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"perfection" Tag

a plastic world

Sunday, February 18, 2018

When you look around in the modern world, the plastic materials by which it is formed are inevitable to the eye.
From everyday objects like the interior of households and infrastructural facilities to the sex industry and medical surgery, synthetics have become a big part of humans and the human/animal world.
But how did this came to be and what will the future be of this plastic world with its benefits and downsides.


alexander farkefarkesine

(left- Alexander Parkes, right- Parkesine objects ) 


Before plastic became fully synthetic in the way we know it nowadays, cellulose found in plants was the base material for the discovery of modern plastics.
This discovery was made in 1862 by Alexander Parkes who invented the material he named “Parkesine“.
Parkesine was made from in alcohol dissolved nitrocellulose mixed with oil or camphor wax which created a transparent, moldable material which maintained shape after cooling down.
Therefore it was used to make things like combs, stamps, and buttons.
The American brothers Hyatt picked-up this idea and created a variation of this Parkesine in 1869 they named celluloid by pulverizing camphor an nitrocellulose separately, adding pigments to the nitrocellulose, after mixing it was pressurized to remove water and then molded with extreme heat.
It was used as a replacement for ivory, specifically ivory billiard balls.
Celluloid became a great success and eventually made it possible for the film industry to be born.


celluloid film   bakelite factory

(left-celluloid film, right-bakelite factory)


These two inventions can be seen as the ancestors of the modern plastic society, nevertheless, it only came to be because of the first fully synthetic plastic, meaning no molecules that can be found in nature are used.
This first fully synthetic plastic was called Bakelite.
Invented in 1907 in the USA by Leo Baekeland in the search for a synthetic insulator, he found a way to control the condensation reaction of a phenol-formaldehyde mixture and stop this reaction while remaining liquid.
This could be formed into different stages with stage A, the first stage, directly making it into usable plastic.
Stage B, making it into a solid state with the possibility to make it into powder and soften it with heat.
Stage C is where stage A or B are being heated under pressure and the result of this is what he called Bakelite.
Bakelite appeared to be a perfectly suited material for the purpose of insulation as it was heat resistant and could be manufactured in mass-production as it could be molded quickly.

This last fact and the fact that it was fully synthetic opened the doors to a world of mass-produced synthetics, the plastic world we live in.
Soon new materials followed this creation with the invention of polystyrene in 1929 (used for electronics like refrigerators, microwaves and tv, medical equipment and packaging), polyester in 1930 (used for clothing), polyvinylchloride (PVC) (used for pipes, electrical insulation and clothing) and nylon in 1935 (mostly used for clothing and parachutes).


parachutes-255791 platsic fabriek

(left-nylon parachute, right-plastic mass-production)
During the 30’s of the 20th century, these synthetic products were seen as extremely glamorous and beautiful but still, all these materials did not completely infiltrate society during that time.
While used for a lot of military equipment during the second world war, synthetic products really became part of everyday life after the end of the war when the manufacturers of plastic products had to find a way to stay in the business and therefore aim at people and everyday life. Because of the low price, moldability and the way it could be mass-produced, it is not more than logical that plastic became such a big leading part of the capitalist consumer society.

Gueules cassees, Soldiers with severe facial injuries, First World War (photo)  brazil85

 (left- WW1 plastic surgery, right-plastic surgery movie brazil1985 )


Like the plastics, humans are moldable as well, changing along with new inventions. During the same period as the development of synthetics, doctors were forced to find a way to repair the extreme damage done to soldiers during the first world war.
Never before had there been so many heavily wounded soldiers whom all needed treatment for their facial wounds, burns and lost limbs and with the development of anesthetics, surgeons could develop new techniques without the patients experience pain during this operation.
Yet the use of plastic surgery for the beauty industry really kicked off in the 1950’s when the first breast implants were used to enlarge the female breasts.
This was done by injecting it with the liquid, synthetic plastic called silicone and in the 60’s by implanting a bag-like version.
In the 70’s liposuction (removing fat) was developed and not long after that botox was tested on humans for the first time.
Botox temporarily relaxes and smoothes wrinkles by blocking signals from the nerve to the muscles, this gives the user a smooth, young and Barbie-like face.
With this slow infiltration of plastics into the human body, the birth of the plastic human became a fact.
Largely stimulated and promoted by the cosmetic glamour industry.


platsic waste plastic ocean

(left- plastic waste mountain, right- plastic ocean)

Due to this rise of plasticity, synthetics slowly took over the world.
The waste created by the plastic consumer society has already created big islands in the ocean intervening with the animal and human world, fish-eating tiny plastic particles, humans eating fish.
Entering our body through food and cosmetic products, plastics are now even detectable in our blood influencing our hormones.
Humans becoming deformed from natural appearance due to cosmetic surgery in their striving for perfection, plastics infiltrating our body and system and the extreme use of plastic products in modern life could in my opinion only lead to the beginning of a more extreme, new plastic human being disbanded from its nature.

floris Voor

(left/right- Floris chair)

To me the in 1968 made Floris chair by Günter Beltzig, which was the starting point for this research, is the perfect example of what has happened and may come.
This chair is made out of fiber reinforced plastic and molded into an alienated human shape which could only have happened because of all the developments and inventions mentioned in the first paragraphs of this research.
The shape of the chair gives the impression that it is a plasticized human being or at least that it is made for such a human, as it seems to be made for a specific kind of person.
Like with the shoe of Cinderella, it should fit perfectly to be a match and not to lose all its comfort.
Is it not possible that it is the plastic ‘perfect’ human of the future who will fit perfectly in this piece of furniture, alienated from his natural self in its plastic world.


plastic man  perfect human


Playing God

Friday, October 19, 2012


Humans are playing God by physically and metaphorically perfecting themselves. Beauty is currently at an all time climax, allowing this project to explore what lies beyond perfection.

Just being human is not good enough anymore nor has it ever been. What is very clear is that people are not satisfied with what they were naturally born with. Neither the prehistoric cave dweller nor modern man has ever considered the human body aesthetically satisfactory. It is human nature to want to be more than what we are, and from the beginning of time we have gone to extreme measures to express on the outside how we desire to be perceived. On the surface, we are physically turning into ideal dream versions of ourselves. Being born a certain way is no longer a life sentence. We can choose exactly who we want to be. What are the possibilities of this new God-like control we have over our bodies?


Scary Beautiful challenges current beauty ideals by inflicting an unexpected new beauty standard.

Right now you can truly become more than just yourself, more than human. It’s almost as if we have shifted from reality into fantasy. The sky is the limit when it comes to controlling our own image. Being online is considered a trusted version of yourself. We are behaving as if we have robotic extensions and we can now generate body parts and also have access to the technology to obtain super powers. We now have complete power over our own image and abilities. What is currently being done and where might these God-like powers potentially lead?

Download this challanging thesis: Playing God

[top images of Leanie de Vyver's graduation show


from the jury rapport: The object created by Leanie expands the concept of a shoe into multiple new meanings. The beautifully made leather object is accompanied by a video registration of a girl wearing it. One observes the design forcing the wearer to develop a new way of walking, leaning forward while refinding a painfully fragile balance. The jury applauds the way
aesthetics, ergonomics and prothesis merge into an awkward choreography. The craftsmanship and strong conceptual way of designing also show in another work, a ceramic tea set in which reference is made to a building in South Africa. Leanie succeeds in translating political consciousness into form and is considered by the jury to be a meaningful future designer.


Grammatical System Investigation (GSI)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What is perfect? Is it complete, non-existant, precisely accurate, pure, to improve, unattainable? What are these words such as ‘perfect’ about? When it comes to communication, can language in general explain what we are trying to say? What words are chosen to express this meaning? In the historical sense grammatical languages have been developed and evolved. Is there a constant factor to be found in these different languages?

Perfect is a word from the English language. It can be a verb, a noun or an adjective. These are devisions made in the dictionary, where you can trace back words. Some words in it equal other single words, others are described by several words. This is how ‘perfect’ is equaled by several words, but for example ‘couch’ can be equaled by one word, ‘sofa’ (a type of furniture). But by referring to a couch, also the frame of the type of furniture can be aimed. In the theoretical meaning of language, ‘grammar’ is a name for the study, description and explanation for everything that involves the system of a natural language or an artificial language.

Grammar is a term derived from
the Greek word:
(grammatik techn) which means “art of letters”,
(gramma) which means “letter”,
(graphein)which means, “to draw, to write”.

To study language a structure of words and sentences are used that are defined by a set of rules. These rules can function as a sort of pattern to relate to the meaning or the logic in language. This is how a description of the word perfect could have a totally different meaning for any person individually. When a baby is born into the world, it has not learned a specific language yet. It can communicate through sounds. By repeating sounds the baby could learn a grammatical language. Other people can teach it, by using this system of words, that they once learned in the same way. Grammar can also be a way to express the system of a specific language. This can be a formal-mathematical description, a way to describe the language itself or in another language, or a combination of these forms. To translate a formal-mathematical description a formal system can be used. In grammar these systems function as well as in math and logics. They consist of the following elements:

a finite sequence of symbols that help to formulate formulas
In grammatical sense an alphabet helps to create words. Each alphabet has its own sequence of symbols. In the word p e r f e c t i o n each letter is a symbol and a part of the word or sequence.

a grammar that prescribes how well formed formulas are formulated.
The words that are put together by the letters of an alphabet according to a defined set of rules. In the following example ‘pre’ has in every word (or formule) the same quality. The rule ‘pre’ is the pattern. It can be recognized like this:

a sequence of axioma’s or an axioma schedule
This is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but self-evident.
In the formal system new expressions are being abstracted from older ones. The older expressions that assumed are called axiom’s, the new expressions are called propositions.
‘pre’ is a Latin (or Greek) prefix that is used in the Latin language as well as in English. The word ‘pre’ is equivalent to the word ‘before’, although in this sense it cannot replace ‘pre’ in the words above.

a rule that abstracts a proposition from a number of propositions
These propositions are being called premises and the subtracted proposition is called the conclusion.
“Perfect is a word” is a true proposition
“Perfect is a sentence” is a false proposition
“Perfect is cute” is a contingent or random proposition
“Is this perfect?” Is a question, not a proposition

Conclusion: ‘Perfect’ is a word, it is not a sentence. ‘Perfect’ could be called ‘cute’, although it is a random proposition that cannot truly logically define it.

In logics proposition statements are either true or false. In this way it is right to say that ‘perfect’ is a word. This does not apply for, for instance questions, desires or exclamations. If the statements are true or false can be unknown, as long as the question: ‘Is it true?’ can be asked usefully. So is it useful to ask if the proposition ‘Perfect is cute’ is true? ‘Cute’ is a adjective that describes in this context, not an equal meaning, but a subjective meaning to ‘perfect’. Also in different languages this word may have various understandings, although the same type of word is used.

The English language is spoken as a primairy language in Australia, Belize, New-Seeland, Nigeria, The United Kingdom and The United States of America. As a secondary language it is spoken in a much wider range. Almost half of the grammatical English language is originally from Germanic and Roman languages. When Germans invaded Brittain 450 After Christ, they brought their language with them and so the Old English was formed. Then the history of English evolved when colonies were founded in North-America around 1600. The language developed within a different setting. Nowadays the American English changes under the influence of media such as television and the Internet. Emigration, invasions, mass media, and for example wars have caused the absorbtion of external words into existing languages. In this sense finding the origin of words could explain something about the history of the world.

The grammatical history of the word perfection lies in the Latin word ‘perficio’; in English the meaning is ‘to finish’, ‘to bring to an end’. The word perfect (io) in this sence means literally ‘a finishing’ and perfect(us) ‘finished’.


Why take a break?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Principally, I think I am relative slow… especially in doing my assignments… my brain is running the whole period… and I can’t close down… so I need typically too long to get to the point… to say “yes” to my idea… and the longer I think about it, the more difficulty it gets… from one element to the next… in the end thousand… once I felt in love with details and complicated schemes…
Then it is in the evening, one day before the deadline and I still have to work it out… working the night through… falling asleep in the middle of all the material… glue… scissor… cutter… ruler… pencils … waking up with a piece of paper glued on my nose or somewhere else…
Sometimes I love this nights… waking up and directly start to work and in between a short rest… a complete continued circle….
Never stop before perfection?

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