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Can you believe this is not a real tea set?

It may not be usable, but it looks good on screen

Can you believe this is not a real tea set?
Louisa Zahareasa
It's just a normal tea set - or is it?

Video calls are a part of our everyday life, whether you use them for business purposes or as part of your private life.

But even with the most advanced technology, and despite screens becoming or main channel of communication, webcams are still not perfect – and you can influence their angle only so much which sometimes results in some weirdly wonderful distortions.

Like a Salvador Dalí painting come to life, Zahareas's designs are props rather than usable objects.

Like a Salvador Dalí painting come to life, Zahareas’s designs are props rather than usable objects.

Louisa Zahareas’s Screen Mutations sets out to explore the role video communication play in our lives and how they help blur the boundaries between the physical and digital world.

Designing a tea set, Zahareas – a Masters at the Design Academy Eindhoven – turns the webcam into a design tool itself; precise calculation went into the actual objects design, to fit around the camera’s characteristics.

It's the mug that's distorted - not your screen.

It’s the mug that’s distorted – not your screen.

The student says she sees her objects as props, rather than things to be used, and the space in front of the camera works as a stage for users to perform on.

Her collection imagines the on-screen world as the more important one, with our physical world, and with it the actual use and practicality of objects, take a step back.

On-screen, it looks like a big bowl - off screen, it may hold a spoon or cereal (or two).

On-screen, it looks like a big bowl – off screen, it may hold a spoon or cereal (or two).

Off-screen, the tea set – consisting of a tea pot, a mocha pot, a bowl, a mug, cutlery and a cake – looks distorted, as if a painting by Salvador Dalí had manifested on the table.

But seen through a webcam, and through modifying the perspective, the distortion serves to make the objects look normal and usable.

There's no chance of this mocha pot ever brewing a cup.

There’s no chance of this mocha pot ever brewing a cup.

Yet there is no use in them – the mocha pot is disjointed, making it impossible to use it to brew a cup.

The bowl barely holds a spoon full of cereal and a dash of milk, the mug’s distorted shape makes it hard to actually drink from and the minuscule handle makes it nearly impossible to lift the teapot – not to mention that the spout looks as if its purpose is purely decorative.

Even if you were to brew in the distorted teapot, you'd probably have to use a ladle to fill your mug.

Even if you were to brew in the distorted teapot, you’d probably have to use a ladle to fill your mug.

Challenging perceptions, Zahareas asks the so-called Generation Internet a key question: ‘How far are we willing to go in changing our physical experiences to fit with the aesthetics of the screen as a medium?’


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