Polychronic Spoon Stories: Material Narrative in multi-temporal designing

2017-03-20T14:33:35Z (GMT) by RTD Conference Jane Norris
In the light of current debates on the future of making, the Polychronic research focuses on what influences our decisions in material selection when designing objects, and how these decisions might be changed. The research triangulates: an aerial cultural viewpoint proposed by new media theory; a re-conceptualisation of time through the act of crumpling material history; and a practical translation of cultural narrative approaches to materiality through para-design, using both materials and fiction. A series of small polychronic bowls that combined materials from different historical eras, formed early material experiments in the research. This has been extended by focusing on spoons as objects that carry cultural narratives such as hygiene, modernity, disposability and inherited history embedded in their material use. Spoons are intimate objects, closely related to, but separate from the body that have consistently channelled our desire and consumption of both food and material status, becoming effective narrative vehicles to communicate our cultural values. By shifting the material narrative in a selection of spoons, the research seeks to interrogate and problematise inherent material assumptions. The aim of this is to better understand some barriers to a polychronic approach to design. The practice of storytelling through making and writing endeavours to open up an alternative material narrative of spoons.