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Ilinca Pop FORMS IN DIALOGUE. DIALECTICS OF THE FUNCTION-DECOR

The observations generating the text reflect real situations within the same household. Following such object systems from micro (in the

Ilinca Pop

Forms in dialogue. Dialectics of the function-decor

object function functional functioning non-functional defect utility useful useless unusable need structure organization coherence by fragment object image symbol representation unusable desire sign signified (representation) significant (image) arbitrariness language difference characteristics positive symbol analogous fragmentation coherence dialogue twin decoration background life the object

* On a rough stand – a solid wood countertop, there’s a white sink with a stainless steel battery and hose connected to the sewer system. Next to the sink, there’s a ceramic lath, with a size comparable to the one of the sink, placed on the same wooden stand. The lath does not work as a sink, although it could become a sink, if the technological system ensuring its operation was to be attached.

* In a shower cabin, four batteries out of which only one is functional. Any of the batteries can be fixed, but some of them are very old and are not connected to a functioning installation.

* On a wall, in a solid wood holder, several wooden spoons, out of which just a few can be used.

The observations generating the text reflect real situations within the same household. Following such object systems from micro (in the arrangement of several household articles or fragments of thereof, in a decorative ensemble) to macro (in the case of one or several architectural objects) we can ask: in which way could an object, and especially, an architectural object, become a reflection of itself, without losing anything that offers it functionality, therefore without becoming only a decoration? What happens when, in architecture, the object’s double instance is simultaneously represented?

The scheme of communication identifies an emitter which transmits a message to the receiver through a certain mean. The transmission means should be appropriate for the message, while the communication means are always printed by the filter to which the objects are subjected. This means that we could therefore communicate by arranging objects, if there is a certain consistency related to the intention of the subject. This overall consistency, in relation with the action of „decorating”, is given by the communication between the objects, through the structure in which they are placed together and which highlight a certain atmosphere. Prior to industrialization and serial production, by the traditional principles, the decoration of an indoor space would reflect a certain social standing. Today, the overall consistency is based on the functioning of a cultural system of signs, without necessarily involving a unity in taste[1]. In certain situations, any indoor space, belonging to any period of time, can both reflect a certain social standing, and include a series of clues regarding the individual’s position in society. Beyond such a limitation, which concerns the negative sphere (the subject’s material and cultural means) or such a limited interpretation, related to the receiver, the manner in which objects are arranged also bears a message, or reflects the personal strategy of the subject (the one arranging). Therefore, there is also an important sensible dimension of the object, in which it can be lived or live.

On one hand, we have the object covering a need through its use, and on the other hand the object as an element of a decoration or, in certain cases, the museum object. The museification, however, involves a single, isolated instance, which only communicates in one direction. It is forbidden to touch a museificated object: it can be broken even if it is non-functional, it can communicate even if it is unusable, but it’s not always defect. What stands in the way of a museificated object functioning is the conservation effort, the non-functioning state being the condition of its existence – the object becomes useless in relation with the need it was initially satisfying (it is out of use). The museificated object is the sacred decorative object that we find in domestic interiors, whether it is “kept in the box” or it is set aside, in order to cultivate a memorial-affective value. We can also find rooms specialized in keeping this type of objects in the traditional farmer’s house, where you could enter in the good room only on exceptional occasions.

[1] Baudrillard, «The System of Objects», p.27

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