Limited edition of 3 + 1 A.P.
Survival kits – few things will stir the imagination quite like the question which items would be absolutely essential in an emergency. What kind of emergency? Which context? Ted Noten has come up with a survival package of which he believes it contains everything a woman may need, under any imaginable circumstance, in order to ‘be her own man’ without forfeiting her femininity. Sexism? Irony? For those who know Noten’s defiant designs it will be instantly clear that the designer enjoys provocation and that irony is his weapon of choice. Apart from inciting questions on ‘femininity’ and ‘survival in today’s world’, Noten tackles issues like contemporary craftsmanship and the sliding borderline between art and jewel design.
The survival kit consists of 7 characteristically feminine necessities, including basic attributes such as a purse, a helmet and a pair of sunglasses, but also exceptional attributes like a chastity belt, a mask, a gun and a traditional ‘Chatelaine’. Upon closer inspection, they are not what they seem to be at first glance. Highly ingenious systems with secret compartments are used for storing lipsticks or botox, but also to hide nasty weapons. The objects have been produced by means of ‘rapid prototyping’: a 3D-printer that transforms a computer-drawn shape into a physical object in nylon – so far the most widely used material in rapid prototyping. The decorations are ‘crafted’ on the computer. Other details, often hidden away in an extending compartment, reveal that Noten has also used traditional materials, including precious gems, silver and gold.
With his mix of basic necessities with unanticipated weapons, and of cheap materials with precious metals, Noten keeps wrong-footing his audiences. The fact that every little detail has been executed with painstaking craftsmanship further contributes to the confusion. In the realm of feminine vanity, refinement is a highly favoured attribute. In the realm of bloodthirsty malevolence, such refinement is the very thing that serves to tone down the inevitable promise a weapon holds. Women on the warpath: they will seduce you with their deadly appeal.
With this challenging project Noten once again defies the rules of the jewel world and enters in an area where art and design meet on communal grounds. He asks many questions, for instance about status symbols, about femininity, and about contemporary life. Apart from this he asks about the status and the locus of craftsmanship. Is it the goldsmith, working on all material details of the design, or is it the designer, seated in front of his computer while drawing his images to be 3D printed with a modern device?
Text by Louise Schouwenberg