Everybody is a designer in everyday life. Yet we share no common vocabulary for describing everyday design practice, and few would even claim to have a coherent method for pursuing it. Through glimpses into human mobile nature, Portable Effects is an interactive anthropological exploration which prompts each of us to consider the design motives and methods that underlie our daily transactions with ordinary objects.

People's selection and arrangement of the things they take with them—in handbags, pockets, briefcases, backpacks, etc.—form the context of the investigation. Between setting forth in the morning and returning home at night, each person lives nomadically for several hours a day. You canít take everything with you—neither in your backpack nor in your head. Identifying essentials, figuring out how to contain, arrange and keep track of them as you go are instances of design thinking. Understanding the properties and consequences of portability is a way to grasp principles that underlie the transferability of knowledge from one domain to another. A purse is a physical container, a changing array of interrelated functions, a prosthesis for memory, a haptic "user interface," an information system. The life size lessons of purse design and pocket organization may be adapted to larger and more complex 3-dimensional problems that frame our ephemeral earthly experience.

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