I was lucky enough to sit in on a talk with Studio Glithero called ‘Remaining in the Moment’ which mainly focused around their ever-growing interest in process, which I unintionally related back to my current key area of focus in animal welfare and vegan ethics in design. I love listening to designers speak and justify their design rather than read about it on a secondary source. I find that you get a more personal and honest explanation.
Tim Simpson, one half along with his partner Dutch designer Sarah van Gameren, talked about strong, contextual, rationale meaning and that how a product is made can effect how we value it. With animal-derived products this either does one of two ways: they either boycott it completely and do not want to be associated with it or take, what I consider, to be a bizarre approach of appreciating a product even more because an animal has suffered and been sacrificed for it. Tim believes our perception of a product may change after we have seen it made, than we did before. I wondered if more people watched the process of obtaining the 'material' of an animal, whether the product would be as desirable or if they would still want it knowing it's terrible back story. Following on from this he spoke about common perceptions versus alternative, and honest perceptions. I find the common perceptions and excuses for using animal materials both aggravating and repetitive especially in products such as leather or wool.
Common perception: ‘It’s a waste, the animal was dead anyway and plus leather looks good and lasts longer so I only need to buy things once’
Alternative perception: I believe the loss of a life is truly a waste. When I was vegetarian, I was a big fan of the ‘the animal has already died and I didn’t contribute to that so the by-product is not cruel’ argument but only now to I see the hypocrisy of that statement. So, if someone else is involved in funding the meat trade, I am not contributing? Of course I am. I cannot be involved or show companies I want to be involved in any unneeded loss of life. For the argument of the sustainability through longevity of leather and the quality associated with it, I agree is one of the biggest constraints of alternative materials. However, I am seeing more and more alternative’s that are very convincing that will emulate this emotional attachment people have to leather as a luxury product such as Muskin or Pinatex.
Common perception: ‘It’s just a haircut for the sheep’.
Alternative perception: I would ask how many times you have been in a hairdressing salon with a huge line waiting behind you and the barber must cut all your hair in the shortest amount of time. If you had no voice and no one would know if you were harmed, do you believe the barber take care in collecting your hair. I have seen very distressing images of sheep covered in blood because their ‘material’ is more of a concern than their health and wellbeing. The current alternatives to wool are often synthetic and petroleum-based which is upsetting as it gives wool more of an advantage from an environmental standpoint, as it is a natural material.
Studio Glithero consider the production process as a performance that ‘tells a story’ (Simpson, 2017) making wonder what horror story would be involved in a show entirely dedicated to how industries mistreat, use and exploit animals for their own economic benefit. They had a lot of beautiful choreographed films and I believe this is something I would like to include as part of my final piece.
I have found in many of my most honest and successful products to be liberating and give the user a better quality of life. My communication toy for children on the autism spectrum was liberating by providing the opportunity to be heard and understood. I believe this project I want to liberate the animals from what I believe to be an unjust system and a poor quality of ‘life’. Glithero suggested looking at old processes for new products but I thought this could be applied in alternative materials to that provided by animals. Tim also mentioned the chorography of production and I considered possibly emulating nature and animal movement within an impact production, of sorts. But this is just me rambling to remind myself of my thinkings after the talk experience and investigating terms he used to look up later if I want to pursue them like:
I found the talk very inspiration for possibly a different reason that intended and have become more inspired by the story of manufacture and process than even before. For more creations by Studio Glithero visit their website linked.
Simpson, T. (2017). Studio Glithero - Remaing in the Moment.
Glithero.com. (n.d.). Blueware Vases | * Glithero *. [online] Available at: http://www.glithero.com/blueware-vases [Accessed 16 Feb. 2017].
Glithero.com. (n.d.). Miracle Machines | * Glithero *. [online] Available at: http://www.glithero.com/miracle-machines [Accessed 16 Feb. 2017].
Glithero.com. (n.d.). Running Mould | * Glithero *. [online] Available at: http://www.glithero.com/running-mould [Accessed 16 Feb. 2017].
looking for me?