Thursday, December 25, 2008

flesh, the new plastic

Tactility it's what it's all about in the work of Jason Briggs. In looking like scrambled up versions of the human body, his sculptural objects almost pornographically refer to the details of raw, naked flesh, with names like 'toe', 'squirt', and 'cinch'. To me though, although they look rather eerie, these objects look quite like complete organisms, or should I say organic products, as well. I can easily imagine this to be future products that almost in a sexual way are able to merge with a human user, to which it could provide certain functionalities in a very intimate, empathic and mutualistic fashion, even aligning its entire physiology to that of the human carrier. What if you'd have to dial a number on your cellphone by sticking your finger into a soft, warm, throbbing hole?

In product design, a trend towards softness and providing a wider range of tactile experiences can also definitely be seen, such as with designs like the strawberry skin juice package by Fukasawa, or the Gel remote control by Panasonic (see below). We are collectively bored with anything resembling modernism with all its coldness. Moreover have we visually been conditioned to like glossy, clean and sharp looking imagery, while this is actually drawing us further and further away from the intrinsic qualities of the body with which we stand into the world, which is undeniably soft, warm, and in a way also dirty. Maybe we should learn to embrace these properties too before we can fully start living, without facades clouding our perception.

Are we ready to succumb to the intimate touch of the machine?

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