Experiencing Porcelain as a Landscape

In the late eighteenth century, the Plymouth Porcelain Factory produced sets of figures designed to represent what were then known as the four Continents: Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. As objects of middle-class consumption, they were designed not only to represent current ideas about the qualities of these continents, but also to allow consumers to have a relationship with places of which they had no first-hand knowledge, creating a geographical experience. Taking the historical nature of these figurines into consideration, this research considers whether it is possible to co-opt such artefacts into a twenty-first century geographical experience. Using a multi-modal, experiential approach to design research that includes not only looking at the original context of objects, but also displaying the artefacts through the lens of twentyfirst century technologies such as 3-D scanning and asking individuals to respond creatively to the figurines, this paper explores how an interaction with past experiences of geography might help us to understand our current perceptions of the world, while keying into a new digital heritage.

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CC BY 4.0