Our changing body is a sensitive subject. The society in which we live has a high degree of manufacturability. With the help of all kinds of filters, we present ourselves on social media as beautiful, young and happy. In the social debate, concern for the changing body is linked to the ever-increasing costs associated with ageing or illness.
But while we relate to such social trends, our bodies change automatically. That is part of life. Our bodies collect experience and knowledge about these changes, it shows our flexibility and resilience as well as our vulnerability or obstinacy. Older people have already had a lifetime and are in a phase where the impact of this change is great but to be expected. For those who have undergone surgery the awareness of the impact of the changes is different. Both groups are in their own way change experts.
Our changing body is a sensitive subject.
In his project Encounter, Joost van Wijmen uses tangible methods from design research to creating situations in which residents of residential care centres or people with a scar tell, draw or photograph stories about their bodies. In this way the expertise of these participants is disclosed, it gives them agency.
During his Master Design course, Joost researches what Encounter does, as a method, in knowledge production and in its impact on participants.
The project gives insight into the impact of change on identity and social interaction for people who relate to it both on a professional and personal level. Encounter works as a mirror for everyone who has to deal with a body that changes. A mirror that makes them realise what is there, shows what was there and makes others aware of what is coming.
If you are interested in the full story, please visit the Encounter project's site and research page.