Social Object | Research Series 3


In the previews two blogposts “Social” Object_Research_Series_1&2 I presented my research interests as an answer to our brief about “Social Objects”.  In fact I tried to find a connection between the behaviour and consciousness of a citizen in relation to public street art and its potential to influence them. I used as examples that are reflecting the urban space critique, two categories of interactive installations: installations which use the body as interface and installations which mark up the public space with text.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s relational architecture artworks that reflect his interest to increase the participant’s awareness of him/herself in relation to others in the public space in an engaging way in order to overcome the routinisation and passivity which define public behaviour now influenced me a lot and pushed me research more on this field. In fact, my concern is to make something for the public environment that involves a broad variety of cultures and subcultures and respects the anonymity and the hidden identity of the passenger.

Public engagement as part of my research, influenced me to think about design as communication, and what it might mean to create artifacts for a much broader audience.

Imagine looking at an object not for its artistic or historical significance but for its ability to spark conversation. (Nina Simon,The Participatory Museum)

Nicolas Bourriaud who is a French art critic, articulated his approach on human relations and their social context in his theory of relational aesthetics. The artist can be more accurately viewed as the “catalyst” in relational art, rather than being at the centre.  The artwork creates a social environment in which people come together to participate in a shared activity.

Influenced from the theories above, public street art (as I explained in my first research version) and in an attempt to give an answer to what a “Social Object” could be, I started developing my version of a participatory “artifact” which, in a first level, could influence people communicate through making and expressing their ideas, thoughts and messages by drawing on empty canvases. In that sense they are the creators of the artwork. Without the participants this object is “dead”, random stuff in a room. The life of each message is represented through LEDs.

“People who are participating are in fact reflecting.” (Rafael Lozano-Hemmer)

In that sense, what are they reflecting?

Trying to think a second level of interaction that could make the piece more playful and the participants more engaged, and also in an attempt to respond to the idea of the lost identity of a citizen nowadays, each tag/message is being connected to a unique pattern that is developed according of the theory of cellular automata.


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