Deconstructing Materiality: Erasing the Line Between Digital and Physical

Presenter: Nina Shabalina

Research Category: Humanities and Arts
Student Type: Graduate
PI: Nina Shabalina
Award Winner Category: Humanities and Arts

In our consumerist society, we value immediacy, cheapness, and large variety of products. Even today’s architecture often is not built to last: new constructions require major renovations within the first 20 years of their lives and every new inhabitant transforms the interior. Most of the materials used for interior finishes have a life span that far exceeds these numbers, and, as a result, all these materials inevitably end up in a waste pile with each rapid change.

Throughout centuries people have attributed a negative connotation to imitative materials, but lately with the rise of environmental consciousness as well as a need for even faster turnover of products, faux materials have stepped into the niche of high fashion. While world-famous fashion houses proudly showcase fake leather and fur goods, their ideas about luxury interiors have not changed.

This project poses an argument about society’s outdated thinking about materiality. While the experience of shopping has changed, our idea of interiors and materials have stayed relatively conservative. Four senses influence our understanding of material: sight, touch, smell and hearing. By mismatching and deconstructing the elements of a material that responds to these senses we can create new forms of material imitation and begin to erase the line between physical and intangible material qualities while simultaneously reducing waste.