In our interconnected world, the virtual has become reality: people are permanently contactable via social media, interactive video games blur the boundaries between players and characters, robots and the phe-nomena of artificial intelligence are gaining ground. Science fiction has left the realm of fantasy and dreams (or nightmares). While science fiction was once a noti-onal experiment that combined technological progress with a vision of the future, today it has emerged from out of its domain of potentiality. »Hi, SciFi« – here you are. What are you doing to me? Am I able to deal with you as a human being in my physicality, my temporal and spatial limitation? In her collection, Helen Habtay ex-plores this unreality that has become real, looking it at how it impacts on people.
In the striking presence of her pieces, Helen Habtay takes the techniques of sewing, polishing and metal-beating that are thousands of years old and combines these with visionary images of a fusing of body and technology. The leather used and the colour of the rose quartz are reminiscent of skin and flesh. They appear to flow out of the copper pipes. It is as if an alchemistic transformation process were to take place inside the pipes that engenders the stones. Under the force of this transformation, the
pipe elements are deformed into something amorphous and organic that takes them to the limits of their functionality. Liberated from its enclosure, the content is disgorged into a structured, geometric shape that seems to be a replica of its for-mative origins.
The materials of leather and stone that are used exhibit contrasting properties: They are organic – mineral, flexible – rigid, prehistoric – the product of culture, deformable – resistant. But Helen Habtay is fascinated by what they have in common – the fact that they are unique and not reproducible, exhibiting inlays, natural structures, scars and fractures. Her processing makes the distinctive natural qualities of the material visible – and also palpable when used. Worn at a point of the body that is both erotic and vulnerable, the softness of the leather, the coolness of the stone, the roughness of its fractures and the smoothness of the copper become a part of the human body and of the memories of the individual wearing the jewellery. This immediate haptic experience creates a silent dialogue that merges the past, the dreamed future and the here-and-now at the moment of wearing.
Trier University of Applied Sciences,
Department of Design