UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
CRITIC. FERDA KOLATAN
PARTNER. YUHANG HE
This project was a precursor to the Museum of Useless Things, in which we were striving to create a methodology of building via the combination of disparate parts and banal componentry. The result from this study was a means of hybridizing typically different types of objects with occasional disregard to how they normally operate, i.e. scale, material, systemic framework, and context.
These objects evolved from the collection of various disparate objects found on Alibaba, studying their individual qualities (profile, edge, crease, and seam) and using those qualities to blend and morph each object into each other, creating new hybrid objects. The hybrids retain qualities that reference their component parts, and when partially viewed, those parts are largely evident, but when viewed as the new wholes in which they are, they become new objects with an entirely new set of relationships and peculiar character. A character that hopefully borrows from and defies categorical distinctions.
Identifying what gave character to the Alibaba objects was critical in understanding that object’s signature. This signature quality was then used as the impetus to hybridize it with other objects, in which continuity of that quality carried from one object into the next. Carrying a strong sense of self which then gradually was dispersed into the next.Additionally, the hybrids estrange themselves from the functions and use from which they came. By being able to reference the functions of their components, one can speculate on the use, context and origin of the resultant hybrid object.