Portable Effects

1988-2000… 100-some video portraits and counting + an interactive museum installation.

Once upon a summertime expedition to Japan circa 1984, Strickland encountered expressions of a culture that’s enormously sophisticated in the ways of folding, stacking, rolling, nesting, carrying, miniaturizing, and transforming things. Transporting that inspiration home and proceeding to unpack it several years later, Portable Effects is a video anthropology project that investigates people’s design of the miniature environments we carry with us—in pockets, backpacks, briefcases, and handbags. Between setting forth in the morning and returning home at night, every person lives nomadically for a portion of each day. You can’t take everything with you—neither in your backpack nor in your head. Identifying essentials, and figuring out how to contain, arrange and keep track of them as you go, are instances of design thinking. Portable Effects has been supported by Apple Computer, the National Endowment for the Arts, Interval Research Corporation, and the San Francisco Exploratorium.

Download text » You Can’t Take Everything With You: Portable Effects Prospectus, 1997

Visit the project website » www.portablefx.com