How can I show vulnerability as a designer?
I've been researching where people are vulnerable and how people protect themselves. As you see, I made sculptures which have a protective transparent second skin. And in addition also the non-visible vulnerability. The sculptures are made from plastic. The transparency is the most important thing and refers to the vulnerability.
Humans are especially vulnerable when it comes to the body, health and privacy. Touch is a major role in traceability on this part of vulnerability. It is unique by human DNA, blood type and fingerprints.
Through all innovations and digitization the experienced vulnerability increases. It is relatively easy to trace how people behave and where they are, which feels vulnerable. It can be traced very concretely like IP-addresses and coordinates of a location.
The visible but not directly tangible is quite interesting, there can be looked through us like we are transparent. Humans are sometimes not aware that protection is needed. The protection is the plastic second skin and often a third, fourth and fifth skin. Protection is necessary and desirable; so therefore the additional layers. The conscious or unconscious and may or may not be visible, I have visualized that by the transparent and non-transparent plastic. We kept everything private.
While editing some self-made photos of tests, I directly fell on my own fingerprints, because what is more personal than this? Fingerprints are for me more then only a touch. But where did I had to deal with touches? On the volleyball court, while traveling, at the hospital, with my friend and when I was a baby.
During my vacation in Brazil we visited an non profit organization who do organize a program of education and sport for those poor young people from the slums (Favelas) of Rio de Janeiro, so they get a chance for a better future. We only met these children for a few minutes and the children were immediately embraced and wanted to hold our hands.
They wanted to touch us because of our different hair and skin and to make contact. The young people who participate in the project are strongly protected, and that has a direct connection with privacy. Also, when we were in the slums we are protected and explicitly instructed.
We were in a small part of the Favela where we walked unprotected and were not allowed to post photos online.
In the favelas, young people and their families have to deal with poverty/ aggression/ anxiety/ drugs/ violence and corruption. The appearance of the police is powerful but still there are riots. Murders are committed on a regular base and violence due to drugs and prostitution is just normal for them. There is insufficient grip on what is happening in the Favela's. Much remains invisible, especially the children remain vulnerable.
I added this location to my project. The coordinates on the figure are the place where we met all those young kids. I inked the coordinates black because it is a dark and gritty place where you can’t be without a guide or a well known. During our visit to the Favela's, we were absolutely not too far in to the Favela's for our own safety.
There happening to many things that we can’t see and absolutely do not want to see. The white closed and non-transparent sculpture are this unknown, subconscious, non-visible part of the favelas.
The children were so pure and I'd prefer to protect all those children against all these influences. This project got more depth for me by connecting it to an situation or place where I’ve been.
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