Fluid Speculations

I use drawing in watercolour to speculate, and consider it a useful research method in design. A material that bleeds, watercolour enables me to  critically play with concepts. I embrace the irregularity in the way the pigment and water move around the paper, encouraging me to become comfortable with uncertainty. Drawing is thinking in action as ideas mutate, evolve and merge in playful, unpredictable ways, a form of sense making of the material world I explore, populated by bodies, machines, environments, and  technologies.

Machines and artefacts, traditionally drawn in clean thin straight lines that reflect scientific rationales, become defamiliarised when hand painted in watercolour, a medium traditionally used for illustration of landscapes and botanicals. I find that drawing machines in watercolour provides me another way of understanding them, through a fluidity that is usually associated with organic bodies, rendering artefacts as uncanny, strange yet familiar. 

Through watercolour drawing, I create connections between seeming unrelated artefacts, the fluidity of watercolour blurs the boundaries where one object ends and another starts, creating hybrids. This free association of artefacts invites critical discussions about the implications raised when certain technologies enter domains that are sensitive or emotionally charged.

Watercolour  also enables me to speculate about technologies that deal with the body and its fluids. Breastfeeding pumps, urinals, menstrual cups and UTI test kits are artefacts that bridge what is inside and what is outside our bodies. I speculate about  these artefacts through watercolour drawing, using both drawing and the materiality of the drawing. I engage with themes about the boundaries of the body, its leakiness and the complex nature of machies that capture, measure, monitor or extract bodily fluids - which are quantifiable - and the associated intimate and subjective experiences that are more difficult to measure with exactitude.


-Fluid Speculations: Drawing Artefacts in Watercolour as Experimentation in Research Through Design. Paulina Yurman. 2021. ACM Creativity & Cognition conference, Venice 2021. Honorable Mention Award at C&C 2021

-Video of Fluid Speculations for 

ACM Creativity & Cognition conference, Venice 2021

-So I drew this thing. Conversations through Artefact Drawing. Paulina Yurman. 
2020. Position Paper for DIS 2020 virtual workshop http://thingsofdesign.info 

-Understanding the Ageing Body through its Fluids. Paulina Yurman. 2020. Position Paper for DIS 2020 virtual workshop https://agesextech.wordpress.com

Maternal Machine speculation

Laced surveillance camera

Victorian mouth operated glass breast pump

Robot holding intimate garment

Breastfeeding pump, from looking at a patent drawing of the design

Speculative, patent style drawing, of a breastfeeding pump + voice assistant.

Human and robot watching telenovelas

Ornamented urinals

Specula Speculations

A machine of some sort

Pretty Surveillance

Mouth operated Breastfeeding pump (Edwardian)

Breastfeeding pump

Robot and 16th century birthing stool

Pram and surveillance camera

Bedwetting alarm

Standing hairdryer

Lingerie and incontinence sensor