Kim van Dorst
During my studies at ArtEZ I became interested in the world of the Uncanny Valley, a concept connected to the fear or discomfort we feel about humanoids’ (robots, artificial intelligence) resemblance to actual human beings. The border between reality and fiction in the Uncanny Valley and also speculative design are subjects that have always piqued my interest. These interests are visible in my work H19N12, which explores a futuristic scenario with mutated birds derived from Avian Influenza (bird flu). In this research project, I wanted to work with poultry chickens in Barneveld, the village where I grew up. The poultry industry in Barneveld is the largest of the Netherlands and this quantity of chicken brings with it a lot of dangers.
I recognized some aspects of the Uncanny Valley across my work in the graphic design department. Subliminal Foley is a project from 2018, which is a deconstruction of horror sounds produced from self-made foley sounds (breaking celery, for instance, stands in for breaking bones).The resulting abstract sounds could be made into anything, and I wanted the listener to produce their own meaning from it. I like to play with the border between comfort and discomfort and to make things that are just a bit out of place. The birds I designed in H19N12 are also recognizable as birds, but if you look closer, you will recognize different aspects which are never seen in real life. For instance, some birds have different postures, feathers, beaks, and some are even a combination of multiple bird species.
Storytelling and speculative design are methods which are important to my work as a designer because they allow me to look towards the future. In my work, I want to speculate about possible futures as a way to show undesired scenarios, and with that, redefine our relationship to reality.
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