Wen Ju Tseng
BA Jewellery Design
iA collection that subverts the uses of everyday objects to challenge how societal expectations are creating a worrying trend to commodify everything we do into unrealistic values.
How valuable are you? Social expectations have forced us to constantly evaluate and assess individuals. Whether it is a job application or looking for a partner – the collecting and processing of basic personal information provides a system for measuring one’s value that is quietly going out of control. My jewellery collection subverts the uses of everyday objects to challenge how societal expectations are creating a worrying trend to commodify everything we do into unrealistic values.
Each piece in my collection tackles a divisive social expectation. Whether you are the ‘correct’ or ‘accepted’ age or specific sex, have the ‘right’ education, are ‘liked’ enough, single or married, they all share the common role of determining the way we judge people in a society obsessed by control. By referencing familiar objects such as a credit card to a condom, I have elevated their status by highly crafting each piece of jewellery in precious materials to create a tension between our free selves and the bureaucratic dataset identities that govern us.
The aim of my work is to encourage a rethink on how individuals are valued, using humour, wit and an irreverent attitude to tackle some of these thorny issues by talking about them. Given the extent to which submerged expectations govern our society and the increasing negative effects on mental health, I feel strongly that if these discourses are confronted positively, societal expectations could, once again, become the motivation for success and happiness.
My pieces encourage positive attitudes by suggesting that these expectations are imposed on us unwillingly – as symbolised in the sometimes uncomfortable wearing of my jewellery. And yet, we can at least determine how we want others to perceive and value us, to be truly ourselves and free from these sometimes absurd societal constructs.
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