João Pereira, Tangible Talks

master beeldende kunsten
autonome vormgeving
Mentoren / Mentors:
Amandine David
Hilde Bouchez

João proposes to explore the process of clay-making with pain carriers, to express their own Chronic Pain. He’s interested in guiding alternative reflections, with people that experience it every day, as an object of conversation. 

Can clay create a channel of communication, rather than using words to describe pain? It will be the creation of tangible pain, the moderation of a personal subjective language, which reflects the feeling and complexity of living with chronic pain.


Deeply thankful to those who exposed themselves to the project.



My background is as a Product designer with a clear interest in manipulative materials like clay. My
first idea of clay is to explore an alternative history, that goes beyond the idea of the studio potter
or clay used for functional domestic objects. In my research, I discovered clay had been used as
means of communication as it is evidenced in the earliest discovered written language – cuneiform
on clay tablets.
This alerted me to the possibilities of using this material as a way to understand better Chronic
pain and let the physicality of it learn and unlearn about my guests’ life context.

Together, we explore what the clay is trying to tell us, with the hands of my guests and the guid-
ance of my voice.

cuneiform on clay tablets

This project started by meeting in person someone that has Chronic pain.
This brings me to a small episode that happened one day when everything seemed to be fine with
She woke up at the same time we did which usually didn’t happen, but she felt fine when she
woke up, so she got up.
She usually didn’t talk so much but she looked happy, so she laughed.
She rode her motorbike, she shouldn’t have but she felt like getting more hours of sunlight, so she
drove to the beach.

On the beach, we walked, swam together for the first time because she wanted to enjoy her holi-
days, away from her bed.

All of us were quite impressed, what is going on? We thought.
Are you OK? When do you want to go home? Let us know. Did you bring your medicines? Watch
out for the dogs!”
I didn’t know about Chronic pain, and how it can restrict a lot of someone’s personality, desires,
needs and we as friends just want to help, but sometimes that intention gets in the way of a real