After settling into my second semester working on this project, I realized that I wanted to reduce my reliance on ferrofluid (and the glass vessels it necessitates) by creating a more speculative line that attempts to recall the ferrofluid (both its aesthetic and the conceptual elements I like) in a more derivative way. I decided to sketch a contemporary line of jewelry where only one piece, the crown jewel/couture piece, uses ferrofluid, and the rest feature resin crystal with ferrofluid-inspired 3d printed embedments.
Although this feels like a departure from where I ended the first semester, I realized that it is relatively full circle to where this sustained inquiry began– my interest in creating mesmerizing suspended animations within resin, and my lifelong fascination with crystal formations. Additionally, the nostalgic aesthetic will transcend from last semester to this semester in a way that unifies my thought process.
For the science fair I prepared a prototype of the the dangly ear cuff and brought along some other material tests to create the nostalgic sugary gradient on the crystal settings. I also prepared the above mockups to indicate the scope of my project. Inspired by my Speculative Science Fiction academic elective class, I crafted the following script to present along side my WIPs.
My project is a collection of future talismans called STONEDALONE, which try to reconcile the sometimes conflicting relationship between technology and precious analog objects. It will ultimately take the form of a jewelry line targeted at wearers in this day and age.
It’s apparent to me that technology in our life time alone has defined how we value things— we throw out the old in favor of keeping up with the new, emphasis is on progress, and we tend to settle for nothing less. Technology makes analog objects seem less precious. Maybe in this day and age we’re able to maintain a relationship with a necklace that our grandmother passed down to us—something that we’ve always cared about— but it’s certainly hard to ascribe meaning to a brand new object that lacks that familiar history.
The design challenge of my project is to use digital fabrication methods to create a line of jewelry that approximates that which is hand-made, naturally occurring, and spiritually charged, to explore the emerging role of technology in the creation of contemporary talismans. Even though the talismans of yesteryear were passed down by family members or shamans—if our obsession with technology is any indication—it’s possible that future talismans could be born on a Makerbot bed. I’m exploring modern fabrication of talismans through mixed media and derivative 3d printing techniques.
The visual concept of STONEDALONE is inspired by an imagined dystopian world where spirituality and talismans are paramount to human existence. In this dystopian future, anthropogenic activity has ruined both natural resources and human health—the only uncontaminated resource is magnetic iron ore fossilized within bionic crystals, and the people, after a life of chronic illness, die young. They live out their days seeking relief through self-medication (elixirs, detoxifying magnets, recreational drugs), and reconciling their imminent death by attempting to contact the recently departed. They wear vessels of ferrofluid for magnetic stimulation as a form of detoxifying therapy and a means of conjuring the spirits of their loved ones.
The speculative nature of this collection is intended to make peace with the facets of technology that concern me, and apply them directly to the sense of sentimentality and spiritualism I fear we’re losing.