Starting with one of the objects we had created the week before, we had to develop 4-6 objects in succession where each object references the last one and takes the idea to a new place.

I decided to take two objects and take two different paths that characterize my theme. The first was the use of a symbol that takes on a different meaning depending on the context in which it is placed. The second was a research on several ways of seeing a material to which we give a specific function.

  1. Symbol:

In this series I started from the two objects I had made that were both with this symbol and expressed in different ways the concept of time.
I decided to show how this symbol, refined to others, takes on a different meaning each time. The led I used can only create the numbers but there are instead those with 16 segments that can also create all the letters.
Starting from the time I made as first object an alarm clock on a metal sheet. It was enough to insert graphically an “ON” and “OFF” and the concept was already clear. Then I turned the foil over and thought that what we perceive of this symbol is:

  • its composition (how many modules)
  • the spacing
  • the symbols next to it (if any)
  • the form in which it is contained

From this was born the second object that has the same shape as the alarm clock but has more information (date, humidity, temperature, battery charge).
No words were needed to make the content of the symbols associated with the LED segments understandable.

“Now I need to change his shape” Next to me there was a metal ruler, same material but different shape. And so the symbol has changed once again its function becoming a measure.

From the numbers as a measure I wanted to go back on time but with other dimensions. I took a rectangle of polyurethane foam (there is no photo) and drew over the facade of a large building, then I added a large sign with LED symbols (x4). Once again it is back to being a time but the same numbers that referred to a wristwatch or an alarm clock were now those of a huge building in scale.

Looking at this mini/large building, I was reminded of a structure similar to Coney Island where the numbers referred to the record of hot dogs eaten by a person and therefore to another meaning. Continuing to think about these huge numbers above the buildings it occurred to me when at New Year’s Eve there is the countdown in the square and we can all see it at digits. From here I arrived at the bomb, a countdown without return that scares us and makes us try something different always seeing the same symbol.

2. Material

For the material I decided to start by trying to interpret its function in a different way: to protect. The fence is what protects our house but we will never make it of this material that flexes easily. Its function remains the same but it is not functional to accomplish it. I gave a conceptual form by making the material itself speak.

Afterwards I asked myself what are the characteristics of this material and how to use it in other ways. I started to trap it and pierce it. I drew on it and cut smaller and smaller sections of it. Then I decided to “sculpt” it trying to mask its appearance and make it so unrecognizable. The tubular shape has not changed but its surface is no longer regular, thus turning into a bracelet.

Decided to experiment with the characteristics of the material I wanted to represent an aspect that is a consequence of its common function: comfort.
Protecting from sharp or dangerous objects, this material is soft and therefore comfortable. From this reasoning comes this small chair in scale.

Representing comfort, aesthetics and protection I was looking for another feature that would completely differ from the others.
Thinking of different environments in which I could test its characteristics I came to the fact that it floats. Hence the boat, which perfectly expresses our idea of floating in a fluid. It could be a child’s game for the bathtub.
I also tried to burn it but the result is not worth mentioning.

These were the objects created before the workshop.
After examining the objects brought together we did some exercises to better understand our work and what means we used to achieve it.
The practical task of the day was to create 6 objects: 2 that represented the successful process, one that was the opposite and 3 others as a synthesis of what we had done.

I decided to try to follow both paths once again: symbol and material.
For the symbol, the object of “success” had to represent all its possible meanings. So I decided to turn the LED and color all its segments to form an 8 upside down and then an infinite.
I wanted to put this infinity on a pole to raise it from the table and give it importance and, I don’t know the reason well, but I thought about how Jesus had been crucified attached to a corx suspended from the ground. This in my opinion gave him even more importance.

The opposite of this infinity is instead the confusion of the symbol. The confusion of information it can bring. The data we create every day in thousands of ways is an example of this confusion. The problem of having a common way to read this data and not being able to distinguish between important and unimportant data.

From here on we come to the destruction of the data and how this symbol can represent all the data in general while by sawing represents the destruction.

The material, instead, I took up the concept of recontextualizing its function. So I took the fence I had made before as a symbol of protection and I applied blue stripes in oblique. Its shape has remained completely unchanged but its meaning has changed and its destination also. Now the fence recalls the fence of a work in progress, it was enough to apply a graphic and its message has changed but, in the same way as before, protects.

Its opposite is to use the material in a completely improper way trying to create an object that can never be made with this material (except for a game) and then a knife. This material will certainly never cut and the knife is the symbol that leads us to think immediately about cutting.

The last object tries to combine the two themes. The mask with LEDs on top represents the data mask that characterizes each of us. The protection material indicates the importance of being protected in the creation of the data that make up our identity.

These exercises made me experience the meanings that the same symbol/material can assume, giving it different shapes and contexts.
The symbol and the material I used are just an example of how I want to use the symbols that we see every day in the streets in domestic life.

Gabriele
(13.10.19)