Constanza Salinas MFA

Master-Thesis: "On Objects and Identity, Identity - Traces - Connection"

Betreuung: Prof. Ute Eitzenhöfer, Prof. Theo Smeets

"The love for jewellery

I started out my masters with the questions on identity and how we build it. How we construct ourselves and the role jewellery might play in this.

In my research paper I dive into how objects play a crucial role in our identity building process, making and acting upon us, as well as and sha- ping the world we live in, while at the same time being made and changed by us.

The role of jewelry in the construction of identity is especially interesting to me. Social rules and interactions are seen in how we dress ourselves. In our society, the garments we choose to wear go in accordance on what is determined by our society. As children we learn both from our parents and the clothes we are presented with, as well as our overall environment and countless social interactions, what we are expected to wear according to who we are.

That is why clothes and jewellery work so effectively as tools of social communication, because they carry with them the rules and expectations of social life. We do not only interact and communicate with other people and with the objects, but we use these things to communicate and aid us in social situations. The body ends up being culturally constructed and jewellery here is a tool serving as a means of social communication.Igno- ring social conventions and etiquettes brings with itself a whole array of consequences that are also not possible to escape, because we are imbed- ded in our society.

I find in jewellery a beautiful encounter between form, function and or- namentation. While the beautification aspect of jewellery is undoubtedly important, as an object it cannot rely on sheer aesthetic pleasure, because it has to work on the body, be functional as in be wearable. It also has a communicative aspect to it, as it adorns the body and tells others about you, helping individuals to navigate social interactions.

There is a huge variety of ornaments and jewellery, and they all do something with us and can tell us something about their wearer. What is the difference between every day jewelry and special occasion pieces? What do they mean? How do they look in different cultures and how it changes throughout time? Where does ritualistic jewellery fall into? What does a family heirloom piece tell? What does your jewellery says about you?"

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