How much can a few oddly functioning objects tell us, about the written and unwritten rules and conventions revolving around the world of artifact? The on-the-verge-, in-between-, half-, unhandy-, surprisingly-, weirdly- or not-at-all-functioning objects – or is that even possible?
Through a series of 10 short-stories, the term Shift Spectrum is introduced. An objects journey from fully functioning (as its initial intention) to the broad field of “what else” during which the object behaves as a sort of “social agent”. Where the object speaks back to us and we listen creating a two way dialog which reflects, sometimes in confronting ways, the useful and personal values we imbue objects with. Whether in a dry product description or the object becoming a protagonist, an object narrative power is prominent in the text.
The examples given are both historical and contemporary, ranging from a tent peg, a kitchen chair, a warming pan and a Neapolitan coffee pot to a name a few.
Handing the thesis over to William Jacobson to design it was a way of taking a distance to the text and another dialog, this time between my text and his design was created. His choice of making the cover sealed, puts the reader immediately in a position of questioning the object, even before starting to read.
This thesis became a theoretical foundation for my graduation work, Sauðfjarveikivarnagirðing. A story of a broken down fence in the highland of Iceland. It wasn’t until after writing the thesis that I was able to go back to the material I had gathered a year earlier about the fence and contextualize it.