Blank Slate

The act of recording information can be done in various ways, photos, videos, journals, audio, and so on. Throughout this five-week long exploration, the idea of record keeping was introduced to an object that is already known to be practical, functional and great at doing its job, a tape measure. What started with the disposal of a piece of masking tape, evolved into a physical object that is designed to be a living journal of measurements, memories, and process.

Through a series of sketches and initial prototypes this concept was born by simply taking an existing tape measure, and covering the surface with a piece of masking tape. This marriage of materials created an opportunity to add an element of permanence and storytelling in regards to distance as well as time.  But what physical form could this idea take? The initial   AD.I.Y activity that transformed the functionality of an existing measuring tool for a period of time, and which could be easily returned to its original state once the intended purpose of jotting down relevant measurements.

A series of advertisements aimed at putting this notion into context revealed that the intended user determined the objects final form. Was this a tape measure for someone doing a home renovation that would carry this around with them at all times, and record every inch of the project on this one tool? This iteration was a traditional tape measure on the top half, and with the other half left blank for note taking. Who would produce such an item? Most likely a company such as Stanley would partner with a company like Sharpie to create the ultimate measuring/recording device, a “writeable” tape measure. 

The opposite end of the spectrum and the final artifact delivered for this project was a finely crafted tape measure, constructed out of high-end materials like wood and brass that was completely blank. With its intended use left up to the user, this is an instrument for recording not only measurements, but thoughts, ideas, memories and more. This artifact is intended to be a precious object that would live on through generations as would a photo album or video. The process of creating this artifact revealed that one idea can take many different forms, and within these forms the context, and content can be discovered.

2013

Made of: Plexiglass, Brass and Basswood

Concept video written and directed by Elisa Werbler, produced in collaboration with Eliz Ayaydin