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The found object : documenting the artistic journey from decay to sustainable life through design thinking
George, Peneria Venessa Ansley
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This mini-thesis aims at exploring the process of design thinking in the transformation of a decayed found object into an artwork, with a narrative of sustainability and life, thus creating awareness around the role and function of decayed objects by repurposing them to give them new life. The scope of this study will be limited to the use of art to create awareness around repurposing found objects. However, these repurposed found objects will not become physical utility products. Rather, this study aims to discuss and explore ways in which art can be used to generate an ethos of 'redesigning' into a work of art which gives it an aesthestic value. An undertone of this study is the dilemma encountered in attempting to establish clear delineations between art and design in both pedagogic and professional practice domains. ABSTRACT This mini-thesis aims at exploring the process of design thinking in the transformation of a decayed found object into an artwork, with a narrative of sustainability and life, thus creating awareness around the role and function of decayed objects by repurposing them to give them new life. Key topics discussed in this mini-thesis are the noticing of and engagement with decayed found objects and sustainability. Other topics explored are repurposing and design for repurposing. Debates around the concept of 'design thinking' are ever current. Design thinking was employed in the study, which resulted in a process that examined the richness of my individual artistic journeys. My ontological stance is that all chosen found objects should have a life. This study is epistemologically situated within the interpretive paradigm since the study makes meaning of my experiences as I interact with found objects. The study drew on a qualitative design paradigm of embodied experience, phenomenological research and employed qualitative methodologies of reflective journaling, lived experience and a process-orientated art approach. The research method adopted a convenience or accidental sample, which is not representative of a population of found objects as the objects were presented by accident. All artworks created for the purpose of the study incorporated found objects that were selected randomly. The design analysis and findings verified the likelihood of a thematic approach by using comparisons of the choice of collected found objects. The general contribution(s) of this mini-thesis to the knowledge toward the direction design needs to take is three-fold: firstly, the study confirmed an awareness of using discarded banal found objects and giving these objects new life through design thinking; secondly, it emphasises the awareness around the critical concerns of sustainability and social responsibility; and, lastly it engages curricula development in robust dialogue that advances the sustainability agenda in a multi-disciplinary context in the Faculty of Informatics and Design, at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa. In order to initiate further dialogue, this study argues and proposes that student learning can be enhanced through using a found object as catalyst to ignite creative expression and as a result positively contribute to the sustainability agenda. Typically the study could also propose through means of arguments in literature that creative practical activities structured around found objects and design thinking will allow students to adopt a deep approach to learning. These educational arguments will exceed the objectives of this mini-thesis. They are, nevertheless, considered a worthwhile theme for further research or a doctoral thesis.