Primary questions

The following are some early questions pointing the line of inquiry followed in this body of work. The rest is a break down of influences and references used in the process.

1. How do we, as designers, influence the way we perceive objects and spaces?

2. What is a modern ritual? How is it different from a modern routine?

3. How can we establish a better understanding of objects and their use through design? (opposed to creating needs that don't exist and producing "design litter")

4. What are other ways to rethink/revise objects and spaces?

5. Why do we believe or attach ourselves at a higher level to objects and places?

Thesis Interests Perception, Illusion, our relationship with objects and spaces that ranges from the superficial to the spiritual. I am interested in revising/reconsidering objects and spaces as well, as designers I believe we must reduce what we have created instead of adding meaningless needs to the world.

Personal Work "La Guadalupana" (2004) is a series of 17 paintings and 3 objects created around The Lady of Guadalupe. The images depicted int he series show votive or religious favors asked and miraculously performed by her. The favors are banal, superficial and have to do with modern consumerist society, making a comment on how the church capitalizes on people’s faith to thrive as an institution. "Suspension of Disbelief" (2010) was the research project I was involved in during the summer. Eventhough the content and context where not deeply executed, the process of making objects that would serve a higher purpose was of my interest and helped me develop some ideas about objects/rituals and the relationship at higher level that can be constructed around them. "Dehumanizing the Body as Media" (2009) In the class Media History and Theory instructed by Holly Willis I got to explore my interest in the human body as the ultimate medium. The body stopped being “a temple” and has been experimented with for various purposes: art, religion, fantasy, medicine- the possibilities are quite vast and fascinating to me. ( "Techtunoids" (2010) Is a two channel video installation that shows the mechanism and "rituals" around the practice of deep sea blue fin tuna farming. The main interest of this piece is the exploration of the space, the interpretation or narratives that can be created around it and the relationship/interaction that takes place in these "landscapes" between the natural and the artificial. (

Approaches "The Persuaders" is a documentary by Douglass Rushkoff on how media influences our decisions when it comes to consumer culture. I relate this to my interest because there is a strong sense of perception and illusion that takes part on the process of adverstising that I also relate to the design practice. Jaime O'Shea's "The Church of Martyr Rovers" Is a toaster decontextualized as a homage to a spacecraft that landed on the pole of Mars. I can relate my interest with objects with the "shrine" quality of the piece and the way the toaster is utilized in the piece. "Oblique Strategies" It’s a series of method cards developed by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt.

Bodies of knowledge Performance, Installation, Video, Craftmanship, Mysticism, Magic, Occult, Body, Psychomagic, Film, Cultural Anthropology.

Influences in Context Perception, Illusion, Belief, Performance, Installation, Critical Design, Speculative Design, Experience Design, Design Research. References Tarot, Psychick Bible, Hiding the Elephant, Objects of Desire, Pyschomagic, Poetry (Höllderlin) Paganism,Tara Donovan, Genesis P-Orridge, Erwin Wurm, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Leigh Bowery, Marion Bantjes, Nam June Paik, Douglass Roushkoff, Wabi Sabi.

Analysis and Reflection

What started as a Design Research tool within the experiments I was working with, it became the main anchor to situate the project in context. It was the consistent and rigorous exercise of questions that not only led me to frame what I was doing, but delivered key information to make this body of work real and strong. The following are three questions that I formulated in order to have a better sense of people's attachment to objects and one of the main points of analysis within this project:

1. In a scale from 1 to 10 what is your attachment to your belongings (objects)?
2. If your house was burning down and you could only save 5 objects, what would they be and why?
3. Mention 3 objects that embody yourself.

From these interviews I came up with creating hybrids in it's conceptual, physical, social, spiritual and material properties. To think about making such objects lead me to create specific vocabulary that may have the potential to be a manifesto that explains the reason and intention of creating objects of this nature. The following is a dissection of my explorations from the beginning of my thesis process with the purpose of creating a vocabulary that will support the framing of my thesis:

In the early stages I was working with two objects that would be placed out or their ordinary context. The lamps (which were breasts of women made out of papier mache) and the pig charms (using the animal as the motif) were of my interest because they made me think about perception and assumption. This was the first experiment/first approach to my thesis interest. I created objects around the perception and assumption regarding breasts and pigs. ASSUMPTION being a key word in this. We assume breasts are sexual, we assume that pigs are filthy and that is the ROLE they perform. I want to create a term called the X AREA (variable) which is the area where the object in question can perform, function and/or have a different role from what we initially assume. My interest in this first approach is the X area in breasts and pigs. In the compendium, my interest came about the extra layers of value that we add into the predetermined value of objects. This predetermined value comes from primary assumptions that are embedded in the object in a category I would like to call first level of perception. The first level of perception is tricky, because most of the objects we have access to come with a predetermined story. Branding embodies what we first absorb in an object- a philosophy of social value and aesthetic. The second level of perception we look/experience the object stripped from a predetermined philosophy. In the second level of perception personal value is aggregated into the object. This has nothing to do with itŐs original ŇsocialÓ value but what the emotional experience with the object creates around it: a memory, an archive, an alternative way of interacting with a non-predetermined function/role. The third level of perception is when the object changes its "predetermined" function or role in order to perform as something unexpected (x area).

The last version of the compendium (writing about blank as blank) was an exploration of a third level of perception. I find myself really intrigued by the exchange of roles of person-object-interaction (Alejandro Jodorowsky's work in Psychomagic an object/performance is prescribed to activate psychosomatic/emotional change) and the layers of experience that emerge from this transaction: ritual, routine, practice, illusion, magic and performance. I believe that the XML tackled this layers of experience within the collection of objects and relationships that are listed in the file. SO WHAT? The question comes again. I feel that as a media designer we should re-value and re-consider the way we experience objects, because they already do so much for us. Why should we, designers, be responsible for creating an overpopulated environment of obsolete objects, meaningless desires and ephemeral needs? WHY NOW? We have come to an era where technology has created objects that in the short run become clutter and loose meaning quickly- Who cares about the first laptop, or the newest one for that matter? There will be a newer version in months. We have created a tendency of making things that we have to adapt to instead of making things that adapt to us. This is a first go for thinking about this questions and will elaborate more on this, there are much ideas in my head that need serious organizing.

I would like to quote Sherry Turkle from her collection of essays Evocative Objects "We find it familiar to consider objects as useful or aesthetic as necessities or vain indulgences. We are on less familiar ground when we consider objects as companions to our emotional lives or as provocations to thought. The notion of evocative objecs brings together these tow less familiar ideas, underscoring the inseparability of thought and feeling in our relationship to things. We think with the objects we love, we love the objects we think with."