Cabinet of wonders originated in the 1900s to showcase the wonders in a rich man's collection. The cabinet mostly consisted of unique spices, ancient armors, precious stones, and geological items of interest. I took this idea of displaying items in a cabinet to analyze the items I own.
The goal of this project is to analyze myself as a system through different lenses.
2018, 4 weeks
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We live in a world surrounded by hundreds and thousands of systems. But what exactly is a system? System is a combination of services or interactions to reach a specific goal. In today’s world, systems work in harmony to be a part of the greater picture.
Similarly, systems are also parts of an individual’s life. We all have things that make up and shape our lives. In this document, I am going to analyze the objects that make up my life, which is a system, through eight different lenses: Emotional, educational, religious, linguistic, physical, technological, economic, and social.
In order to have a better understanding of who I am as a person and to analyze the systems around me, I am going to go in depth of each object.
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02. Sloth and Unicorn Stuffed Animals (2018~2019) — Emotional, Social & Economic Lens
I like to go to bed with my stuffed animals. The fluffy little balls provide emotional comfort, and I like giving them a hug. I labeled these objects under emotional lens, but they also have association with social and economic lenses.
I got the sloth stuffed animal during design Secret Santa 2018. It is an object that has special memories for me. I bought the unicorn doll from Target around December of 2018. By purchasing the stuffed animal, I was engaged in an economic system, and it shows that I am financially capable of getting a stuffed animal.
03. Pencil case: pens, markers, color pencils, and an eraser (2019) – Educational Lens
I carry around two pencil cases when I go to classes. My everyday essentials are in the translucent plastic one: Those pens, color pencils, and markers are the one that I use in almost every class. The pencil case on the bottom photograph holds color pencils, markers, and different types of pens – which I occasionally use but do not use it on an everyday basis.
These objects have a significant impact on my life, because I would not be able to study without my pencil cases. They allow me to write down the things I learn every day, so I can recall the information later. They are a part of my educational system.
04. Sketchbook for Collaborative Visualizing, Design Lab, and Systems (2018~2019) – Educational Lens
These sketchbooks are a close part of my education system, because I use them everyday to take class notes, study the form, sketch, and write down my ideas. They help me stay organized and stay on track. They also act as an evidence of my growth, as they allow me to flip back to earlier sketches and notes. Likewise, without the objects that make up the education system, I would be very a very different person.
05. A bible app within my phone (2018) – Religious & Technological Lens
Although I labeled this object as a religious lens, I percieve that it also has a strong correlation with technological lens, because I am accessing the informaiton through my phone. Without my phone, I would not have been able to access the text – otherwise, I would have to get a physical copy of the bible.
I still percieve that the religious lens is stronger than the technological lens, because I wanted the focus of this object to be on my religion, rather than the technology itself. For me, Christianity had a stronger impact on my life than my phone. It has shaped me who I am today.
06. My friends’ names in Korean (2000~2019) – Linguistic & Social Lens
I grew up speaking Korean at home, and I still speak Korean with my parents. Being able to speak two different languages has influenced the way of thinking, speaking, and processing information.
Because I don’t speak Korean with my friends, speaking Korean is a family-exclusive activity for me. In that sense, my lingusitic abilities may also have something to do with the social lens.
07. Pouch: Eyedrops, snacks, lipsticks, lip balms & hand lotion (2018~2019) – Physical & Economic Lens
I have a small pouch with me when I go to places to fulfill my physical needs. I carry eyedrops, snacks, lipsticks, lip balms, and hand lotion. These are my essentials during the day, and I would often get annoyed if I do not have an eyedrop or a lipbalm when I need it. These objects make me feel like I am taking a good care of myself, as they help me keep the day going.
These objects can also be seen through the economic lens, as possessing these objects reveal that I am capable of purchasing and actively engaging myself in the economic system.
08. Wallet: Keys, art store card, insurance card, debit cards, ID card, and cash (2019) – Economic, Educational, Technological & Social Lens
The objects in my wallet are strongly associated with the complicated invisible economic system. Nowadays, I use my debit card more often than cash, so I only carry around a small amount of cash with me. It is crazy how many different levels of systems the card goes through when I purchase something.
Although the wallet itself has a strong corrolation with economy, some of the objects in my wallet can also be observed through the social lens. For example, my insurance card makes up a part of my social identity. Additionally, this wallet can be seen through educational lense. The two keys in the photo are for CMU freshmen design studio. The things I carry in my wallet are associated with various lenses.
09. Social Lens that encompass my world view
While analyzing the objects, I also realized that all the things in my cabinet can be seen through the social lens. They make up my identity and has shaped me who I am today. It is hard to say that my life would have been completely different without these objects, but I do know that these objects have influenced me in various ways.
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My culture, value, and identity are strongly shaped by the objects and lenses in my cabinet. My culture and identity as a Korean American teenager is shaped by the languages I speak, which can be percieved through the linguistic lens, the people I interact, and the area of studies in college. Similarly, my values are influenced by my education, religion, and physical and psycological well-being. At this point, I believe that my values are set and will probably not change a lot in the future.
Although the objects in my cabinet have a great significance in my life, they are closer to being symbols of my values. For example, my psychological well-being is represented through stuffed animals in the cabinet, but in the future, they could be replaced by a person, an object, or a memory. The same idea applies to my sketchbooks, which represent my education and growth, the pouch that fulfills my physical needs, and the wallet, which symbolizes my involvement in economy. Hence, I do not think me as a system will change drastically even when the components of my cabinet change: The new component will probably have a similar or greater value in my life than the replaced object. Yet, the bible, which can be seen through the religious lens, is an excpetion of the explanation above. I do not expect nor want the text to be replaced by another object. Christianity has greatly influenced my life, and I will continue to appreciate the values, which have made my identity.
Overall, this has made me become more conscious about the objects, lenses, values, and the systems surrounding my life. I am happy that I now have a better understanding of myself.