Adaptation, Part I: How the Eames chair came from leg splints, and why "disability studies" isn’t just identity politics
new here?

Adaptation, Part I: How the Eames chair came from leg splints, and why "disability studies" isn’t just identity politics

In 1941, the husband-and-wife design team, Charles and Ray Eames, were commissioned by the US Navy to design a lightweight splint for wounded soldiers to get them out of the field more securely. Metal splints of that period weren’t secure enough to hold the leg still, causing unnecessary death from gangrene or shock, blood loss, … Continue reading

Adaptation, Part II: hearing aid jewelry, chairs that give hugs, and the art of changing the question.
new here?

Adaptation, Part II: hearing aid jewelry, chairs that give hugs, and the art of changing the question.

In Part I of this series, I wrote about the still-new territory that is true adaptive design. As shown in the case of the Eames chairs, we’ve only begun to explore the aesthetic-and-engineering innovations that may shift our cultural ideas about ability and disability, independence and dependence, normalcy and variation. Let me point to some … Continue reading

Adaptation, Part III: Art as Research (Braille tattoos! Socially-adept handbags!)
new here?

Adaptation, Part III: Art as Research (Braille tattoos! Socially-adept handbags!)

Read Part I of this essay here, and Part II here. New media art self-consciously reworks technology into culture, and rereads technology as culture. What’s more, it does so in a concrete, applied way; it manipulates the technology itself, with a nonindustrial latitude that admits misapplication and adaptation, rewiring and hacking, pseudofunctionality and accident. New … Continue reading