How materials and environments ‘speak’ their own languages

old set of vehicle gears

The object in the photograph appears to be some sort of gear or part of machinery. It appears to be small in size and seems to be machined from metal. I can tell that this object is mad made possibly by a CNC machine or other industrial machinery. I believe this object was made to do a specific job and play a role in a bigger part of machinery. The object appears to have been well used and has many imperfections from the natural wear and tear. It also appears to be quite rustic, which implies that it isn’t well looked after.

The question is: to what extent is the object wabi sabi?

I feel that the object in itself is the complete opposite of wabi-sabi because of its characteristics. Meaning that the object was produced to do a job, its function and utility are primary values, this is the opposite to wabi-sabi as it suggests that an objects function and utility is not so important.The object being a part of machinery, means it has geometric organisation of form (sharp, precise, definite shapes and edges). This is a characteristic of modernism. Wabi sabi on the other hand has organic organization of form (soft, vague shapes and edges). In terms of the way the object appears in the photograph, the metal looks to be rusting which means it accommodates to degradation. This is the opposite of modernism so there are some aspects of the object that can fall into the wabi-sabi category.

Overall the object falls mainly into the modernism category because its structural form and the purpose it was created, however the way the objects appears in the photograph shows imperfections and signs of wabi –sabi.


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