Lore Langendries, PhD in the Arts
The world becoming more and more dominated by technology and the digital, virtual image, ensures an increasingly separation from the emotional and physical of artefacts. Due to the internet we are all visually and virtually connected, but not physically. Touch or tactile perception is overshadowed by the visual culture in which we live, but still, those visual imagery makes touch and feel the hungriest senses of postmodernity. Yet, a contemporary desire has grown to surround ourselves with objects which reflect a more human and natural touch, unlike the uniform industrial products. During the last three decades technology has accelerated in an explosive way. The use of innovative industrial techniques is no longer ignored within the craft world, since it clearly offers novel possibilities to both the design and the manufacturing of artefacts. In my work I am questioning reproduction, within an industrial context, in order to create wearable objects that attain a warmer human touch, unique fingerprint and certain tactility. An unconventional combination of natural animal materials and industrial mechanical treatment, like laser cutting, enables me to achieve another perspective on reproduction. I’m extensively using the laser cutting technique, which has mainly been developed for mass production. In this context, reproducibility is rarely or never questioned since it is digitally controlled and thus stimulates (re) production. In a traditional computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) workflow, the design process and the implementation are clearly separated. However, in creating my work I’m using the technique in such a way that it not only carries out the work but it actually becomes part of the design process. By handling the machine myself, in combination with natural materials, I’m counteracting the mainly automated process and in that way creating a more open working process: handling an innovative digital technology through a craftsman-like way of thinking. In a playful experimental approach the natural distinctness, such as hair growth and skin thickness, structures and behaviours of each animal hide and specie is used as an active agent in the design and making process, using the material as subject and as matter. The circle as a clean geometrical form shows the essence and beauty of the animal hides in its most elementary form. A close-up, focussing on hidden details, gives an entirely new structural formation of the subject. Via variations with the geometrical shape in combination with the possibilities that the laser cutting technique gives I can create unique selections by way of different handlings. Approaching reproduction in various ways, creating unique pieces within the serial with a more human touch and a certain tactility. The hair growth strengthens and offers an even more emotional tactile experience of the maker, beholder and wearer. This tactility can be perceived physically through touch and, or, (in)directly imaginary and visually through our eyes. This last one is still our primary impression and goes, in most cases, unconsciously along with physical tactility, unless for those who cannot see when something is being touched. Moreover, from this physical or visual sensorial experience an emotional or mental sense can arise. Unless we, as beholders, are mostly not able or not allowed to touch artworks because of the conventions in a museum or gallery setting as a result of preventing damage to the work or because of conservation reasons, we can still perceive tactility in artefacts. Meanwhile when allowed to physically touch an artwork, liberating the beholder from its passive role in experiencing art, a bodily interaction between the beholder and the work can occur. At last, as previously mentioned, both physical and visual tactility can be followed by emotional feeling, which is more related to the mental feeling or the personal perception than to touching or seeing. However touch is enhanced and complemented by vision, the experience of tactility is not merely about the act of touching but also the feeling one can get when making, viewing or physical contact. Nevertheless, mainly every tactile experience is intimate and personal. The submitted pieces are a series of brooches and necklaces, whereby a hidden magnet makes it possible to wear the brooches or a waxed cotton thread transforms the fragments to necklaces.
Research Unit: Inter-Actions
Duration: 2011 - 2015