My study follows a ‘thing-ethnological’ approach. Whereas traditional user-centred design methods assume that creativity is exclusive to people, already integrate the notion that people shape things as much as things shape people. A thing-centred design method brings this interrelation forward by “relying on the collaboration with things as a way of solving problems” –as argued by projects such as the Thing Tank (project funded by the Skoltech Institute of Moscow, 2014-2019) for design and digital fabrication, or the Object Research Lab (project by Yvonne Dröge Wendel, 2009-2010) on materially-engaged artistic practice. In my case, this means that a thing can embody a specific relation, which can become visible, shareable and transformable through its reparation.
My thing-centred design method starts in the body of the inhabitant, and navigates through the domestic network, connecting with other things, of which I elaborate ‘object-portraits’ that include typological conventions as symbol and signal, spatial relations and particular object life. I photograph their interactions, and select the images that present the widest range of discrepancies and coincidences with the corresponding ‘object-portraits’. I investigate the nature and effects of the mismatch through interviews with the inhabitants, which enables to process the information into line-drawings and codes (fig. 11). The line-drawings and codes define the form of reparation of the selected thing(s), which once repaired is placed again within the domestic network. I photograph the new interactions, and repeat the process again, in order to evaluate the achieved adjustment of the earlier variance (fig. 12). The result assesses the extent to which the terms of interaction have become intentional and reciprocal, supporting and manifesting the particular way of life.
Figure 1: Line-drawings and codes from the 1st phase of Inga and Petri’s project. Project and drawings by Marta Fernández Guardado.
Figure 2: Line-drawings and codes from the 2nd phase of Inga and Petri’s project. Project and drawings by Marta Fernández Guardado.