May 10, 2016 - No Comments!

Ironical distances and body-add-ons –
Professor Dr. Rainer Funke on “Dingverhältnis”

As a Design theorist and Professor at University for Applied
Science Potsdam, Prof. Dr. Funke permanently deals with
questions concerning the “Dingverhältnis”.

As for him relationships between humans and objects are tied to
use and function of an object. Thus, within one product group
there are many different operational conditions and codes that
tell the user what to do and how to use and appreciate a
product. In the last couple of decades a huge industry of giving
has developed. Funke explains that “at the end of the day we are
standing under a constant pressure to give and receive as well
as to show our appreciation. We want to show this in a way that
seems appropriate for us. By this we also negotiate our

relationships and show appreciation in the process of giving.”
Funke also talks about "Kitsch”. As for him “Kitsch” gives
meaning to relationships in our lives in a very particular manner.
“The classic definition of Kitsch is based on the inferiority of
objects, hence objects are producing great emotional benefits
with very little effort”, clarifies Funke. One can say that with
"Kitsch" we reduce the complexity of the world in order to
establish a positive ratio. The question about the need for
“Kitsch” also deals with processes of revaluation. “For example
the 'Wackeldackel' used to be a sign of coziness for our
granddads. They could take a piece of home with them on the
journey. And nowadays when we put a 'Wackeldackel' in our
car, most of the time it includes a kind of ironical distance. In any
case there is a specific meaning and emotional benefit.” The
example Funke gives also lead to the perspective that the
realtionship to things also changes in the course of time. After
reflecting on our emotional attitudes to “Dingverhältnis”
Funke reveals another perspective on the relationship between
things and persons.

As for Funke an interesting culmination is happening, when
people work very hard to get their dream object. “There is an
experience symbolized by this object. You will always perceive,
recognize and build this object into your every day life differently
than a thing that came to you by chance.” In this case,
appreciation grows by the commitment and dedication to own the
object. But commitment can also come up with reagular usage.
„For example, I see my glasses as an add-on of my body. I don’t
only need them to see but they belong to my body
as an extension.”

This strong statement reveals even more that there are deep
relationships we build to things which even can be perceived as
part of our natural, human body.

Published by: Helena Knorr in design inspiration

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