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Presence in Absence

November 4, 2009 | 10 Comments


Designed by Colm Keller | Country: Sweden

“This is my Masters thesis project at HDK in Göteborg. It highlights the issue of increasing long-distance relationships and the drawbacks of computer mediated communication.

I wanted to include the reflective, relaxing qualities of crafts as way to build an emotional bond between users and the object.

It also hopes to open a dialogue about how we will value our digital artifacts in the future – our digital heirlooms.”


“The kit contains four parts and these are as follows;

– A digital scrapbook finished in birch wood with porcelain caps.
– A carving knife with laminated steel blade and birch and oak handle.
– A hub for both digital scrapbooks finished in porcelain.
– A carrying envelope finished in grey felt, brown aniline cow leather with birch duffel button and laser cut details.”


“The scrapbook is designed so that it can be cut in half slowly using the carving knife provided. Then each partner can take a half and shape it to their own desire.

The time spent splitting and carving the object should help to build this emotional bond between user and object.

The more exclusive materials hope to raise the value of our digital objects today.”


“Enabling the person to wear it on their clothing or as a pendant around the neck reinforces its primary affordance as a symbol of a relationship. It becomes a subconscious reminder of the partner and during the time apart it slowly starts to fill up with content that can be shared upon rejoining.”


“Upon rejoining the couples can contrast and compare the physical appearance with the contents of each portion. Maybe the two will differ drastically, a reflection of the time invested by the users. The sharing of the media in each scrapbook is a ritual that the couples will look forward to while apart and enjoy upon re-joining.

Listening to music or looking at photographs, movies are not the same if you have no one to share them with. The porcelain hub reiterates this ritual. By placing the two parts side-by-side it gives a semantic hint that they belong together.”


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10 Responses to “Presence in Absence”

  1. Victor Zuniga
    November 4th, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

    Amazing concept. I love it. the fact that you can take something and customize how ever you want it is what got me.

  2. armarshall
    November 5th, 2009 @ 7:33 am

    A really thoughtful and interesting concept particularly where it mentions its hope ‘to open a dialogue about how we will value our digital artefacts in the future – our digital heirlooms’.

    The execution of the product itself is flawless. Great aesthetics through material selection/combination, birch, oak, porcelain, felt and leather… perfect!!

  3. tommy
    November 5th, 2009 @ 7:57 am

    BOO for using cow leather. What — there was no synthetic material available? #awarenessfail

  4. Oliver
    November 5th, 2009 @ 9:30 pm

    yes this is really amazing … good!

  5. Shoshana Gordon
    November 6th, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

    Can I buy this????

  6. Will
    November 17th, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

    This is a beautiful concept. I would definitely buy this for at least two couples I know.

  7. Andre
    November 20th, 2009 @ 8:21 am

    Well done!!! Great Concept.

  8. Prova
    November 26th, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

    This. is. stunning. Pretty cheesy concept imo, you must really love her. But beautifully realised.

  9. Carolyn
    March 30th, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    I really want to know if I can buy this!

  10. Silke
    September 27th, 2011 @ 2:17 am

    Vey nice.
    What kind of material is the folder made of? Very interesting.

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