Hierarchy of perception
Any modern society calls for hierarchical structures in order to be well organized and to run smoothly. Every individual has a role within such a society: rulers and citizens, employers and employees, teachers and students, parents and children. Supporting this structure are rules that become established to protect and maintain these superior and subordinate relationships. These rules arise, shift and even fall over time, as society evolves. In China, however, there are hierarchices and systems of control that remain invisible to most of the public. Similarly, many people in China are unaware of social issues, are acceptant of their situations, and remain unwilling to ponder complex ideas. Citizens are not interested in liberty, especially freedom of the imagination. Instead, the pattern of their everyday lives is pre-programmed, and behavior is shaped intuitively and subconsciously by a system of objects that are over-defined. How can design liberate our imaginations and behaviors in a non-didactic manner through tableware? Design coaxes us to re-arrange and reconsider the order of things, to challenge societal controls, through observations, narratives and explorations. This project presents different attempts to discuss the issue of superior and subordinate relationships within unseen societal hierarchies through objects. The design and method takes the perspective that objects can serve as a metaphor for society. The confusion of order in the objects is meant to enable us to deconstruct our didactic order of perception and, eventually, re-arrange or reform hierarchies.
Huan Shan Li
© Design Academy Eindhoven, Photo by Lisa Klappe