Samantha Caruthers-Knight MFA Collaborative Design Thesis 2021

Stories in Stones: Rediscovering Physical Earth Through Observation, Inquiry and Storytelling

Geology is everywhere around us. From the ground under our feet to the products we use every day, Earth matter permeates our lives. But most people rarely think about or notice, much less consider themselves to have a relationship with, the ‘stuff’ of Earth, or Physical Earth. The need to address this disconnect is ever more urgent as we move forward into the Anthropocene age. This thesis examines geologic ontologies through a design lens, considering the barriers that prevent most people from having relationships with Physical Earth. Through a human centered participatory design process, this thesis delivers bridge objects and shared group experiences that create a more nuanced and interconnected sense of geological understanding.

Stories in Stones focuses on unknowing as an avenue to closer attention to and observation of Physical Earth. In engaging with the Rock Love kit, participants make their own observations and cultivate their ‘geology glasses’ by exploring rocks, minerals and materials that are rock-like but not rock. Rocks encode their own narratives in their materiality and appearance, and they also serve as projected vessels for human stories. By sharing these ‘rock stories,’ both real and hypothetical, Rock Love participants deepen their relationships with rocks and with one another.

Humans are now collectively acting on the scale of a geologic force, and we as individuals have a responsibility to guide the moral compass of that force. By developing individual relationships with Physical Earth using the tools and methods generated during this thesis process, we may begin to collectively create a new human-geologic paradigm: one in which humans can continue to thrive for generations to come.

Alicia Navarrette MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2015

Jake Mcintire MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2015

Jessica Stein MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2015

Jessica Riehl MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2015

Olivia Guethling CD MFA Practicum 2015

Crystal Rome MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2015

Emilie Skytta MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2014

Peter Tichnell MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2014

Jacob Richardson MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2014

Katie Mays CD MFA Practicum Spring 2013

Emma Conley CD MFA Practicum Spring 2013

Shannon Paine MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2015

Melody Rowell MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2015

Luke Zimmerman MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2016

Matthew McCasland MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2016

Asa Wright MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2016

Colin Cheong MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2016

Celina Coppetti Collaborative Design MFA Practicum 2017

Joel Newman Collaborative Design MFA Practicum 2017

Michelle Vorce Collaborative Design MFA Practicum 2017

Amanda Schurr Collaborative Design MFA Practicum 2017

Kailey Fry MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2015

Alicia DeMellier MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2018

Katherine Mitchell MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2018

Amelia Bauerly MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2019

Andrew Mears MA Design Systems Thesis 2019

Ophir El-Boher MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2019

Amber Marsh MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2019

Mijounga Chang MA Design Systems Thesis 2020

Emilie Jensen MFA Collaborative Design Thesis 2020

Audrey Lewis MFA Collaborative Design Thesis 2020

Leah Payne MFA Collaborative Design Practicum 2020

Katie Scott MFA Collaborative Design Thesis 2020

SJ Bowden MFA Collaborative Design Thesis 2021

Samantha Caruthers-Knight MFA Collaborative Design Thesis 2021