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Understanding Objects

Pactum Areas, Archetypes and Metaphors

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Understanding Objects

  1. 1. Objects in Context: Pactum Areas, Archetypes and Metaphors Based on “Contributions for an Anthropology of Design” by Dr. Fernando Martín Juez
  2. 2. Basic Definitions <ul><li>Pactum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agreement, contract, covenant, pact </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Archetype </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Original model or type, quintessence, original </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Metaphor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One thing conceived as representing another </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Ap Ap Ap Ap
  4. 4. Ap(p) Ap(s) Ap(s) hierarchy Ap(p) Ap(d) Ap(s) Ap(d)
  5. 5. Ap(p) Ap(s) Ap(s) Ap(d) hierarchy Ap(p) Ap(d) Ap(s)
  6. 6. context Ap(p) Ap(s) Ap(s) hierarchy Ap(p) Ap(d) Ap(s) Ap(d) meanings*
  7. 7. ‘ normal’ context new context old meanings* new meanings* new meanings*
  8. 8. <ul><li>An object is an entity laden with attributes, deeply interlinked externally and internally, through its parts or components to other objects and events. </li></ul><ul><li>The functional groupings of such components present boundaries of dynamic nature, and are called the “pactum areas” of the object. </li></ul><ul><li>Pactum areas characterise an object as a unit (inside), and determine their performance in relation to their context (outside). </li></ul><ul><li>A pactum area is a region where ordered (agreed) relations can be identified. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Consider any object, irrespective of its number of components, its size, its complexity, its value… focus on its main function: the purpose for which it was conceived. </li></ul><ul><li>Now imagine what would happen if we remove one component after another until only the minimum necessary elements remain which make the object perform its main function. What is left is called the “primary pactum area”, whilst all the stripped components make up the “secondary pactum areas” of the object. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Mug primary pactum area: container <ul><li>secondary pactum areas: </li></ul><ul><li>handle </li></ul><ul><li>base </li></ul><ul><li>colour </li></ul><ul><li>decorations </li></ul><ul><li>edge </li></ul>
  11. 11. primary pactum area: lifting and moving loose material (half a dozen secondary pactum areas) (one or two secondary pactum areas)
  12. 12. primary pactum area: striking head determinant secondary pactum area: handle A secondary pactum area is determinant when the primary pactum area is useless without it
  13. 13. <ul><li>Pactum areas are interesting because they reveal the emphases made by the beliefs, habits and skills of a community or a novel interpretation by some of its members. </li></ul><ul><li>The primary pactum area of an object houses its why and its what for . </li></ul><ul><li>Often, the interface elements (human-object or object-context) define the secondary pactum area(s) of an object. </li></ul><ul><li>Also, decorative elements often constitute secondary pactum area(s), but sometimes these are determinant. </li></ul>
  14. 14. primary pactum area: container secondary pactum areas: handle, base, colour, decorations, edge in both cases, “edge” is determinant
  15. 15. <ul><li>Designers are good at transforming secondary pactum areas to generate multiple versions. </li></ul><ul><li>Innovations are radical transformations applied over primary pactum areas; usually new categories of objects are created this way. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Every pactum area includes its own archetypes and metaphors. </li></ul><ul><li>There are three types of archetypes: </li></ul><ul><li>source archetypes ( nature fact) </li></ul><ul><li>bio archetypes ( mime fact) </li></ul><ul><li>techno-cultural archetypes ( arte fact) </li></ul><ul><li>There are two types of metaphors: </li></ul><ul><li>natural metaphors </li></ul><ul><li>socio-cultural metaphors </li></ul>
  17. 17. source archetype bio archetype techno-cultural archetype (5,000 years old)
  18. 18. <ul><li>Metaphors emerge from pactum areas. </li></ul><ul><li>We understand objects through metaphors (references to other ideas, events or things). </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphors enable a conversation (with other people or ourselves) about the object. They provide a reference that is useful when we meet new objects. </li></ul><ul><li>Social groups develop shared metaphors (paradigms). Individuals develop their own metaphors (object attachments). </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphors are always incomplete and situationalists (valid within a given context). </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Designers reflect and make metaphors explicit in order to understand them, to generate transformations, and to reflect on their consequences. </li></ul><ul><li>Archetypes and metaphors are dynamic. Designers work on their evolution and their adaptation to society. </li></ul><ul><li>Some metaphors persist in objects even after several transformations. The phylogeny (evolutionary history) of an object explains some pactum areas and their metaphors. </li></ul>
  20. 20. The phylogeny of this object shows that even after a radical change of material, unnecesary weaving patterns persist.
  21. 21. <ul><li>A useful design method is to go back to the first-generation archetypes and metaphors of an object in order to understand its origins. This often yields rich, meaningful proposals. </li></ul><ul><li>The “Anthropology of Design” shows how collective as well as individual metaphors are of key importance in the design of objects (beyond functional criteria). </li></ul><ul><li>An object is a mirror: it links us with others and with ourselves through dynamic references. </li></ul><ul><li>Objects are also ideas, metaphors good for thought. </li></ul>
  22. 22. abc  xyz abd  …
  23. 23. <ul><li>Q: When does the (English) alphabet have only 25 letters? </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Q: When does the (English) alphabet have only 25 letters? </li></ul><ul><li>A: At Christmas time, because it is the time of Noel. (No L) </li></ul>
  25. 25. alphabet: a, b, c… l Christmas: Noel
  26. 26. <ul><li>Q: What did the ocean say to the beach? </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>Q: What did the ocean say to the beach? </li></ul><ul><li>A: Nothing, it just waved! </li></ul>
  28. 28. ocean, beach, wave to wave, to say “hi”
  29. 29. <ul><li>Teacher: How can you prevent diseases caused by biting insects? </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>Teacher: How can you prevent diseases caused by biting insects? </li></ul><ul><li>Student: Don't bite any. </li></ul>
  31. 31. insects that bite people people who bite insects
  32. 32. sustainability
  33. 33.
  34. 34.
  35. 35.
  36. 36. creativity
  37. 37.
  38. 38.
  39. 39.
  40. 40. Dr. Fernando Martín Juez is a professional designer, teacher and anthropologist. He is a researcher at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia. He teaches anthropology, complexity theory, chaos theory and transdiscipline applied to design. He lives in Tepoztlan. Dr. Ricardo Sosa is a former student of Fernando and now holds a PhD in computational creativity from The University of Sydney, Australia. He thinks that these ideas should be made available to wider audiences and thus decided to translate this section, hoping other designers will find it useful.