2019 - 2021
Ceramics, slip casting
Developed during studies at Shenkar Collage, Professor - Ravit Lezer
~ Paris Design Week 2020 ~
The Hypatia Project was born out of questions of the representation of the female body and sexuality and questions about the role of the designer in society, women in design and design for women.
I invited women to take part in my design process. I asked 100 women, aged 19 to 76, questions about nudity, pain, pleasure, looking at their own body and intimate experiences with another person. From the sequence of answers from each woman I created a ceramic vase, using modular molds. Each “slice” of the vase has a color, shape and size representing one of the answers, creating a personal and unique vase for each woman who participated in the project.
The vases hold in them “a secret”. They do not give out all their content, thus keeping their owners’ privacy. But they also tell a story which is hard to tell in a more direct way because it's regarded by society as negligible, too intimate, too difficult or too personal. Thus the project gives a representation in space of an experience which is both personal and common and it is at the same time a medium and platform for this discussion.
I started the project because I wanted to give presents to women close to me, whom I appreciate and want to show gratitude to. It was important for me to invite women who are not necessarily designers to take part in the design process.
The objects in the project vary according to the time the woman answered the questionnaire and the place she was in with herself and her body at that moment. The objects are not fixed because they “measure” data that is not stable. This mutability allows each woman to create a vase that is personal and there is almost no other like it, as there are thousands of possible variations. The vase then becomes a kind of “souvenir” from each woman to herself.
I started the project with a multitude of questions. One of my most important insights was the understanding that questions could be used as working material. Out of this wish to stay in that place of asking questions, the questionnaire was born.
The questionnaire is an encounter between a designer and a user. I, the designer, collected information and formulated rules about how it should be presented. Each woman “cast” her personality into the questionnaire, and this is how out of many different and separate parts, one whole object came into being.
I chose to work with clay for several reasons. I looked at historical representations of the feminine body and at erotic scenes. In many of these representations ceramic was used. In addition, I considered amphorae which contained liquids and stood at the center of a room. Those vessels were too heavy to move, and whoever wanted to drink from them, had to make his way to them. I liked the idea of a big, heavy vase which occupies a lot of room in space, in the same way I would like women to occupy a larger part of space.
The Hypatia Project is a three-dimensional interpretation of data. Data design is a very wide area today, but how does one design data when the information is not definite and changes permanently. This gave birth to the idea of working with modular molds. I had to produce an object that could change, and that I could replace parts of, but which will always yield a complete object. The modular molds make this possible, in as much as the “slices” mount on one another, and create a kind of tower which is the vase.