chapter  4
Contemplative Objects artefacts for challenging convention and stimulating change
Pages 13

The challenges posed by sustainability require a fundamental shift in our thinking and in our approaches to the production, use and replacement of products. Such a shift is advocated by a growing number of thinkers in both academia and industry,1, 2 many of whom suggest that change must occur at the local level rather than as, or primarily as, some large-scale project.3, 4 These directions not only cast doubt on an economic model that demands continual growth in productivity, but also imply a re-positioning of our individual relationships with products, and with material culture in general. It becomes necessary to more clearly recognize the indisputable connections between our personal workaday acts of product acquisition, use and disposal and their damaging consequences. Yet, it is the very familiarity and routineness of many of these acts that tend to work against such a recognition. To overcome this, we must make efforts to see contemporary products in a different light – for what they really are and for what they actually do – unencumbered by marketing hyperbole. The product compositions created as part

of this practice-based inquiry are one attempt to do this. They invite the viewer to see ubiquitous technological products from a fresh angle, and in so doing to refl ect upon them and their effects, as a precursor to building a more benign, more empathetic notion of material culture.