I collect miniature train houses. I see these houses as artifacts of male leisure and pose as the architectural vernacular of train hobby time, and the reproduction of our everyday matter in miniature. With big fingers, the builders cut and paste paper patterns for curtains and interior wallpaper, and glue together walls as though they were building a doll house, but one that is not to play with or fill in with extras like furniture or dolls.
Rather nostalgic, and built to support the hobbyist's idea of the way the world should be, if you zoom in you see the thinness of the image, with glue blobs and off-center decals. These buildings are "quick fix architecture" to plunk into a bigger landscape where a train runs by and through a frozen world.
Secondly, I photograph them under a separate subject of Simulation, and find them to be eery in their emptiness, as though the world has been forgotten and left behind. The camera picks up the tension between mistakes and the attempt to copy well, which makes them closer to reality than intended.
all photographs: Cynthia Hathaway, 2012
Ice Cream truck designers know how to do it, to seduce the young but also the old as this choreography of sweet sensations stick to our North American psyche until the grave. The fonts, the colours, the animated illustrations, the sometimes monotonous but in this case amazingly accepted twinkling audio that are the ingredients of this sugary moveable feast. Besides the edible products that certainly would not be able to stand alone, this is a full package of satisfaction. If only for a split second of ordering and slurping, we are delivered a moment of feeling that "everything is alright after all".
Photographs: Toronto Delite!, Cynthia Hathaway, 2011
A simple and fast way to spike one's day: a piece of paper and a red line of text that could, maybe, might as well happen!
Photograph: Tony's Day, Cynthia Hathaway, 2012
An 1888 design by "Automaten" designer Vaucanson for a mechanical duck. It could eat and digest. The beak or chattering of the duck would help to take up some cereal and water and move it down the throat. This muck collected in the abdomen and was emptied every 3 or 4 times from a little box. Out of the rear end "F" and into a silver basket came dry green bread crumbs. I suppose the sight of a wet pooh out the rear was too realistic, and had to be managed in a less "offensive" way for the ladies and gentlemen of the courts. An interesting social design dilemma we still are dealing with today, although we have children's dolls that poop and there's nothing like Wim Delvoye's Shit Machine.
photo: from Mens & Machine, Automaten, Androiden en Robots, Rene Simmen. Published by IBM Netherlands and Van Lindonk, Amsterdam,1968.
Designer Toby Wong and I went on our own sightseeing tour of our old home town Toronto. We showed each other our favorites haunts, one of which is Honest Ed's, a shopping extravaganza like no other. We were mainly interested in items that we scratched our heads over, and who, where and how these objects are designed. How is it that someone says I want to produce a small figurine made of a girl with a lollipop and dog by her side, made of porcelain, dipped in a chrome-like glaze and sold for .25 cents? Who are the designers behind a wall clock that has a three dimensional dolphin scene and an accompanying water sound track? Who points his finger to a pile of decals and says this is the pattern to go on the wing of a wierd bug of a picture frame? And why this one? Following the trail, one day I will finish what we started in Honest Ed's, for Toby, and find the source and shake the hand of the person responsible. This is not in pursuit of making fun of this process, but taking interest in a majority of objects on supermarket shelves, who is the creative behind them, why so many are sold and loved by somebody.
photographs, Cynthia Hathaway, 2009
- Daily zaps
- Wool Alliance for Social Agency
- The Department of Search
- System D Academy
- Archiving from the Edge
- Mobility Lab
- Giant Vegetables XXL projects
- Travels Through Paradise
- 777 Las Vegas Chairs
- Camp Organic in Las Vegas
- l'Office perfume
- Souvenirs Revisited
- Archive: Hathaway Product Designs