This thesis is an investigation of the distancing effect through utilitarian objects. This body of work consists of three boxes, all designed to hold various utilitarian objects related to the acts of preparing and consuming food. Viewed together, they represent a "tea service" that seeks to generate the distancing effect for the user. The distancing effect is a term coined by the German playwright Bertolt Brecht to describe the critical perspective he sought to elicit from his audience.1 Applied broadly to art forms outside theater, it refers to any experience that confronts expectation with reality. I have adopted the mechanism of surprise, or revelation, found in the distancing effect, and have applied it to my work, exploring the relationship between two-dimensional versus three-dimensional perception, between two different tactile qualities of a single material (brass), and between two different materials (wood and iron).
1 Brecht, Bertolt, and John Willett. Brecht on Theatre; the Development of an Aesthetic. New York: Hill and Wang, 1964. Print.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Furniture design--Themes, motives; Furniture design--Technique; Boxes--Design
Furniture Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School for American Crafts (CIAS)
Bonadio, Andrew, "The Distancing Effect and Utilitarian Objects" (2014). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus