Strangely Familiar


Strangely Familiar – Unusual Objects for Everyday Life.

Taking cue from either a telephone, radio, answering machine or alarm clock, the students at Interaction-Ivrea have created a series of electronic interactive prototypes that amplify the lost qualities of the physical and tangible world. From a radio which can only be tuned by moving it across a flat surface, to an audio channel system which is always switched on just like a physical chat room, to an alarm clock that turns itself off by squeezing a teddy bear, the variations upon the theme are several. As always, each project has been conceived, developed and prototyped as a fully functioning device.

Video By Simone Muscolino

Our everyday domestic lives are saturated with digital circuits; we find them in our washing machines, radios, toasters, alarm clocks and telephones. Often manufacturers load superfluous features into a single device, complicating operations. In addition, devices often converge so that the personality of each object becomes blurred. For example, our mobile phone is now also a calculator and a camera (as well as the ubiquitous alarm clock, address book, videogame). The project of Interaction-Ivrea is to rethink everyday digital devices found in the domestic environment, and produce solutions that provide more meaningful and poetic interactions.

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The ideas on show were generated during a four week class ‘Strangely Familiar: Repurposing Everyday Devices’ led by Heather Martin, Reto Wettach, Massimo Banzi and Yaniv Steiner. The work was then developed for a further two weeks during an Applied Dreams Workshop, led by Heather Martin, Massimo Banzi and Dario Buzzini. Special thanks go to Edoardo Brambilla for the modelmaking throughout the project.