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Sense, substance, fruit: Examining poetic descriptions of how people experience fruits as input for design considerations

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This article discusses the intimate sensory relations between humans and fruit. It articulates a view that the dynamically interrelated characteristics of microstructural complexity, sweetness and extreme malleability make the experiential dimensions of fruit distinctive in anthropological experience. The article draws on the work of Steven Connor for theoretical support. Particular focus is given to his concept of ‘senstance’, which emphasizes the important role substances have in the human imagination, and inversely, the way imagination allows humans to make explicit the seductive but often obscure properties of substances. It proposes Connor is a worthy inheritor of the place held by thinkers such as Roland Barthes and Gaston Bachelard, whose work has been an enduring influence for design theorists and historians. Fruit-focused examples from poetry, art and design are discussed with the view of elaborating a suitably rich and multifaceted account of the anthropological importance of this mundane but pervasive thing.
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Keywords: affective experience; design and aesthetics; design theory; material imagination

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Technology Sydney

Publication date: April 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Food Design (IJFD) is the first academic journal entirely dedicated to Food Design research and practice. We aim at creating a platform for researchers operating in the various disciplines that contribute to the understanding of Food Design.

    Although the journal is open towards different background disciplines, knowledge and expertise, it only focuses on collecting any Food Design-related research outcome: research that somehow combines food and Design. We define Food Design as simply the discipline that connects food and Design: Design applied to food and eating, or food and eating investigated from a Design perspective. In other words, among all knowledge on food and eating, we look at research where Design has an important role, and among all knowledge on Design, we look at research that focuses on aspects of food or eating.

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