Primitiva - Research 

Finland (2014 - ongoing)

Primitiva - Research 

Finland (2014 - ongoing)

 

Primitiva - Research 

Finland (2014 - ongoing)

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Primitiva, is a research developed by Katrín Ólína at ADD lab (Aalto Digital Design Laboratory), Helsinki, Finland.  The research presents the development of a design language with one basic shape, a building element called a Primitiva. 

The Primitiva project is elaborated through parametric software programmes based on self-replicating patterns found in nature and inspired by the mathematical beauty of biological forms. The name, Primitiva refers to “the primitive, the original”, primary and basic. Its shape, which resembles the letter S, is inspired by the serpentine curve that William Hogarth described as the ‘line of beauty’ in his tract on aesthetics, The Analysis of Beauty, in 1753. 

The Primitiva research developed into a taxonomy of archetypes that materialised as a large collection of bronze jewellery, and Primitiva - Book of Taliamans. The book serves as a guide to the collection and a book of ideas. 

 

Primitiva, is a project which Katrín Ólína began to develop as a researcher in ADD lab (Aalto Digital Design Laboratory, Helsinki, Finland) in 2014.  The research presents the study and the development of a design language with one basic shape, a building block called a Primitiva. 

The Primitiva project is elaborated through parametric software programmes based on self-replicating patterns found in nature and inspired by the mathematical beauty of biological forms. The name, Primitiva refers to “the primitive, the original”, primary and basic. Its shape, which resembles the letter S, is inspired by the serpentine curve that William Hogarth described as the ‘line of beauty’ in his tract on aesthetics, The Analysis of Beauty, in 1753. 

The Primitiva project developed into a taxonomy of archetypes that materialised as a large collection of bronze jewellery, and Primitiva - Book of Talsimans. The book serves as a guide to the collection and a book of ideas.  

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The Primitiva basic shape is inspired by a baroque theory of beauty by William Hogarth. Prominent among Hogarth's ideas of beauty was the theory of the Line of Beauty; an S-shaped curved line (serpentine line) that excited the attention of the viewer and evoked liveliness and movement.  

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A fractal is a pattern that produces a picture, which contains an infinite amount of copies of itself.  Mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot discovered and named this type of patterns in 1975. He explained them as being geometric shapes that when divided into parts, each part would be a smaller replica of the whole shape. In many of the Primitiva structures, fractal patterns can be observed. 

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The 19th century polymath Ernst Haeckel was a zoologist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist who disvovered many thousands of species, which he depicted in Kunstformen de Nature, ('Art Forms of Nature'). Haeckel created iconic assemblies of his zoological discoveries to illustrate the natural relationships between them. Ólína applies a similar organisational method to her archetypes. 

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This engraving was based on an 18th century drawing by Knud Leem, a Norwegian priest and linguist, who made extensive studies of the Sami people. Magical symbols called Galdrastafir were common in Iceland between 1400-1600. 

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The Primitiva project explores archetypal themes. Just as the unconscious world is structured like a language, the Primitiva-Talismans have been organised into a taxonomy of archetypes, dividing them into four ‘Kingdoms’ and families of similar tropes, each overseen by a single ‘Guardian’ figure. 

The glyphs of the Primitiva symbols are reminiscent of the runic symbols on the drum of a Sami shaman that was used for divination. They also resemble the Icelandic Galdrastafir that were common in Iceland between 1400-1600.

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To complement the talismans collection, Katrín Ólína launched her first book, titled Primitiva, Book of Talismans. Introduction is by the english writer and award winning architect, Charlotte Skene Catling. The book explains both in text and graphics the archetypal structures of the Primitiva-Talismans. It contains 40 short texts about each talisman. A guide to the Primitiva collection, the book also stands on its own and can be enjoyed as a collection of ideas and inspirations.

 

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The building of the Primitiva structures was a collaboration between man and machine. The outcome is a full taxonomy of primordial images or archetypes that represent the psychic structures underlying the breadth of human experience and behaviour. These forms, their meanings and the taxonomic structures that contains them can be used as a universal system for reflecting on and accessing the deeper levels of our selves.

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The Primitiva shapes are complete when they are engaged as triggers in individual journeys of self-discovery, exploration and aspiration. 

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Click the link to order a copy of Primitiva - Book of Talismans.

 

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Visitors can see the Primitiva Talismans in a separate project on this web site and Primitiva.fi.