Pen to Paper

Gabi Schaffzin // Elsewhere, I’ve written about Henry Dreyfuss’s The Measure of Man and the Humanscale Manual, which came along soon after.

Briefly, The Measure of Man is a guide for industrial designers, complete with scores of anthropometric data points. It features hundreds, if not thousands, of meticulously calculated measurements of various human bodies. To the industrial designer, engineer, fabricator, CAD operator, drafter, or architect the aesthetic elements of Measure of Man and its descendents should seem familiar, as they use the same visual language as the engineering drawing or architectural blueprint.

Recently, I conceptualized and built a project based on my research on Dreyfuss’ anthropometric guides to the human body. I call it “Pen to Paper,” and it explores the ways that projects such as these implicate the normalized and classified human body in the construction of our built world while reifying the power held by those with the expertise in the standardized visual language of drafting and engineering.

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