The self between two places: Finding connections through digital jewellery

Nantia Koulidou, Jayne Wallace, Neil Smith

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This paper presents work undertaken as part of the first author’s ongoing doctoral research into the nature of digital jewellery and the process of designing personal digital artefacts. In this paper we introduce two digital jewellery objects that focus on people in transition. Transitions in this context are the changes one experiences in physical, personal and social dimensions in the context of living in/between two countries. The concepts were inspired by the lives of three participants and the researcher who frequently travel back to their native countries, but who live permanently in the UK and who experience feelings of transition and what we will describe as “being in-between”.

Topoi is a piece that reveals personal microphotographs at certain points in time. The piece is a hand held piece of jewellery containing tiny microfilm images from places that are significant to the individual from both countries. One can view the layers of microfilm with a magnifying glass and interact with different layers by manually focusing on different elements. A LED light activated by the heat of the palm allows one to peek briefly through the glass in short bursts. Togetherness is made up of two brooches, meant for two wearers in two countries. Each brooch works as data logger. The act of pinning the brooch on the body activates the piece, recording the time when the piece is worn. Such data logged is stored in a Micro-SD card inside the piece. This data is later used by an artisan to create a third piece that represents times when the two brooches were worn simultaneously.

Most of the digital devices that we live with come with a set of expectations such as: What does it do? How long does the battery last? How cutting edge is the technology? By contrast, this research offers a focus on atypical personal interactions in order to address a different range of questions and potentially open up our expectations of the digital.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalMaking Futures
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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