Be the Wave

Elina Alekseeva

Internship: Oltmans van Niekerk

Within the fields of textile and product design, I explore the emotional relationship with places and objects. I am interested in subjects like home practices, a shifting barrier between intimate and social; bodily memory, objects for play and personal rituals. My research touches upon mental and physical comfort and well-being of people, in the various contexts of change and instability. A lot of my inspiration comes from the old knowledge, local communities, nature and natural materials, translated with modern means, for the positive future living possibilities.


Today a lot of people get interested in the alternative rhythms that correspond to the natural cycles. Our physiological and psychological states have a certain cyclicity, similar to the natural examples, but we often ignore it, striving for productivity. We tend to forget that we are human beings, not human doings. But can this idea be integrated into a contemporary lifestyle?

The project Be the Wave explores the lunar phases and their connection with our body, as an observable metaphor of cyclicity. The invisible influence of the moon is traditionally considered inward-focused, intuitive and sensual. In the project the lunar cycle is translated into sensory clues, inviting us for interaction and finding our own rhythm.

We might not live according to old beliefs, but we can use this example for building a healthier, softer relationship with our modern life activities. The subtle but deep dependence from the nature and planets will still be there, regardless of our technological and cultural development. With my project I want to illustrate the significance of these rhythms, that can become a part of the modern life, and question the value of productivity. I also want to think of life in perspective; a future scenario, where perceiving time differently, personally, can be more common, and can be an everyday ritual for self-connection.


Calm Habitat

In Calm Habitat I research the relationship between people and digital technology within the area of emotional wellbeing and practices connected with the body. It is followed by material tests and is supported by talks with people who practice embodied and materialized emotions, alternative therapy; pay attention to the natural cycles and incorporate alternative calendars into their daily routines. The thesis explores the body mechanics of feeling safe in our contemporary habitats, the primary sensory reactions and responses, and various coping mechanisms, in my attempt to answer the question how it can become a basis for contemporary product design.

The conclusion of the thesis led to the design direction, in which I refer to the idea of calmness and presence in a more meaningful way. Technology can illustrate the deep but subtle dependence of human bodies from the astronomical bodies. It can help us follow the natural cycles. Focusing on productivity, living with artificial light, and wishing for more hours a day, we forget to look at the stars and don’t recognize the significance of the natural rhythms and dependence of our physical and emotional condition on these cycles. But the opposite, I believe, can create more meaningful routines for self-connection, and a positive change for the future design and living scenarios.