About Hypatia Project

This project was eveloped during studies at Shenkar Collage, Professor - Ravit Lezer

The Hypatia Project was born out of questions of  the representation of the female body and sexuality and questions about the role of the designer in society, women in design and design for women. 

 

I invited women to take part in my design process. I asked 100 women, aged 19 to 76, questions about nudity, pain, pleasure, looking at their own body and intimate experiences with another person. From the sequence of answers from each woman I created a ceramic vase, using modular molds. Each “slice” of the vase has a color, shape and size representing one of the answers, creating a personal and unique vase for each woman who participated in the project. 


The vases hold in them “a secret”. They do not give out all their content, thus keeping their owners’ privacy. But they also tell a story which is hard to tell in a more direct way because it's regarded by society as negligible, too intimate, too difficult or too personal. Thus the project gives a representation in space of an experience which is both personal and common and it is at the same time a medium and platform for this discussion. 

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The Particepents

I started the project because I wanted to give presents to women close to me, whom I appreciate and want to show gratitude to. It was important for me to invite women who are not necessarily designers to take part in the design process.

 

The objects in the project vary according to  the time the woman answered the questionnaire and the place she was in with herself and her body at that moment. The objects are not fixed because they “measure” data that is not stable. This mutability allows each woman to create a vase that is personal and there is almost no other like it, as there are thousands of possible variations. The vase then becomes a kind of “souvenir” from each woman to herself.

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I brought the vases to the women, that way they can exist in the intimate home environment

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The always changing object allows every woman to change and evolve

Animation : Hila Keinan

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All the participants in the Hypatia Project

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Process

I started the project with a multitude of questions. One of my  most important insights was the understanding that questions could be used as working material. Out of this wish to stay in that place of asking questions, the questionnaire was born. 

The questionnaire is an encounter between a designer and a user. I, the designer, collected information and formulated rules about how it should be presented. Each woman “cast” her personality into the questionnaire, and this is how out of many different and separate parts, one whole object came into being.

I chose to work with clay for several reasons. I looked at historical representations of the feminine body and at erotic scenes. In many of these representations ceramic was used. In addition, I considered amphorae which contained liquids and stood at the center of a room. Those vessels were too heavy to move, and whoever wanted to drink from them, had to make his way to them. I liked the idea of a big, heavy vase which occupies a lot of room in space, in the same way I would like women to occupy a larger part of space.  

The object that comes out is whole, although it was made from different mold parts

The Hypatia Project is a three-dimensional interpretation of data. Data design is a very wide area today, but how does one design data when the information is not definite and changes permanently. This gave birth to the idea of working with modular molds. I had to produce an object that could change, and that I could replace parts of, but which will always yield a complete object. The modular molds make this possible, in as much as the “slices” mount on one another, and create a kind of tower which is the vase. 

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Putting the mold together

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The object that comes out is whole, although it was made from different mold parts

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Questionnaire about the female body and sexuality 

The subjects of the questionnaire:

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Nudity

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pleasure

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Looking at your own body

Pain

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 intimate experiences with another person

Your experience while answering the questionnaire

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With the questionnaire, I'm trying to understand how much space every woman takes in the world, with relation to these subjects

Illustration : Hila Keinan and Tair Almor

 

Manifesto

"Does learning to love ourselves, our sex, the other sex, their joined creations, and their differences, isn't the bare minimum in order to find some social meaning here and now?"

 

Luce Irigaray - "Ju, tu, nous" 

 

Translation - Tair Almor

the forces we as women exert upon the world and the world upon us. Also the power a user can exert upon the designer and on the nature of their encounter. I did not strive to turn those powers upside down, nor to abolish them. I wanted to learn how to let go of the power I have as the designer over the object, and to make the creation of the object a collective female experience. To achieve this, I had to learn how to lose control, to allow women who were not necessarily designers to step in, observe, make decisions and take part in the process of design.

 

The decision to use data and question raising as material to work with was not accidental. Data can be especially important when it relates to our “blind spot”, the area which we are unable to see. Thinking about the ability of data to throw light on dark places, I was led to the next question: What are the points that our society misses and is blind to in relation to how women experience their body and sexuality.  

​Since this is a very complicated experience, it must stay this way. My project does not give answers, or conclusions, but produces a visual realm which enables movement, lingering, raising questions on the female experience. This is also the “blind spot” in this subject. The inability to adopt a complex, changing, dynamic female identity. We women are much too used to identify ourselves or be identified within our limited gender possibilities, and I wanted to challenge this attitude.   


In this respect, the vases of The Hypatia Project may be classified as objects of communication and culture. They produce a platform for discussion for areas in our soul that we do not tend to uncover, areas which may carry with them failure, or imperfection. And the difference of the objects from one another may add a further complexity to the collective female narrative.

Who is Hypatia?

Hypatia (350-415 AD)

Mathematician and Philosopher

Hypatia studied under her father at the great library in Alexandria, Egypt. Together they studied philosophy, mathematics, science, astronomy and more. Hypatia is known for her research on geometry and arithmetics, and was a professor for mathematics and philosophy. Hypatia refused to wear traditional women's clothes while teaching and insisted on wearing the clothes worn by the other male professors. When suiters asked for Hypatia’s hand in marriage she replied that she was “married to the truth”.

 

Unfortunately most of Hypatia’s work was destroyed when the great library of Alexandria burnt down, but her students continued her work and preserved some of her research.

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Hi! Im Tair

I'm a Designer and a ceramic artists. I am interested in how design is effected by political, environmental and economical issues and how it can effect society and communities. I am a collaborator and love working and sharing with other designers and professionals. I am passionate about traditional crafts and how they relate to technology and industrial production. 

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website ~ www.tairalmor.com

Instagram ~ @tairalmor

Mail ~ tairalmor@gmail.com

Phone ~ +972-558863622

ֿAdress ~ Tel Aviv, Israel