Design research - "Tools for Intimacy"
Somehow it feels like it should be inherent inside my body to know how to treat the people close to me, but more often than not I feel confused. Actions and words seem to have different meanings between us. When this magical thing of deep mutual understanding doesn’t just happen “like it’s supposed to” we might tell ourselves it’s just not meant to be. What if instead, we see being close to another person as a continuous process of making, of building intimacy together.
What if we see intimacy as a practice. As something you perform, habitually or regularly, almost like a ritual. We can also see intimacy as something to practice. As in a skill that you repeat or exercise in order to get better at. Like learning French. To learn a skill, often you have some kind of tools to help you, be that training wheels or flipping cards for your French test. To perform a ritual, we humans naturally involve tools or objects that guide us in that ritual, hold meaning to us and set a scene. By referring to my designs as tools, connotations are work, skill and practice. Instead of the popular beliefs of “meant to be”, and effortless mutual understanding.
I learn through doing, through my senses.Could you just give me some fucking tools to deal with my life please.
“The listen closely” is an example of how a tool for intimacy could work. It tackles communication, self-disclosure, and closeness. When we talk with the person close to us we don’t always do this in the best way. This tool offers a moment in your day that you can share intimately, making sure that the other person is available and that it is a safe time to talk. A moment to reconnect, to hear and to be heard.
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The listen closely is a sketch. Its an object open for adaption and experimentation, low tech, and low key. The benefit of something not perfectly “designed” is that you can feel comfortable adding to or changing it. It is meant to be something that anyone can put their stamp on, and no two of them will be the same. With its low-cost materials and simple DIY instructions it is easily made in your own home. The manual shows the process of making in 4 easy steps. You do not need to be a crafty person to make this. There is of course an unillustrated step 5! and that is: Put it to use!
Click on the moving images below to enlarge them and read their caption.
Click here for a printable pdf of the instruction manual.