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Jewellery & Metal (MA)

Morvarid Alavifard

Born in Tehran, Morvarid Alavifard is currently studying Jewellery and Metalwork at the RCA. Originally her background was in architecture and music, but she has a BA in Jewellery and Objects from Birmingham City University and her work has grown to encompass social and cultural issues in relation to her own experience. At the RCA, she is pursuing this direction further, concentrating on extending the potential for audience interaction with the pieces that she makes.



Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Jewellery & Metal (MA)

This body of work is based on an initial spell of exploration and self-documentation around my questioning of ownership. Closely surrounded by my belongings in the early days of Covid 19, I found my attention was particularly drawn to my books. Most of these are about a subject I really love–jewellery–which only added to the anguish and confusion I was feeling.  How could my personal belongings be having such an effect on my physical and emotional wellbeing? I am privileged to own such objects–especially books, objects that give you knowledge and freedom–but I was finding them a burden in this new chapter in my life. 

The autumn project asked us to re-evaluate the domestic, specifically using what we had around us. So, working from home due to the constraints of the lockdown, I began playfully to work with the books in front of me: rearranging them in piles, experimenting with their order, trying to make sense of a strange set of new feelings. Re-focusing on the brief, I became aware of how my mood was lifting: maybe the books weren’t the source of my unhappiness. Maybe the source could be traced to somewhere else which related to the ambivalent feeling that I had? 

This experimental work, currently in its very early stages, leans on a framework established by Performance Art, allowing me to perform with my books–sometimes pulling them, other times holding them–and to combine them with the act of wearing my jewellery. Posing with them, observing how they became entangled with me and each other, inspired me to create a raw animation which I paired with sounds from my original performance.  

This project has made me realise how important it is for me to investigate my emotions more deeply, and to engage experimentally with objects and examine how they affect me at a subliminal level. I aim to consider how objects seem to hold a different value for me according to context and environment. My next objective is to create something in a way that will help me gain a better understanding both of objects and my own capricious emotions.

Launch Project

Burden1 — I tried to hold my books all in once in my domestic space.

My Domestic space.

domesticExperimentalPerformanceThe Body And The Object
Burden 2 — My books are the only ones who following me around these days.

Base on My feelings and my moods; I was Holding My books, pulling them, etc.

inspration,burden3 — The chain shape in my animation and material exploration was inspiration from my Jewellery.

Burden4 — This animation is including sounds from my performances.

The heaviness of my books and my Jewellery leads me to make animation—this animation paired with the sounds from my performances to create a better understanding of my feelings. 

When you visit a gallery – when you choose to look at or interact with one piece of art rather than another – or, again, in a shop – when you waver in selecting a purchase – have you ever thought about the nature of this interaction with an object? 

During quarantine, because I was unremittingly at home. I spent much more time with my objects, and this made me question what it is exactly that makes me feel drawn to a particular thing, or want to play, touch, smell, hear and look at one rather than another. What, for example, is the difference between our interactions with functional or non-functional pieces in our lives? 

As human beings, we are fiercely attached to our belongings; objects create important frameworks for vital personal rituals. People do not tend to discard belongings with which they have a deep emotional connection, and we experience the most profound sense of emotion with and through such things. We manifest our identity through objects, so it is fascinating to explore what makes us want to interact with their particularities and develop a closer, richer connection with them. As a designer and maker, I need to know my audience, and likewise which materials, shapes and forms are likely to elicit the best reactions in specific instances; on this basis, I may have a better understanding of the scope of my design process with different ideas in view.

It is clear that materiality is one of the first things that invites interaction: it is the foundation for potential connection.As Hekkert and Karana have put it,

we interact with material via our five senses. We pet the smooth surface of the ceramic vase, we tap on a wooden box and hear the vibrant sound, we watch the water drops on glass windows, we smell a new leather case, and so forth. These material user interactions are modular in time across cultures and individuals and different contexts of use.[1]

If I want to understand how people operate when interacting with objects, a good place to start is with myself and how I respond to objects, and alongside this to consider a range of other artworks and their effects on the viewer. This is because art, craft, and design have a significant impact on how objects are first conceived, and how they then communicate and are received in the wider culture. The reason for this is that they are designed for human interaction, and specific purposes and thoughts lie behind their forms.

My dissertation aims to address this area both through personal investigation and wider visual enquiry. This will be underpinned by a consideration of design theory in relation to materiality and objects, and also different aspects of human interaction with objects – for example, via the different senses, through feelings and through words.

[1]Karana, Elvin, Pedgley, Owain; Rognoli, Valentina,Materials Experience: Fundamentals of Materials and Design,(Oxford: Elsevier Science & Technology, 2013), p. xxvi.

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