Over the course of multiple years, both industrial designers Hank Beyer and Alex Sizemore, explored parts of the American Midwest researching eight material origins and their associated processes and history. Resulting in this highly aesthetic project called For the Rest of Us: A Journey into the Intangible Values of Regional Materials and Personal Computing. They’ve travelled extensively, interviewing dozens of people, collecting artefacts and taking pictures. From each material Beyer and Sizemore created a computer, providing a point of familiarity to an alternative reality.
“we can begin to imagine a more preferable material future that better acknowledges the richness of the human experience.”
Many products around us are optimised for univer
sal appeal, usability and industry. This suggests that this is the only means to provide value in an idealised consumer life. This project seeks to spur discourse and challenge common preconceptions of materiality and everyday objects by displacing the notion that materials best for industry are best for humanity.
During the course of these first-hand inquiries into materials and their origins, Beyer and Sizemore sought to investigate not only the physical, but also the emotional. By presenting materials and using storytelling in a way that celebrates intangible values, we can begin to imagine a more preferable material future that better acknowledges the richness of the human experience.
“Designers have a responsibility to explore these seemingly impossible realities in order to push our world towards more meaningful, physical futures.”
To illustrate their findings and to serve as an aid in imagining unconventional materiality in everyday life, Beyer and Sizemore chose to reinterpret the archetype of a desktop computer. As one of the most recognisable objects of the past three decades, it provides a point of familiarity that allows an individual to insert themselves into an alternative reality. By providing this access point, suddenly the abstract, ironic, humorous and other-worldly can be considered, questioned, discussed and discovered.