> Of Instruments and Archetypes

Project in collaboration with Unfold Jesse Kirschner
Nominated for the Design Museum London, Designs of the Year 2015 

Since the late 1960’s researchers have been experimenting with graphical user interfaces to make computers more accessible to non specialists. Early graphical interfaces had to be invented from scratch, and one popular way to deal with the abstract nature of ‘the digital’ was to work with metaphors. The prevailing ‘desktop’ metaphor has now become one of the most recognisable interface analogies, treating the computer monitor like the user’s physical desktop. In this way, objects such as documents and folders can be placed in filing systems, relatable to the prior paper systems commonly used in the office. The same unifying concepts were applied to creative programs. Drawing and painting applications use familiar ‘real world’ tools from the artists workshop, like a pencil, paintbrush, spray can, paint bucket and so on, translating them into digital counterparts with similar functions.

In this project, we explore the possibilities of taking back these non physical tools, and returning them to the real world without losing their digital functions. This resulted in a range of measuring tools; a calliper, measuring tape and protractor, that translate real-time measurements to the screen by manually using a tool on an existing material or object. Through this project, measuring becomes something without numbers, but with hand-held precision, where measuring becomes making. These tools can then be used for designing CAD objects for 3D printing that has to connect to actual things and environments.

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Instruments and Archetypes 1
of Instruments and Archetypes caliper : © foto by David Peskens
Instruments and Archetypes 2 Instruments and Archetypes 3 Instruments and Archetypes 4.1 Instruments and Archetypes 5 Instruments and Archetypes 6 Instruments and Archetypes 7  Instruments and Archetypes 9   Instruments and Archetypes 12
Photographs by Dries Verbrugen and David Peskens
Movie by Joris Peskens