The primary inspiration for this object is a child's security blanket. Blankets function in a few ways within child development theory and these functions can extend into adulthood. Donald Winnicott discusses the idea of a transitional object as a soft toy or blanket a child attaches to. A child swaddled in a blanket literally feels the limits of her physical self as where her skin contacts the fabric. Through this experience, the transitional object is a way to delineate our physical body from the outside world and learn the relationship between self and other. The baby forms a solid identity through bonding with this object. In the mother's absence, the baby associates the lingering smell on the blanket with the caregiver. Through the blanket, the child safely moves from a symbiotic relationship with the mother to being more independent. Functionally the infant retains the feelings of security through the lingering trace of the caregiver even when alone. The infant and her future counterpart will return to the transitional object to sleep or in times of need, to receive the comfort the mother represents.
Another aspect of comfort seems to be memory or association to pleasant things from our past. To give the blanket feel familiar, I constructed the panels from pre-worn clothing. The design of the front is a simple patchwork, like a quilt made from collected family fabric scraps. I preserved some of the details, pockets and buttons to highlight the origins of the fabric. The material has history from its original wearer and has been softened by use.
Later in life, we use objects for the same qualities that first drew us to our transitional objects. Although individuals vary widely on their preferences, mine include warm objects, music, talking to people I care about, returning home to an environment I perceive as safe. Therefore, I tried to replicate some of these sensations and hopefully experiences in my project. I used warmth, audio clips and the physical design as the means to communicate my idea.
The device is built around a heating pad. Switches and relays were built into the surrounding fabric casing. A basic stamp controls the electronics. Audio pieces are triggered in Proce55ing.
basic stamp board wired with switches and heating pad: