An object is both, a cultural as well as a technological artifact. Distinct human consciousness embeds within objects values of body, history and space on the one hand, whereas function, aesthetic and economy on the other. The manifest world of “things” outside us allows us expression: it mirrors our inner personalities and desires. Human lives are extended thus, into a landscape of inanimate physical beings within which our social biographies unfold. We create, curate and collect objects from and within different spheres of our life in the pursuit of meaning- making – a process through which we establish our relationship with our immediate and broader physical and intellectual environment. As much as we use and control objects, they too inevitably have the power to influence and fundamentally mould us within their ambit. Through soft technologies of control, objects weave us into their own stories and tune us into their own intents.
To look at objects through the filter of design helps enable an archaeology of curiosity. How a specific thing has been made, what ideas have travelled and crystallised into it, how has it exchanged places and people, what are its future trajectories and what will be its eventual place in the humankind – all such questions may allow us to initiate a dialogue into the secret life of things. In their critical encounter of everyday, designers are able to communicate intimately with objects as well as swerve their destinies into new directions. Therefore, designers may often find themselves in the heart of such discourse around objects for they are active agents in their catalysis. Designers may help us look at ordinary things in new ways by shifting registers of perception and interpretation. Only if we were to hack into these non-verbal exchanges, we may be able to harness codes through which we may script or situate our everyday histories.
A conscious gaze at an object from our everyday environment may reveal to us the extraordinary genealogy that it may belong to. Only an informed reminder will help you notice, for instance, that the polyphonic beep that your washing machine emits everyday or the melody you mindlessly engage on the elevator is a potential composition derived from the oeuvre of a great Renaissance musician!,
Home is the inevitable locus of everyday design, it is a default museum. It is the place where we curate our lives.
Only should we be considerate that the plastic chairs we bought over an online sale, or the inherited metal pots in which we cook our everyday meal necessarily belong to a definite lineage of thought triggered by a forgotten author. The estrangement of the everyday then seems essential in order to look at objects through a renewed interest. How otherwise, do we celebrate the designer of our assumedly default lives that we enrobe in today? How do we locate the extraordinary within the site of everyday? In beginning to understand the design of everyday, could we even perhaps begin to design our everyday?
Our homes are filled with objects; sites where our everyday primarily unfolds. We choose to organize it with certain specificities from past or present, by making or borrowing, of our own or received. Often, we exhibit these objects in the public domain of our domesticities or if private, visit them occasionally in solitude. In such publicization and preservation, we produce value for things as human beings, beyond its utility or exchange. Could our homes yield objects that could be considered for a common, collective history? Could we create a repository of objects from our homes through which we could reconstruct past systems of meanings? Could an archive like such, allow a movement of thoughts within which a larger community can participate and produce an everyday of design?
This project is an invitation to designers and thinkers who may share with us objects around which they live their everyday, those that inspire their lives. It is aimed at generating a humble dialogue between designers and larger public towards discovering common histories and excavating shared meanings through objects that index both - our inner and outer lives. This archive of everyday objects is imagined as a kaleidoscopic apparatus through which the diversity of our lives may be stitched together into tapestry of interwoven idea and thoughts. Conceptualised amidst the crisis of the pandemic 'Life with/in Objects' provokes a new inquiry into our forced domesticity - a space shaped by the secret life objects. In such instances of uncertainty and anxiety, we must find ourselves indulging closely in objects we live with, those we have collected, crafted or even inherited. This project invites you into a journey through a collection of objects that bring value, thereby infusing meaning into the muted mutterings of life.