“It takes 1/3 of a second for a consumer to make a decision.”
A decision to buy.
Since the beginning of MISSHAPEN, my creative practice has been motivated by a critical approach towards the importance of jewellery in the lives of “ordinary” people.
I was never fond of dressing up. If I did, it felt ill-fitting. So, I ask myself, why do people set out to burden themselves with unnecessary things in the literal sense of the word? We “dress up” in earrings, rings, tiaras, etc. We have long “undressing” procedures before going to bed. And in the morning – it’s all over again. Following the trends of today, jewellery is rather chunky and exuberant. So, how much jewellery weight do we put and carry on ourselves every day as a part of our uniqueness?
When discussing jewellery, I often hear the opinion that it decorates and makes a person unique. Yes, I agree – decorates. But what if we did not need to dress up, nor did we follow those strange evening-morning rituals? What if we were outstanding by being ourselves? If those around me complimented the thought I had expressed or the long-delayed work that I had finally completed? What if that makes me exceptional? I do not claim that such compliments are absent; however, they are scarce compared to those about our furnishings.
Today, considering the raised questions, I am content with my creative choice for a new collection – not to create another piece of jewellery. It is a necessity of which I am in doubt both globally and individually. When I started thinking about the new MISSHAPEN collection, I didn’t have the idea of not realising it at all. While doing the research, both my opinion and the approach have changed. My initial idea of a personalised collection was to involve the consumer in the creative process and create a connection between a person and an object, this way increasing its value. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that this was just another form of marketing manipulation. The acquired knowledge has given me the chance to recognise that personalised design is just another way to encourage consumption. My choice now is not to be a part of it.
During the research, I also realised that it is the ethical rather than the aesthetic values of jewellery that are important to me. The latter, by the way, changes and disappears very quickly with today’s trends, fast consumption, and the desire to have more and more. Therefore, the collection does not speak about the symbolic meaning of jewellery, but rather about today’s excessive consumption.
1/3 of a Second is a collection that you cannot buy. It is a collection that does not encourage consumption and hopefully helps to awaken awareness within us.
1/3 of a Second is built on the principles of critical design.
According to Malpass, “Critical design practices seek to disassociate users from conventional ways of consumption. Critical design aims to make things unrecognisable and strange, allowing us to think about how we might use and design objects in different ways. Analysing the habits of the consumer society becomes an important feature of the practice. In addition, breaking away from conventional practices provides an opportunity to observe and evaluate new user experiences and impressions and transform them into new knowledge.” (Malpass, Critical Design in Context: History, Theory, and Practices).
1/3 of a Second is a collection consisting of a single object – a CROWN. It is an authentic, anthropological study of jewellery and a unique object.
A crown, as an object, was not chosen by chance. This is a symbol of my critical approach towards jewellery since the jewellery has no meaning or influence in the lives of “ordinary” people. This is important to me because I consider myself to be ordinary. In addition, historically, a crown is a symbol of power and status, with which I do not agree. I believe that power and status should not be determined by precious metals and stones but rather by our actions, character traits, and abilities.
1/3 of a Second is a collection based on art research, new findings and the formation of a new approach. The collection raises the question of why we act in one way or another and how our choices are controlled by external stimulation.
With this collection, I take a look at the choices we make as consumers, what drives them, and why we make so many impulsive and unconscious decisions. As part of my artistic research, I delved into what happens in the brain when the impulse to buy is evoked and to do that I explored different areas such as Neuromarketing, Consumer Behaviour, Fashion Trends, Personalised Design, and Neuroscience, which helped me to answer the main questions of the collection: Why and how much are we consuming today? What could we do differently and consciously?
Rethinking the origins of jewellery when it was used as a guide to identify the tribe or even served a mystical purpose – it was an amulet, a stone that protected against the evil eye and misfortune. Jewellery has changed a lot since its inception as it has lost its original idea and function. It has become a means of showing status, an expression of luxury and financial well-being, or a symbol of following fashion trends.
The first phase of the object: 3D printing
As a combination of an artefact collection and 1/3 of a Second research, I decided to create what I believe to be the most impractical and unnecessary piece of jewellery – a crown. On the other hand, it is an object that historically is an important symbol of luxury, power, and status.
In the days when people lived in castles and spent their free time feasting, even then, few or only one person in a large gathering had the opportunity and resources to wear a crown to show off. Seeing the irony in certain royal historical facts, I specifically chose the crown as an object to generalise the artistic research, since the MISSHAPEN crown cannot be purchased and appropriated.
The crown was created by rethinking the historical aspects of jewellery, which had long been lost in the mists of time until recently. In 2004, a science magazine published a 77,000-year-old finding in Blombos Cave, South Africa. It was identified as a piece of jewellery that showed signs of wear and the cord, on which the 44 shells were strung, had traces of ochre that must have been left over from dyeing the necklace or human skin. This find greatly expanded the history of jewellery. Moreover, another article about 8 eagle claws aged approximately 130 thousand years found in what is now Croatia appeared in 2015. It can be concluded that this item was worn by a Neanderthal. All prehistoric archaeological findings show that the first jewellery, regardless of which continent of the world it was found in, was similar and had a similar meaning. They are made of shells, teeth, horns, claws, and stones. It is very likely that these pieces had a magical function, and provided protection or healing powers.
The second phase: processing of the 3D printed model / preparation for casting.
Using the aforementioned scientific discoveries and my understanding of the importance of jewellery today, I created the crown as a collection of artefacts that interweave elements of nature: shells, claws, and horns, which intertwine with what they are supposed to protect against – snakes, devils, and the single eye symbol. These historical discoveries have encouraged me to create and interpret the meaning of jewellery in my own way. As a consumer, I would like to wear a piece that not only decorates the outside but also encourages conversation and holds more than 130 000 years of history within.
Final phase: The Crown, material – bronze.