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Physicality is a language — a brief introduction

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Technology gives us too much to think about; here is a language that speaks to us anyway.

Up until digital technology created a world made of virtuality, existence was taken for granted. Yet, we still pay little attention to the physical language that feeds us a wealth of understanding. This is a language hidden in plain sight because it's almost entirely unconscious — we simply don't think about it. However, an subconscious language is valuable and powerful in an age of information overload.

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Physicality is a language — a brief introduction

  1. 1. PHYSICALITY is a language The most powerful communications tool is what you don’t think about!
  2. 2. Intro Perhaps it’s not surprising that an unintended consequence of the digital revolution is to make people more receptive to intuitive, unconscious signals — more information makes us think less.! Yet, an increasing exposure to technology is forcing a new value on an old language — the innate human ability to read meaning from the tactile qualities of everything around us. As attention becomes increasingly precious, here is a powerful way to talk to people who don’t have time to think.!
  3. 3. Everything about an object speaks to us Size Shape Material Format Texture Substance Weight Construction
  4. 4. The language is hard-wired The ability to read objects is hard-wired into every human brain. Millions of years of human evolution have honed intelligence-processes that are finely tuned to make sense of the physical world (not the digital one).!
  5. 5. Objects are like us Humans and objects are both self-contained separate entities. This seemingly obvious and unimportant characteristic defines how we see the world and our relationship to it and gives us an immediate affinity to physical things.!
  6. 6. We see the world as things We conceptualise everything into self-contained separate entities — we place boundaries around abstract ideas and concepts to understand them — think about how often you use the word things to describe separations in your mind.!
  7. 7. We learn it as infants The first concept a human infant learns is that the world around him — and including him — is made of separate entities, which he does by sticking objects in his mouth (because it’s most sensitive). As he does, he is learning the basics of the physical language. All humans learn about physicality before they learn to speak and think. !
  8. 8. Wabi-Sabi Japanese cultural concept of Wabi-Sabi sees human frailty reflected in objects — how they wear with age and ultimately deteriorate is a dignified reminder that we’re all mortal.!
  9. 9. Objects are emotive Tactile sensations are closely associated with emotions — how it feels is how it feels. ! Our relationship with objects is intimate. We project our feelings onto the things we own as a way of learning about our own emotions and ourselves. Objects root us to the world we live in — we call our possessions our belongings.!
  10. 10. Feelings really are physical Science is beginning to uncover the physiological connections between emotion and physicality. ! “Feelings are what arise as the brain interprets emotions, which are themselves purely physical signals of the body reacting to external stimuli”! Antonio R. Damasio, University of Iowa!
  11. 11. A sophisticated language Scarcity Transaction, loss and acquisition Origin and provenance Culture Intimacy Emotion Time and history Ownership
  12. 12. Everybody is fluent The ability to interpret complex meaning from physical signals isn’t restricted to age, race, background, culture or gender. All human beings share a common evolutionary ancestry and an infantile introduction to objects is one of the very few universal human experiences.!
  13. 13. We read without thinking Physical linguistics are processed unconsciously — speaking directly to our intuitive and emotional minds without cognitive intervention. !
  14. 14. A hotline to humanity Physicality transmits signals that speak directly to the unconscious processes that drive people’s lives and what makes us human.!
  15. 15. Direct emotional communication Because tactile and emotional sensations are conflated, the most effective way to articulate emotional meaning is via physical characteristics — in packaging, printed materials, artifacts and environments.!
  16. 16. Signals, not messages We pay attention to signals — even when we ignore messages.!
  17. 17. Why now The explosion of words and pictures is reducing their currency — too much to read and think about. ! Faced with endless information and choices, the natural human response to call upon faster, intuitive processes to give more immediate assessments that connect to our emotions.! The digital age needs a language we don’t think about — turns out we have one.!
  18. 18. If you want to make people feel something…
  19. 19. …give them something they can feel
  20. 20. ARTOMATIC helps companies talk to people through the human language of objects and physicality.! We create, develop and manufacture physical communications (books, packaging and artifacts) that make deep, emotional and lasting connections with their audiences and customers.! We make objects tell stories.!
  21. 21. Communications made for humans 32-38 Saffron Hill Ground floor London EC1N 8FH Tim Milne 020 7421 9369 / 07831 219335 tim@artomatic.co.uk @timARTOMATIC www.artomatic.co.uk

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