which to conceptualize the virtual

world from. Due to which, we refer to the Internet, the title we have come to know as our virtual

reality, as a thing or place, even though it is not made of any material thing at all.

Presence, another way material consciences is achieved, can be described as the recorded

marks of the maker. Clay captures the makers presence with the slightest of touch. This hands-

on experience is a direct record of the craftsman’s sensibilities gained when working with

material and form.


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Presence, I would argue, is also an aspect of our virtual understanding. No longer a

condition of material manipulation, many Internet based social networks, for example, thrive on

the recorded presence of people leaving messages to others even in their absence. Through text

and saving, virtual reality records the marks of the maker.

Material consciousness coincides with the concept of entropy. Based on the second law

of thermodynamics, a foundation of physics, and according to psychologist Mihaly

Csikszentmihalyi in The Evolving Self, this law states that “every system tends to decay into

simpler forms. Mountain ranges turn into desert plains, burning stars freeze, great geniuses turn

into indifferent ash” (152). Because we know decay and death, we know the meaning of

material in the present moment. This natural process, i.e. metamorphosis, is what initiates our

material consciousness, i.e. connection, with material in the present moment. Our experience

and interaction with material in the here and now, is important because we know that in time, the

same material will no longer have the same qualities or characteristics later. Material has

meaning because we know that we have limited moments of experiencing it in its present state.

Objects also have meaning to us when considered for their physicality recognized in

form. Physical form gives us information that digitally based information forms do not. Form

has meaning and functions because it defines space and has tactility. The relationship between

form and space creates an experience for the viewer. According to Nathan Shedroff, author of

Experience Design, the meaning in experiences directly relates to objects and how people

interact with them (see fig. 1).


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Fig . 1. Experience Design, then is an approach that integrates all of the above, according to Shedroff.

(http://www.nathan.com/thoughts/newmethods/5e.html-.)

“People find meaning in experiences and things based on a wide variety of personal values. That

people find meaning in things is, perhaps, the only constant that can be relied upon. To this end,

it’s important to design experiences so that audiences or participants can find meaning in them

by making connections to their own lives and values - that is, if we want these experiences to

have lasting impact” (122).

Shedroff further explains, “Meaning is often built by objects and experiences that allow

us to grow or experience intense emotions. Not every experience should, necessarily, have this
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as a goal but, often, the distinction of a successful or memorable experience is that it transforms

us or makes us feel something. Artifacts of an experience (physical objects from the experience

that serve as reminders of what we experienced, such as photographs and souvenirs) become

valuable to us because they serve to remind us and help us relive those experiences” (122).

From an art installation point of view, Brian O’Doherty states in Inside the White Cube

the Ideology of the Gallery Space, that Kurt Schitters’ Merzbau is a combination of design,

sculpture, and architecture; nullifying the disciplines individually, in order to create one

experience through form by redefining space (43-45). An installation art pioneer, Kurt

Schwitters’ Merzbau is a leading example of creating a designed experience. Begun in 1923 in a

residential dwelling, the interior of the installation is a floor to ceiling three diminutional collage.

It is an assemblage of everyday construction materials he found in the city of Hanover, Germany.

Again, by re-designing livable space through the manipulation of architecturally standardized

forms, such as walls and floors, the Merzbau challenges our notion of livable space when re-

interpreted thought the use of varying objects, each considered for their unique forms (see fig. 2).
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Fig. 2. Kurt Schwitters. Merzbau, Hanover, 1923-36 (c.1933)

Marcel Duchamp takes this one step further in the context of the art exhibition. His Mile

of String installation for the 1942 Surrealist retrospective curated by Andre Breton in New York,

entangles the entire room, paintings and all, in a web of string (O’Doherty, 69). Doing so made

the viewing of the work nearly impossible as it limited the space the viewer can access. With

this simple gesture, Duchamp once again negates the intention of a thing, this time the gallery

space, by limiting it’s function, again with the formal qualities of a mere string (see fig. 3).
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Fig. 3. Marcel Duchamp. Mile of String, 1942.

Reconditioning the roles of form and space is applicable to understanding the constructs

of virtual reality. Hugh Davis in Blurring the Boundaries, states of the gallery installation work

by Anish Kapoor is an example of just that. The artist “revealed his shift in interest from the

exterior surfaces of objects to their dematerialized interiors, and from monolithic objects to

installations that physically intervene and transform architectural space.” (Davis, 8). When I am

Pregnant, Endless Column, and The Earth, the three main works in the exhibition, are forms

themselves, but asks the viewer to consider the objects relationship with the space they share.

For instance, When I am Pregnant is a large, perfectly rounded bump protruding from what

appears behind the surface of one of the galleries walls into the viewers space (see fig. 4). A

space which the viewer assumes as a given condition of what a gallery is supposed to be; a
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formless void of which to display art objects unequivocally. By being made of the same material

of the wall, that of plaster and white wall paint, Kappor’s piece challenges the relationship of

form and space; it merges the two into one thing, one experience. What is questioned is no

longer the art object singularity, but rather the relationship between form and space as

inseparable entities. By blurring the form and space relationship physically, the content which is

normally associated with their original roles of one defining the other, also blurs. This

ambiguous condition found in the installation experience is similar to the virtual experience as it

is also not defined by one entity of physicality defining a role for another physical entity.

Formlessness cannot define space.

Fig. 4. Anish Kapoor. When I am Pregnant, 1992.


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Form also has meaning because it possess tactile information that virtuality does not

have. Sherry Turkle in Evocative Objects, describes architect Susan Yee’s essay The Archive, as

a “narrative (which) captures an anxiety that digital objects will take us away from the body and

it’s ways of understanding” (325). While studying the physical paper blueprints, drawings, and

handwritten notes of Le Corbusier in Paris in the mid-1990’s, Yee becomes intimately aware of

the designer’s successes and frustrations. This experience of not only witnessing, but touching

the smudges, fingerprints, and dirt that these articles held, encourages her own identification as

an architect. Meaning is established through the interaction with the physical objects. After days

of pouring over these inspiring objects, the curator of La Foundation Le Corbusier informs Yee

that they are archiving everything into a digital database. In one single measure, the tactile

information that made Yee’s experience with the physical objects so meaningful is erased.

Devoid of it’s dirtiness, texture, and dimension the digital process has turned the qualitative

material aspects of presence and time into an irregular image; accessible where ever and when

ever by anyone. When the archive became digitized, Yee experienced a loss to her connection to

Le Corbusier. Having experienced the work digitally, Yee says, “It made the drawings feel

anonymous” (324). Furthermore, the digital experience made Yee feel anonymous.

Turkle compares Yee’s plight to the work of philosopher, Jacques Derrida. He states the

converting of the physical to the virtual is “transforming the entire public and private space of

humanity” (324). Turkle explains, “...any archive is a selection of material that erases what has

been excluded - the digitized archive goes a step further. Its virtuality insures another level of

abstraction between its users and what has been selected” (324).
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As the object loses it’s physical form when virtually transformed, it also changes in

meaning for us. Near the end of her essay, Yee acknowledges that digital technologies have

instructional opportunities, yet subjectively, they pose larger psychological issues concerning

identity. I feel that the closing questions of Yee’s essay stem from an anxiety that I too share

when considering the implications of a formless virtual reality.

“...what will these technologies do to us? How will they affect the way we feel, see ourselves,

and see design? What will (technologies that lack time and place) do to our emotional

understanding of the human process of design? What rituals might we invent to recover the

body’s intimate involvement with these new traces of human imagination? Will we be able to

feel the human connection through digital archives? Will we care?” (35).

Stefano Marzano in The New Everyday - Views on Ambient Intelligence, shares a visual

description of the new physical reality to come as influenced by the formless values of the

Internet. Marzano states, “Ambient Intelligence can, to a degree, be thought of as an enabling

and an extension of the Internet. This amorphous, networked technology is already breaking

down the barriers of time and space” (46). He further describes a typical household now void of

its black boxes; suggesting our contemporary appliances like televisions and computers will soon

be obsolete. Instead, our traditional, unintelligent objects will be infused with hidden

technologies, thus rendering them “subjects, active and intelligent actors in our

environment” (46). By eliminating more material objects from our physical existence, he

suggests that we will live with less obtrusive junk. Marzano suggests that by embedding
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technology into the objects we do need, such as chairs, tables, and beds, we still hold onto our

cultural values of information, communication, and entertainment. By this consideration,

Marzano suggests that objects in the future will have meanings dependent only on there utility

and nothing more. Virtual content then becomes not specific to form, but to value. Meaning, if

the physical reality of tomorrow is an extension of the formless content that makes up the

Internet, then the objects of the future will possess de-formed ambiguities in meaning as we

know them today.

By having a fuller awareness of material and form, we can further consider the physical

object for it’s symbolic meanings. Symbolism can be created in a different ways. The symbolic

object creates meaning through hierarchy, though the shift from the functional to the conceptual

when utilized for intentions beyond it’s original purpose, as well as thought transitional objects

of memory.

The power of symbolism can be used to establish a persons hierarchy amongst others. An

object which has been excessively elaborated on in design, exchanges functionality for the

symbology of power. David Summers’ Real Spaces, gives us this example, “The king’s

ceremonial sword is not the sharpest, but rather the most elaborate and therefore the most

representational of power; the goal of its making is not efficiency relative to a function but

efficacy in relation to a special, higher purpose” (90). Through decoration, the sword becomes

the symbol of power, making it no longer a function of its form. An object still made from the

same material and technique of it’s functional predecessor now holds meaning it previously did

not. Through symbolism, an aspect of hierarchy as represented in the object, which now sets an

authoritative relationship between the user and the witness. Here, we see that the symbolic
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object has relied on the intention of it’s functional predecessor, but has gained a new meaning.

Stripping away functionality and replacing it with elaborative elements, suggests that the holder

of the symbolic object is also special. The holder, like the elaborative object, is intended for a

higher purpose greater than the person who uses the standardized functional form. This approach

to object as symbol, is similar to the understanding of our virtual reality. It was created with the

objectified sensibilities of the functional physical world, but serves as it’s own entity; a symbol

of our physical understanding.

In another example of symbology, Howard Risatti in A Theory of Craft, explains the

difference between an objects function and its use (23-28). A utilitarian device has an

intentionally designed purpose, it’s function, but anything with a certain amount of weight could

also be a paper weight, thus considering it for it’s use. For instance, a teacup is crafted to hold a

hot beverage, but a person could also use it to hold down loose papers. By doing so, we consider

the object for the other qualities it possesses. As a hollow vessel, the teacup is one thing, as an

object of mass, it is another.

The notion of Marcel Duchamp’s readymade is similar to the differences between

function and use. A coat rack screwed to a wall has the function of holding up articles of

clothing. The same wooden plaque with hooks attached to it, when affixed to the floor, becomes

a wonderfully inventive trip hazard, or in his case, conceptual art. The idea of the readymade

was developed in the early twentieth century by Duchamp, and has had a profound impact on our

perception of physical objects and their possibilities.

Considering the use of an object, beyond it’s intended function, has both helped and

harmed our notion of what an object is. With imagination, an object can now be anything we
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want it to be. We are no longer constrained to identify it as one thing with only one function or

purpose. Yet, by considering all the possibilities of that object, instead of utilizing it for it’s

intentionally designed purpose, that object loses it’s original meaning. We forget what it is and

how it relates to us as makers and users. The utilitarian object now becomes merely another

ambiguous thing. If we perceive physical reality in the same manner as we do a readymade

object, for it’s use and not it’s made function, an alternant reality could be conceived from our

understanding of it. That is to say, physical reality has been considered for it’s other possibilities-

as a system or concept to base a virtual reality off of.

Physical objects also hold symbolic meanings in terms of the memories we ascribe to

them. Turkle explores the notion of loss, whether of object or person, when referring to the work

of psychotherapist Sigmund Freud. She states, “The psychodynamic tradition - in its narrative of

how we make objects part of ourselves - offers a language for interpreting the intensity of our

connections to the world of things, and for discovering the similarities in how we relate to the

animate and inanimate. In each case, we confront the other and shape the self” (10). Turkle

suggests that physical reality, “the world of things” is intrinsically related to our sense of self

through interaction, “confront(ation)” with objects being “the other.” These conditions associate

memory with objects which we consider as meaningful symbols that we identify with.

Transitional objects play a part in the process of psychotherapy. In her essay The Rolling

Pin, the psychologist Susan Pollak uses an except form Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things

Past to suggest that, transitional “objects have a profoundly healing function” (228).
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“But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things

are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more substantial,

more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting,

hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest, and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable

drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection” (228).

Proust is describing the awareness of his senses having experienced a small cookie called

a madeleine and reflecting on his process of memory. An object of his childhood, that when

experienced through smell and taste, after what is implied having been many years, bring a full

recollection of consciousness through memory. As he states, “...the effect which love has of

filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me...” (224).

Pollak suggests that through the power of the senses, our interaction with objects establish strong

memories associated with meaning with that particular object and the engaged individual.

If identity is associated with transitional objects used in psychotherapy, their symbolic

meanings are conditional to knowing the physical qualities of material and form. If an object can

derive meaning through the power of memory, then an associative identity could also be attached

to physical reality, as it is also made from material and form. If our psychologies are

intrinsically attached to objects, then they are also intrinsically attached to physical reality.

Psychologist Jean Piaget says, “objects help us think about such things as number, space,

time, causality and life” due to which, “our learning is situated, concrete, and personal” (Turkle,

308, 309). Due to virtual influence, the notion what an object is will change, as will it’s

meaning. As material, form, and symbol have been co-opted to create a virtual reality, one based
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on the immaterial values of information, communication, and entertainment, I consider it’s

implications on the physical world; of which it co-exists in the minds of it’s users and

furthermore the identity of the craftsman in particular.

Creating proper transitionary experiences through relatable but virtually influenced

objects, may be able to bridge the dual-reality gap which is part of our ever-evolving minds. I

plan to achieve this in my practicum by designing an interactive experience between the

sensibilities of the physical and the virtual. I plan to create a parallax feeling when viewing the

same form being depicted with the sensibilities of both reality's at the same place and time.

Creating ambiguity will serve as an educatioal motivator to pause and comprehend the visual

experience.

As I am becoming more and more comfortable with the qualities of the virtual, I am

realizing that the digital technologies used to make it can do things as a craftsman I cannot.

Three-dimensional software for instance has potentials which far exceed the limits of my

imagination. Swiss architect partners Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, account these

blurring sensibilities when describing the creation process used in designing their Jinhua

Structures in a journal issue of El Croqius (see fig. 5,6). They state, “...the pattern created a

virtual spacial grid consisting of an infinite number of intersecting lines and points on

intersection inside the geometric body. This fictitious spacial grid was the virtual material from

which we - with the help of a powerful computer - developed the inconceivable and

unimaginable forms and spaces of the pavilion” (377). Acknowledging the virtual sensibilities

over the pre-established ones of the physical challenges the nature of things. The Jinhua

pavilions challenge the traditional expectations of the architectural as well as sculptural form.
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Through a series of complex computer-aided interpretations, Herzog and Meuron started with a

simple geometric pattern which developed into a shape. From there, the shape was made three-

dimensional and repeated, much like a tessellation pattern. This in turn, created a new and

unique form that could not have been conceived from the original. From this virtual model, a

physical structure was constructed in architectural scale. Incorporating the qualities of virtuality

by allowing digital tools to influence physical form, the boundaries of object and thus subject

become blurred. This may create confusion within the maker, viewer or user if not properly

understood through physical experiences. Hand-on making allows for understanding as does

actual physical interactions; touching is knowing - seeing is believing.

Fig. 5. Herzog and de Meuron, Jinhua Structure 2, Basel, 2004. (http://www.ivarhagendoorn.com/photos/

series/jinhua-structure-3)
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Fig. 6. Herzog and de Meuron, Reading Space, Jinhua, China. (http://artforum.com.cn/uploads/upload.

000/id00336/article00.jpg) (http://www.archicentral.com/reading-space-jinhua-china-herzog-de-

meuron-5315/)

At first threatening, the virtual object that computer aided software can produce I now find

highly intriguing, yet hard to understand because I cannot touch it - a limitation of being

dependent on haptic intelligence. I feel that my confusion might have similarities to our current

culture, like there’s a lack of acknowledgment when experiencing our virtual reality. So, I

believe it is the responsibility of the craftsman to help make this visual link perceivable. Even

though I cannot imagine the complex forms that computer aided software can produce in my

mind, clay as an amorphous substance like that of virtual material, might be able to help our

understanding. Clay as a material body has limits based on technical knowledge and structure,
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but often alludes to possibilities in new forms just like digital tools do. Given that the clay object

is an interpretation of the virtual one, it can help translate it’s immaterial qualities into

understandable physical manifestations. I am not striving for perfect representations of each

form; the process of interpretation is intrinsic to my concept. Perfection is not a product of

digital tools. This assumption, I believe is the cause for our lack of acknowledging the effects

that virtual reality is having on us. If I design an assumed perfect digital form and then fail to

construct it by hand as it is seen on the computer, then the apperceptive gap between the

sensibilities of knowing the physical and the virtual will be exposed causing a re-interpretive

experience within the viewer.

In order to achieve this, first I will render a three-dimensional object using computer

aided software. By hand, I will then make a physical representation of that virtual object by

interpreting the computer aided image in clay. Clay intrinsically possess qualities of material

conciseness through a metamorphic process. These qualities are symbolic of the psychologically

transitional meaning attained in the making of the physical object. The act of hands-on making

records the shift from virtual to physical domains and understanding. I then plan to take the

physically made object and virtualize it. Much like a person does themselves to create avatars

for virtual interactions, the notion of the object will now begin to blur between form and space.

This will create a meta-experience when perceiving the meaning of objects in reality. I will

project this virtual image on the wall next to the physical object.

To further enhance the parallax experience of the viewer I will rely on the pre-

conditioned, hands-free interactions of the gallery viewer. This is pivotal to establishing the loss

of tactility associated with the immaterial sensibilities of virtual reality. By masking a computer
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mouse as a motion detector, I wish to trigger the 360 degree tool found in three-dimensional

software applications. As the viewer walks around the physical object, motion detectors will

trigger an analogous virtual representation of the same form projected on the wall near it. The

person’s movement in presence will influence the interaction of the objects. Art, a hands-free

viewing experience is based on the memory of the haptic just as is the virtual.

In conclusion, my aim is to get the concept across that one’s interactive presence

influences perspective, and therefore the psychological meaning we attribute to objects. The

meanings specifically attributed from physicality are intricately intertwined with our notion of

physical self. I do not believe it exists in virtual reality and this loss will have lasting effects on

our notion of identity. Void of physical sensibility, virtual reality will set conditions which we

have never seen in the minds of it’s users, if it has not already. The craftsman, who’s very

identity is established in knowing material and form in order to create interactive and meaningful

experiences through objects, will be forced to consider and adapt to the values of an intangible

reality.

“When we focus on objects, physicians and philosophers, psychologists and designers,

artists and engineers are able to find common ground in everyday experience” (Turkle, 8).
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Annotated Bibliography

Aarts, Stefano Marzano; Emile. The New Everyday View on Ambient Intelligence. Uitgeverij 010

Publishers, 2003. Print. Experience design is the practice of designing products,

processes, services, events, and environments with a focus placed on the quality of the

user experience and culturally relevant solutions, with less emphasis placed on increasing

and improving functionality of the design (46).

Adamson, Glenn. The Craft Reader. Berg Publishers, 2010. Print. A well rounded collection of

essays about Craft written by artisans as well as theorists on a breadth of perspectives.

Anderson, Chris, and Summaries.Com (Firm). Free the future of a radical price. [Hamilton,

N.Z.] :: Summaries.Com,, 2010. Print. An interesting perspective of how virtual

commerce is influencing our economy. Interesting to see how virtual culture is

influencing other aspects of our daily lives and the related notions which we associate

with them.

Bernard, Edina. Modern art, 1905-1945. English-language ed. London: Chambers, 2004. Print.

A basic introduction of Modern Art which is rooted in the language of visual aesthetics of

composition through form, space, line, etc.

Bourriaud, Nicolas. Relational Aesthetics. Les Presse Du Reel,Franc, 1998. A new perspective

of art as social, experiential referring to human relationships. Where the interactions of

the viewers and participants are the focus, not the objects or props per se.

Burgess, Paul. “The Future is Junk.” Varoom!. Spring. 2010: 38-49. Print. Article commenting

on the cultural uprise and influences of collage as a means to political and aesthetic

endeavors.
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Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. The Evolving Self. Harper Perennial, 1994. Print.

---. Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life. Basic Books, 1998. Print.

Two books revering to awareness of self through psychological understanding and

consideration. The notion of objects having influence on our psychologies and well

being is discussed.

Darley, Gillian. John Soane: An Accidental Romantic. Yale University Press, 2000. Print.

Biographical information concerning the life and work Sir John Soane, the first designer

and architect of a picture gallery. Used to have a fuller understanding of the gallery

space, it’s origin of ideology, and how the particular space relates to physical form,, i.e.

sculptural art.

Davies, Hugh. Blurring The Boundaries. 2nd ed. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego,

1997. Print. A review of and brief explanation of Installation Art. How it challenges the

notions of art as commerce and as well as in space; causing reinterpretation of the art

object and how the viewer perceives it.

Derrida, Jacques. “Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression.” Diacritics 25.2 (1995): 9. Print.

Interesting look at digital technologies being used to document, organize and categorize

once tactile information thus changing the experience of research as physical resource;

further excluding information through the process of archival virtualization.

Elger, Dietmar et al. In the Beginning is MERZ: From Kurt Schwitters to the Present Day.

illustrated edition. Hatje Cantz Publishers, 2000. Print. A comparitive look between the

work of Kurt Schwitters and many of the artist’s who have been inspired by it. A visual

commentary through a collection of images mostly.


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Flood, Richard, Massimilliano Gioni, and Laura Hoptman. Collage: The Unmonumental Picture.

Merrell, 2008. Print. Considers the notion of the collage, how it came about and it’s

impact on art - embracing the every day and incorporating it into the picture plane,

challenging the hierarchy of art - making it more part of the everyday.

“HERZOG & DE MEURON.” El Croquis. 129 (2006): N. Print.

Article describing the digital process used by the Swiss architects.

Highmore, Ben. The Design Culture Reader. 1st ed. Routledge, 2008. Print. A well rounded

collection of essays about Design written by artisans as well as theorists on a breadth of

perspectives.

I Build My Time Kurt Schwitters in England 1940-48. Dir. Tristram Powell. The Roland

Collection, 1990. Videocassette. Schwitters Merzbau collages are site specific

interpretations of interior space in form and experience based on a human architectural

scale. They defy ISO living.

Johnson, Ellen. Modern art and the object : a century of changing attitudes. New York: Harper

& Row, 1976. Print. A basic introduction of Modern Art which is rooted in the language

of visual aesthetics of composition through form, space, line, etc.

McLuhan, Marshall, and Quentin Fiore. The Medium is the Massage. Gingko Press, 2005. Print.

Understanding the warning signs of media in culture and society.

O'Doherty, Brian, and Thomas McEvilley. Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery

Space. 1st ed. University of California Press, 2000. Print. A collection of four essays

which consider the gallery itself as content, as opposed to the usual consideration of the
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art inside it. This gives insight to the relationship between form and space in a more

in depth perceptive.

Portrait of an Artist Louise Nevelson in Process. Dir. Susan Fanshel and Jill Godmilow. Home

Vision, 1977. Videocassette. Nevelson homogenizes wood trash, i.e. found objects, with

uniform black or white paint to create an over all environmental experience. She does

not care about wood per se, she is focused on form alone. The work is not about the

individual pieces. She purposely takes meaning out of the intrinsic qualities of the found

materials by painting them - black especially.

Risatti, Howard. A Theory of Craft: Function and Aesthetic Expression. illustrated edition. The

University of North Carolina Press, 2007. Print. Risatti’s notion of an object’s purpose is

discussed though different ways of interpreting it’s intended function or it’s use. Thus

setting up a parallax view of the same object depending on how one considers it.

Sennett, Prof. Richard. The Craftsman. Yale University Press, 2009. Print. Sennett fully

considers the sensibilities of the craftsman, which originate from what he calls material

consciousness. A quality of knowing that is specific to the craftsman in defining his

awareness of his practice.

Shedroff, Nathan. Experience Design. Waite Group Press, 2001. Print.

---. http://www.nathan.com/thoughts/newmethods/5e.html- A founder of experience design

which considers the interactive and environmental aspects of object arrangement and

subsequent engagement with people. I found the similarities between Installation art,

Relational Aesthetics and Experience design to be most intriguing. All of which rely on

the immaterial aspects of the situation created to be the focus not the objects themselves.
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Turkle, Sherry. Evocative Objects: Things We Think With. The MIT Press, 2007. Print. A

collection of essays which cover a broad spectrum of why objects evoke more than just a

physical semblance. Yee’s and Pollak’s essays in particular link objects with profound

memory and learning experiences which we ascribe to objects for varied reasons.

Wien, Kunst Haus. Hundertwasser. Taschen, 2000. Print. This small book catalogs the exterior

and interior of Hundertwasser’s designed and self proclaimed museum of his own art

works. Having been there myself, the notion of challenging livable space by purposely

creating uneven floors and curved walls, was my first experience of a space influencing

my perception of it.

Wolfram, Eddie. History of Collage: An Anthology of Collage, Assemblage and Event Structures.

MacMillan Publishing Company, 1976. Print. An extensive exploration of collage and

how it has influenced painting to Performance art. Collage has had a profound impact on

how we make and experience art, design and craft.