Designed Objects for Environmental Equilibrium explores concepts of climate and balance via a mechanical index system that measures and transmits change.
Consisting of a homing device and three portable detectors, the system visualizes different levels of indoor and outdoor environmental elements. Through visualization and comparison, the device allows people to understand their environment better. It speculates upon a future where people need devices such as these to monitor the continuously changing climate.
Dimension / 8.6"*7.5"*17", 20",23"
Designer / Jia-Sheng Chen
Year / 2022
Human Behavior Research
In this project, I started from my experience, perspective, and identity. As my growth experience and position, I noticed the importance of “ the concept of balance” interweaved in my life - the balance interconnected with all things, which required significant effort to maintain. I will discuss the topic of balance in three different fields: 1. Visualization, analyzing historical and contemporary objects to collate critical elements; 2. Science, reviewing biology, evolutionary ecology, and the concept of balance in science to understand how balance is demonstrated; 3. Social science explores different studies related to balance, such as happiness and cultural differences. My goal is to create an object or a collection that presents the image of balance and forms a new visual experience, reflecting how human life interweaves with dynamic balance.
River Changes Courses
Over a period of time, rivers tend to change their course due to the rocks present at the shores. Especially in areas that experience heavy rain, rivers will take the easiest and least resistant route. The pathway that is easier to erode and cut through will be the path for the river. The speed of the flow of the river is changed due to the obstruction in the riverbed.
- Amadeus W. Grabau A Textbook of Geology (Boston: D.C. Heath & Co., 1920) 417
Dynamics of Populations
The number of insects that appear every year is different. Environmental, human, and climate factors influence every species of insects annually. Sometimes a type of insect’s number rise; sometimes, it drops, which indicates how external and internal factors interact with insects’ populations.
- Kohji Y., Masayuki Y., Motoki N., Yasuo U., Tomoyuki Y., How to analyze long-term insect population dynamics under climate change: 50-year data of three insect pests in paddy fields, 2006
Humans are creatures of habit and routine. It takes us 20 years or more to develop our adult personalities, we’re also developing behaviors and habits that will stay with us for a lifetime. Some of those behaviors and habits are not always healthy or helpful to us. Some may cause us long-term difficulties in our lives or in our relationships with others.
- Erkki Kilpinen, 2012 ,Human Beings as Creatures of Habit, University of Helsinki
In humans’ lives, we often experience multiple stages of growth and development. These stages are affected by many factors, such as ages, social states, races...etc. The concept of balance in the identity aspect is related to psychology. For example: how people use the concept of balance to interact with others, review themselves, and how cultural differences influence the way people approach to balance.
Taoism is a religion and a philosophy from ancient China that has influenced folk and national belief. Taoism has been connected to the philosopher Lao Tzu, who around 500 B.C.E. wrote the main book of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching. Taoism holds that humans and animals should live in balance with the Tao, or the universe. Taoists believe in spiritual immortality, where the spirit of the body joins the universe after death.
In Hinduism, ‘Evil’ is the state when good is not present or is ignored. It also refers to the necessary ‘bad’ things required for cosmic balance. Hindus believe in karma or ‘intentional action’. Most Hindus believe that much of the suffering they endure is a result of their own actions. Some Hindus believe natural disasters are necessary for the balance of life on Earth. For example, the fertile soil that results from volcano eruptions and rivers in flood may help to grow crops for food.
The notion that nature exists in some sort of balance, or harmony, dates back to at least the ancient Greeks. The Greek writer Herodotus, for instance, was fascinated by the apparently balanced relationship between predator and prey. Cicero, a Roman politician and philosopher, imbued the idea with religious significance, presenting it as evidence of the wisdom of a Creator.
Studies of Happiness
Every human being, no matter what culture, age, educational attainment, or degree of physical and mental development, wants to be happy. It is the common end to which all humans strive… - Braun, S. 2000, The science of happiness: Unlocking the mysteries of mood. New York: Wiley.
That is, with globalization and democratization, people around the world are becoming increasingly obsessed with their personal happiness—their subjective wellbeing.
- Mohsen J. & Dan. , 2014, Aversion to Happiness Across Cultures: A Review of Where and Why People are Averse to Happiness. P719
Reasons for Aversion to Happiness Across Cultures
•Being happy makes it more likely that bad things will happen to you
•Being happy makes you a worse person
•Expressing happiness is bad for you and others
•Pursuing happiness is bad for you and others
- Mohsen J. & Dan. , 2014, Aversion to Happiness Across Cultures: A Review of Where and Why People are Averse to Happiness.
Breaking the Consistency
In this respect, the concept of consistency underscores and presumes human rationality. It holds that behavior and attitudes are not only consistent to the objective observer, but that individuals try to appear consistent to themselves. It assumes that inconsistency is a noxious state setting up pressures to eliminate it or reduce it. But in the ways that consistency in human behavior and attitudes is achieved we see rather often a striking lack of rationality.
- The Concepts of Balance, Congruity, and Dissonance, p280
The Force of Consistency
The concepts of consistency are not novel. Nor are they indigenous to the study of attitudes, behavior, or personality. These concepts have appeared in various forms in almost all sciences. It has been argued by some that it is the existence of consistencies in the universe that made science possible, and by others that consistencies in the universe are a proof of divine power.
- The Concepts of Balance, Congruity, and Dissonance, p281
But repetition does not work to create a new equilibrium, rather it works to maintain the balanced status quo, develop a renewed equilibrium.
- Bell, 1997, Ritual: Perspective and Dimensions. New York, p39
Equilibrium is transcendence. It incorporates balance, and peace among individuals and their environment. Ritual, through its goal to achieve equilibrium, is the universal peacemaker
- Carolyn L. Smith, Ritual Objects: Absorbant Ritual, p30
Red Queen Hypothesis
Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place.
- Carroll, Lewis, 1991. : Alice in Wonderland, The Garden of Live Flowers". Through the Looking-Glass. Project Gutenberg.
Each species is part of a zero-sum game against other species. Which adversary is most important for a species may vary from time to time, and for some or even most species no one adversary may ever be paramount. Furthermore, no species can ever win, and new adversaries grinningly replace the losers.
- Van Valen, Leigh, 1973. "A new evolutionary law". Evolutionary Theory. 21
TO CHANGE IS TO MAINTAIN BALANCE
Equilibrium of Intangible Things
Objects we build are full of feedback loops, whether we know it or not. People who study human behavior agree that feedback loops play a critical role in what we do. From biofeedback to the quantified self, designers and psychologists alike are discovering the real power that these cyclical interactions play in shaping our day-to-day choices.
•Personal: Make people relate.
•Perceptible: Help people understand the units of measurement.
•Practical: Make the solution easy to understand.
- Susan Solomon, 2019, Ozone Hole: How We Saved the Planet.
Intangible Elements in Our Lives
People are surrounded by Intangible things that are vital for our survival. At the same time, due to human development, we are creating more and more elements that we can’t see and touch, such as, carbon dioxide, heat, radio frequency, etc.
Radio Frequency Radiation