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Stories In Form — An Introduction

As the curator of Stories in Form I am thrilled to be able to introduce this exciting exhibition. So what makes this exhibition special?

I believe that a particularly exciting aspect of this exhibition is that all of the pieces on display are products – they have the potential to be manufactured in large numbers. These are the types of items that owners often seem to cherish the least because they lack personalisation.

What makes us love our belongings? Often the things we cherish the most have little monetary value but have an unseen value – they may remind us of a person, a place or a special moment. The object becomes a receptacle for stories.

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The designer can be part of this storytelling process by embedding stories in a number of ways.  Owners can then add their own experiences to the product’s story. This is the foundation of the work exhibited in Stories in Form.

The exhibition explores four key ways designers and owners can embed stories in a product - Narrative, Manufacture, Interaction and History. Five outstanding Australian designers (bernabeifreeman, Cinnamon Lee, Ben McCarthy, Elliat Rich and Henry Wilson) have put these ideas to the test.

The narrative approach is concerned with ideas that have inspired the product. Designers often call this underpinning inspiration precedent. The narrative approach is a technique often explored in the early phases of the design process.

The manufacture approach is as its name suggests, concerned with how the product is made. Who made it? How did they make it? What materials were used? How were these materials used in unexpected ways?

Interaction is an approach carefully designed into the product but enacted by the owner. The designer decides what intended interaction might occur and the changes that result in the product.

Finally, a product can communicate stories using the history approach. A designer may use a pre-loved element in a product that retains stories from its past life. But more often the history approach is focused on the owner of a product and the memories that the product generates for them. Please help the products in the exhibition to acquire a history by leaving your responses to them online.

I hope you will enjoy the exhibition as much as I have working on its development.

Stories in Form is at Object Gallery from 27 January 2012 to 24 March 2012. For more information, click here.

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