The OWL bodyProps

A Desire to do Things Backwards.

The OWL project is inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law of Technology Prediction: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. It consists of a series of open and speculative body-devices, designed without a pre-defined function and tested as design ‘probes’ in order to ascertain what exact functionality they might have. While the initial forms emerge from an investigation of the body, their functionality are determined through use.


Test Subject #25

The project fuses fine art and contemporary design processes to arrive at ambiguous outcomes whose functionality can be ascertained ‘after the fact’ through interviews, or ‘probing’. While not necessarily anti-design, the authors’ methodology contrasts dramatically with traditional design processes, where the purpose and broad functionality of ‘that which is being designed’ is usually known in advance. In a traditional design process, the more information a designer has at their disposal about users, and the intended purpose and functionality of ‘that which is being designed’, the more likely their design response will be appropriate. While this is a valid approach for utilitarian design it comes into question when we begin to think about designing ‘sufficiently advanced technology’ or magic.


Test Subject #22

The OWL project runs through four stages of development: the creation of body worn devices, interviews and probing. The field of concerns includes enchantment and ambiguity as resources for design, encouraging ‘magical thinking’ and ‘making strange’. Twenty six interviews were undertaken, and one group interview. The raw data can be accessed here: magictechnologies.blogspot.com


[translation coming]


Test Subject #27


Test Subject #10


Test Subject #16


members of ちくは (Chikuha) dance company, Studio Imaichi, Yokohama 2010


members of ちくは (Chikuha) dance company, Studio Imaichi, Yokohama 2010


members of ちくは (Chikuha) dance company, Studio Imaichi, Yokohama 2010

Related Projects

The OWL Project
The OWL Circles