Accepted paper:

On the substance of surfaces: understanding materials and design in the Pacific

Authors:

Graeme Were (University of Bristol )

Paper short abstract:

This paper approaches surfaces through an examination of the performance of materials in design. It takes as its focus coconut leaf baskets from New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. It explores the re-emergence of barkcloth in basketry design and the possibilities this offers in the social world.

Paper long abstract:

This paper approaches surfaces through an examination of their performance in design. The renewed production of a type of barkcloth (kapiak) used to wrap coconut leaf baskets (aruaai) in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea provides a fertile context to explore issues of materials selection and design thinking. The paper discusses how the production of kapiak is constrained through the availability of natural resources, technical knowledge and competing materials. By tracing out the social context of the production of aruaai, this paper demonstrates how surfaces, mind and social worlds intersect through the selection of materials and the possibilities they offer.

panel WMW12
Surfaces: contesting boundaries between materials, mind and body