Though industrial production separates itself from traditional craftsmanship precisely because of its distant from human labor, 'The Human Trace' is a design project that accentuates just how reliant even industrial processes are on human involvement. The project uses a chemical reaction to create deep blue splotches on what would otherwise be pure white porcelain, with the splotches corresponding to the precise places where workers touched the industrially produced tableware.
To create the oceanic markings on the porcelain in The Human Trace, ceramist Arkadiusz Szwed and curator Ewa Klekot had the factory workers wear gloves with fingertips dipped in cobalt blue salts. While handling the tableware, these salts were virtually invisible, but once the porcelain was fired the blues were revealed. The final result is a set of tableware that connects the users more intimately to the production process.
Print-Marked Porcelain Tableware
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