Externalise, materialise, confront: on the making of sociolegal worry beads Part 1

My current research (supported by an SLSA small grant) focuses on the econolegal implications of the possible reunification of Cyprus, through the lens of graphic design.
Norman (2005) Emotional design: why we love (or hate) everyday things got me thinking about worries as a focal point for sociolegal research. A poignant series of images in Lasn/Adbusters (2012) Meme wars: the creative destruction of neoclassical economics, helped me to think about linking worry and wonder in the past-present-future. Dunne and Raby (2013) Speculative everything: design, fiction and social dreaming got me thinking about materialising my research into worry and wonder in the past-present-future. For example: using soil to think through, analytically and emotionally, some of the issues relating to property in any future Cyprus settlement. Arnovitz (2013) My worry beads focused my attention on worry beads: a secular method of self-calming indigenous to Cyprus.

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But while I was waiting to interview anthropologist Yiannis Papadakis, author of Echoes from the dead zone, it struck me that I should begin with the worries with which I most familiar: those of a sociolegal researcher. So I sketched a draft version before Yiannis arrived, and discussed it with him during the interview. My perpetual ‘outsider’ worry was reinforced by the presence of worry beads among the tourist paraphernalia of Larnaca airport. Touché.

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I decided that I wanted to see my sociolegal worries externalised, materialised, confronted. An application for funds to cover Cyprus interview transcription costs triggered my first effort (for my second worry bead see here).

I based my process loosely on instructions in Gale, E and Little, A (20013)  Jewellery Making London: Teach yourself.  I cut up my application form. Soaked it in boiling water. Pummelled it until satisfied. Added a small amount of flour (not sure really required) and some PVA glue. Spread the moulds with vaseline. Shaped it, impaled it and dried it.

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