Rekindle and Reconnect

This blog post is a brief introduction of my final year design. It aims to explain what I did and why it works. I have attached my workbook below, where you can find the process and motivation behind the project.

~2 signifies ‘about two’ or ‘about to’. The project promotes the concept of a co-dependent relationship through using light as a material that connects people intuitively. It is a poetic interaction whereby air blown by two people is transferred to a ‘living-space’ lighting-source. A series of glass artefacts captures the gesture of blowing, and the project represents a dialogue between art, design and craft.

User testing : Couples are activating ~2 in their home.
Photo: ~2 fits in the home environment.
Photo: ~2 at ECA Degree show
Photo: ~2 desktop version.

This work is the result of an integrated learning-experience combining the theoretical- and practical-knowledge I have gained from the past 4 years. I position myself as a context-driven designer, in that I am concerned with contextual narratives and critical value beyond functions. My process starts with a critical insight or a narrative, which then drives the concept throughout the project. As a critical designer, I have always believed in the middle-ground between marketing solutions and critical aspirations, which is normally regarded as an impossible fusion. Thus, in my final year design project, fundamentally, I am trying to blur the boundaries between the critical design and commercial design.

Through my research, I found that most technologies are changing our lifestyles by empowering individual needs, and the possibilities of using technologies to connect with our physical and social environment are at lost. So ~2 aims to offer a chance for people to connect and appreciate their social(physical) environment.

Through testing ~2 in home and exhibition space, people are reconnected and provoked. Some of them start to imagine the other possibilities of embodied social interaction, for example, heating systems. The others appreciate the engaging interaction. Few of them asked the cost and looking forward to see ~2 in production. However, due to the lack of knowledge in professional producing, the form, the material and the electronics of ~2 are limited to be one-off pieces. There are people who refuses to use ~2, because they are with strangers. As a result, ~2 becomes a tool to deliver social thought experiments, to revaluate our relationship with others.