Tiny Perceptions Project

“I stitch you on that leaf which lost its juice, but left a language one can still listen to.” 

Under guidance of architect and practice based researcher Renske Maria van Dam students of the Jewellery and Architecture department joined forces. As result of a two week, hands on, workshop they presented ‘It’s going to rain soon’: a spatial-temporal exhibition in which the sun and the wind perform. 

A slightly rough texture, a minor vibration, a change in intensity of temperature or color. Within our daily experience as well as within the design process tiny perceptions guide our way. They are the ‘difference that makes a difference’. With a focus on these ‘Tiny Perceptions’ Renske Maria and the students sense and activate the environment on the rooftop of the Rietveld Academy: 

Guided by a listening to, moving with and breathing with the environment we slow down, open-up and train our sensitivity. Following Japanese artistic and designerly methods to synthesize with the environment we ‘listen with our whole body’ and activate the rooftop with our interventions. When making tacit knowledge explicit new meaning and actual habitual changes emerge from which surprisingly different experiences inevitably form. 

We learn how to ‘see’ and work with what was not visible before. We learn to defend our design choices by using our bodies rather than words. New levels of care arise when after a refreshing shower our wood becomes ‘lazy’ or the wind blows away our materials. The knowing, rather than knowledge, we develop here applies to a specific material, on a specific location at the rooftop, in a specific season, seen form a specific perspective etc. In other words research becomes situated, singular and sensible, rather than generic, isolated and falsifiable. 

In a world in which social-environmental degradation is our main concern, tiny perceptions bring us to the ground. They offer a local tool to work with and offer the opportunity to slightly alternate our habit(at)s. 

By Renske Maria van Dam