Taking things seriously

Posted by Ian on Feb 8, 2009 in blog | No Comments

I’ve been reading a rather compelling book before bed lately. In Taking Things Serious: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance, Joshua Glenn and Carol Hayes have compiled a series of narratives from designers around the world – revealing their personal attachments to some everyday things that, for them, have more-than-everyday-meanings. The book resonates with an insight I gained from reading John Maeda’s The Laws of Simplicity. In Law 7, he reflects on the importance of emotion in design – saying that people have emotive connections to things:

“Aichaku (ahy-chaw-koo) is the Japanese term for the sense of attachment one can feel for an artifact. […It] describes a deeper kind of emotinal attachment that person can feel for an object. It is a kind of symbiotic love for an object that deserves affection not for what it does, but for what it is.” (Maeda 2008, 69)

Although we could deconstruct these sentiments as being essentialist or reductive, what they do point to is the importance of acknowledging emotive affect within the study of ‘things’ (read in here – ‘material culture’).
Perhaps this acceptance or exploration of emotive affect (and subsequent engagement/management of it) is what has been lost through the abstraction and emotional sanitisation of things through the scientisation of society through ‘data’-lust.
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