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UAL Research Online

Archaeology of the Invisible Collection: 'Sustaining Desire, the Chair as Cultural, Ecological and Visual Narrative'

Ball, Ralph and Naylor, Maxine (2004) Archaeology of the Invisible Collection: 'Sustaining Desire, the Chair as Cultural, Ecological and Visual Narrative'. [Show/Exhibition]

Type of Research: Show/Exhibition
Creators: Ball, Ralph and Naylor, Maxine

This collection comprises of 10 unique ‘chair constructs’ developed through research project co-authored with Professor Maxine Naylor (University of Brighton).

The ‘chairs’ divide into three generic subgroups – ‘plastic shell stacking chair’, ‘plastic mono-bloc garden chair’ and ‘office chair’. The project investigates how reflective design articulated directly through artefacts may be used rhetorically to bring sustainability and revaluing what we already have into critical focus. Using an experimental method analogous to archaeology, common chair forms metaphorically lost to awareness because of their anonymous ubiquity were (in archaeological reverse play) deconstructed to discover why they were overlooked.

The resulting parts inventory formed the basis of speculative modification and reassembly. Speculations were rigorously situated within the examined object’s specific culture. This strategy generated new yet authentic ‘chairs’ expressing valid formal narratives.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

‘24 Star’ and ‘GreyStack’ in Permanent Collection FRAC (Fonds regional d’art contemporain) France 2006.

Ralph Ball

Current Research

I define my research activity as critical design practice. My research draws on rhetorical themes and axioms specific to Modernism, Postmodernism and contemporary design. This research is articulated through the generation and realisation of artifacts, which investigate, illuminate and question design culture. I call this activity 'Design Poetics.' Design Poetics forms an experimental, continuously evolving series of objects and collections, which act as commentaries and contemplations on the culture of Modernism, Postmodernism and contemporary design. The work specifically rejects the discrete distinctions of Art, Craft and Design. It explores the conceptual, provocative and lyrical possibilities of the spaces in between. Drawing on rhetorical themes and axioms specific to Modernism and design culture (Form follows Function, Less is More, Decoration and Crime, Transparency, Multi-function etc) object typologies and generic forms characteristic of the modern furniture/lighting genre are re-examined. These rational and reductive axioms are co-opted to endorse paradox and legitimize the invention of formal incongruities, rational irrationalities or poetic transgressions. Ironic iconics: the pieces are self consciously introspective and are made to reflect upon themselves and the culture that supports them.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 1 April 2004
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Related Exhibitions: 'Le design, c’est le design' Mouvements Modernes Gallery, Paris. Jan 2005, 'Free Radicals' The Hub, Sleaford. April 2005, ‘Poetics of the Everyday’ Podium Gallery, Mackintosh Glasgow School of Art. Jan 2006, ‘Sièges Avec Vue’ 1st International Festival of Design, Villa Noailles, Hyeres. July 2006, 'IN Construction’ Spring Gallery, New York. May 2007
Related Publications: International Design Yearbook 2005. Marcel Wanders (ed)
Event Location: Salone Satellite, Milan International Furniture Fair, Italy
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2009 09:22
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2014 10:54
Item ID: 1061
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1061

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