Remember way back when the slow and oh so natural act of growing was a pretty big deal? Notches were inked on a door jamb—every fraction of an inch a bit more thrilling—until keeping tabs lost its appeal, the makeshift ruler was painted over, you’ve been 5’10” since high school and haven’t budged upwards since? (okay, maybe that last part is just me). Taiwan-born, London-based designer Weiche Wu’s Height Recorder preserves the progression in a unique, non-linear way, by converting each spurt into a separate wooden bar, constructed together as a one-of-a-kind xylophone. Coupled with his Weight Tracker, Wu’s final project for his MA in Industrial Design at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design explores an individual’s connection to his or her physicality, as well as the items that track this development.
“These two projects play roles as translators of daily life, working between 'the body’ and 'memory,” Wu tells Co.Design. “Both translate involuntary memory, which has been kept by the body, into accessible data that can be read by the audience.” The Weight Tracker follows fluctuations with a custom scale which translates poundage ups and downs into a simple arc drawn onto a sheet of paper, which can then be framed and hung as art. As it’s likely most adults aren’t too interested in watching this type of transformation too closely, Wu says it’s ideal for pregnant ladies keen to follow their motherly maturation.
Though neither Height Recorder nor Weight Tracker would offer instant gratification in terms of a “finished” product, the new perspective they offer on how to remember the long-term transformation from child to teen, or woman to mom, is certainly worth waiting for. “These two devices swap senses, like synesthesia that categorizes sounds into certain colors; the scale illustrates weight changing process as a sense of vision, and the height chart narrates the growing pattern as a sense of sound,” Wu says. “This allows people to access their 'body memory’ in another way.”