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Jessica Smarsch
Reviving the physical aspect of making

Prizes: Keep an Eye Grant Nominee, Gijs Bakker Nominee
Department: Social Design

Constructing Connectivity is a thesis about bodily actions and the level of mind-body connectivity achievable through the textile making process. In this thesis, textiles become a medium and metaphor for connectivity. In critical making, we not only produce a physical outcome (design), we engage in a conscious/unconscious dance between ourselves and our tactile world. The state of body and mind synchronicity fosters prolonged periods of connectivity while also creating opportunities for conscious decision-making. Yet the process of making is seldom necessary today; our industrial machines have far surpassed our own capabilities, we’ve made ourselves redundant.

While recognizing the many benefits these technologies have bestowed, the level of mind-body connectivity and creative human interaction inherent to textile making is lost in this process, as is any personal narrative. This body of research, supported by case studies and design actions, demonstrates that frameworks and guidelines can facilitate conscious actions. Subsequently, those actions can create opportunities for mindbodyengagement. Additionally, the ability to interfere, reflect and change or customize outcomes is an important measure to take in achieving connectivity.

Finally, many current design examples and emerging methods indicate there is a strong desire to reintroduce human elements into the things we make. Accessible digital tools create new and important ways to do this, to construct connections between the self, machines, and the things we make. Constructing Connectivity, as a design research, process and outcome, links physical action, digital tools, and industrial production to once again achieve the level of mind-body engagement inherent to textile making.

Published: 28-Jan-2016 12:27


Social Design

    Jessica-Smarsch - 2015 - Constructing Connectivity - detail