When Amelia and Martyn delivered the ‘Encounter Briefing’ to us all, they showed us a range of different examples of other peoples work that exhibit the range of ways you can encounter a piece of art. Amongst these examples was ‘Dunne & Raby’. Martyn was talking to us all at this point so he was talking us through this project of theirs.
HUGGABLE ATOMIC MUSHROOM, 2004 -05
Huggable Atomic Mushrooms are part of the Designs for ‘Fragile Personalities in Anxious Times’ series. They are available in white or red reflective fabric. Like the other pieces in the collection, they are designed to meet irrational but real needs, in this case, a fear of nuclear annihilation.
The Huggable Atomic Mushrooms are soft toys shaped like nuclear explosions , enabling those of us with a phobia of world destruction to literally embrace our fears. Like treatments for phobias they come in different sizes to allow for gradual exposure.
I did some more research online to look into more depth of the impact this project had on the world, and soon enough I found myself on the MoMa website, where I was greeted with this description:
‘The designers seek to stimulate debate about the social, cultural, and ethical impact of emerging technologies. Their collaborators and clients range from cultural institutions to industrial research laboratories; their design objects are a medium for exploration and reflection on daily life in the age of advanced technology.
Priscila Huggable Atomic Mushroom is part of the collection Design for Fragile Personalities in Anxious Times, prescription products that explore the psychological connections between objects and their users. The designers invite us to embrace our fears, quite literally: to take home a symbol of nuclear annihilation and cuddle it.’
I found this information extremely helpful and relevant, as again this is the same route that I would like to take with my own work. Being able to pick up the object, hold it and bond with it through acts such as cuddling, this aids people into developing coping strategies with these difficult subject matters.
Something rather lovely and funny about this is when Martyn was talking to us all about this he said something that was just spot on to what I was trying to achieve with my own work, I instantly looked at Amelia and you could tell she had the same thought, and we shared a little giggle.