Tuomas Tolvanen


Department: Contextual Design

Engineering Temporality

Tribute to human fragility and material culture.

The use of language in Western
contemporary culture implies that memories
are often conceived as possessions: we
‘keep’ memories alive or ‘preserve’ them, as
if our memories were materialised objects.
These objects become mementos and
our personal possessions of which we are
responsible for. When objects impregnated
with memories are created, they become
precious and irreplaceable because of the
transference of memories into that object.

We have a tendency to facilitate the notion
of fragility into objects that have special
meaning to us, which enhances our ability
to care for them; this can be expressed
psychologically, metaphysically or through
material fragility. Nevertheless, fragility
tends to transform objects more valuable,
more precious and beautiful by their virtue
of expressing the transience of life and our
temporal nature.

According to philosopher Martin Heidegger
temporality is what defines us as human
beings. Dasein (‘Being-there’) is a temporal
mode of being. Dasein unifies the past, the
present and the future and Heidegger refers
to them as the ecstasies of temporality. Our
existence as a being (Dasein) reveals itself
as care. My interpretation of Heidegger’s
philosophy is that through care we define
more profoundly who we are as human

In the same way as human life is fragile,
transient, and flawed, design should reflect
these same values thus bringing more care
into our surroundings, revealing Dasein. The
notion of beauty migrates into objects when
we consider them symbolically comparable
to us.

“Temporality reveals itself as the meaning of
authentic care. The primordial unity of the
structure of care lies in temporality.”

-Martin Heidegger


Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Joost Govers