> > > ADRI research seminar: Sarah Teasley

ADRI research seminar: Sarah Teasley
Thursday 21st March at 17:30 in room G230, The Grove, Hendon Campus

ADRI research seminar with Sarah Teasley (Royal College of Art):

The material politics of furniture manufacturing: Japan, c. 1945-65

In 1958, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York acquired a wooden seat, the Butterfly Stool, from Japanese furniture manufacturer Tendo Mokko for its permanent collection. Simple in form yet complex to produce, the moulded plywood and metal stool has often been used to tell a story of postwar Japanese design triumph: the celebration of new forms, the integration of traditional craft and aesthetic sensibilities into modern design and Japanese design's embrace by an international community.
These are important (if flawed) narratives, but they obscure the more conflicted, sometimes anticlimactic stories behind them: stories generated within the human networks of engineers, politicians, carpenters, researchers, entrepreneurs and consumers whose various interests and disinterests shaped a changing furniture industry in the postwar decades, and by the materials, technologies, locations and ideologies available to them.
By plotting the connections and agency of one small set of of actors in the larger network of postwar Japanese furniture design and manufacturing, this talk tests a method for understanding and analysing them the the production of things, one in which intransigent materials, machines and mountains are as important as the people who encounter them, and attention to detail refines our image of the whole.


 

About the presenter:

Sarah Teasley’s research takes historical case studies from product, furniture and architectural design and manufacturing in Japan since the late nineteenth century to consider broader questions around design, technology and society. She is particularly interested in the roles that technical mediation and policy play in the adoption of new processes, materials and technologies, and in design as a perspective into political economy.

Sarah’s teaching and research supervision covers the design and manufacture of objects and spaces in the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries, within Europe and North America as well as East Asia. Her other research and teaching interests include critical theory, the history and philosophy of technology, gender and design, globalisation and the design of mass production and other large systems.

Full-length publications include Global Design History (Routledge, 2011) and 20th Century Design History (Petit Grand Publishing, 2005). Sarah publishes and lectures actively in East Asia, Europe and North America. In 2012 she is the recipient of an Arts and Humanities Research Council Early Career Fellowship for a monograph on regional economic development, geopolitics and the furniture industry in Japan, 1890–1960.

Location: Room G230, The Grove, Hendon Campus, Middlesex University

Time: Thursday 21st March at 17:30

Light refreshments are available.