up on the mound

critical design
Up On The Mound represents a shift in the way we extract from the earth, and an interpretive look at the exhaustive patterns of consumption within our society.

The Mound

We center our narrative on two bordering civilizations, two settlements, and a geographical feature that will become known as The Mound.

The first civilization, plagued by years of unsuccessful expansion, no longer sought to look outwards. As its aspirations eschewed the world outside, the surrounding areas became grounds for disposal, burying along with their refuse, their hopes and desires. Year after year, The Mound rises, and slowly becomes the physical manifestation of their rejection of the world beyond.
The second civilization observes the gradual forming of The Mound from afar. They believe its sudden appearance is a testament to something greater. Their curiosity and desire to understand it is balanced by their reverence for the site. After much debate, they proceed with the extraction, but with a few guiding principles.

• The tools for extraction must be of “low impact” to The Mound

• Extractions must only remove precisely the amount of earth necessary, and no further.

• Any extracted earth from The Mound must remain on The Mound

• Tools must be operated simultaneously by two workers, the Seeker and the Overseer, to maintain a balance between desire and restraint

Tools for Extraction

Five tools are used in the extraction process, each tool is to be operated simultaneously by the Seeker and the Overseer.

Prober — This instrument serves two functions, first as means of measuring depth, and the second, as a tool for studying contents in the earth through its frequencies.

Amplifier — This instrument amplifies and reverberations from the metal rod. It is to be worn atop one’s head by both the Seeker and the Overseer.
Left — Prober
Right — Amplifier
Extractor — This tool allows for the extraction of an object in a secure and minimally destructive manner. The form of the head is the precise shape of the object being extracted.

Excavator — This tool is used for larger extractions, as its round shape allows for low impact extraction to take place.
Left — Extractor
Right — Excavator
Purifier — This tool is employed after larger extractions, and helps restore The Mound to its original shape.
Left — Purifier
Right — Tools for extraction gathered

Objects of extraction

The extracted objects are pure relics. They are kept away from the public, and not much is known about them, but for the fact they resemble objects commonly found within our society.

Although unseen, these objects are not unfelt. Since their successful extractions, they have influenced the civilization’s everyday wares, and it appears their society has fully embraced the balanced principles of desire and restraint.

Below are a sampling of household items, some more familiar than others. Many propagate ideas of balance, either in its function or its operation.
Left — A utensil inspired by a Prober
Right — A holder balanced upon a single point.
Left — A utensil operated by two users
Right — A vessel balanced upon a plate, overfilling will tip the vessel

Instructional Model

An instructional model allows for Seekers and Overseers to practice and plan out extractions.

The model and sandbox have become popularized and can be found in many households. A common topic of debate amongst hosts and guests are the differing approaches to extraction on the latest discovered relic, the height of which almost always features a demonstration model to accompany an argument.


The following vignettes feature the shared residence of the Seeker and Overseer throughout the day. Within it, we observe their shared duties of planning, logging, crafting, and mending as they come up on the schedule.

The overall task of weighing desire versus restraint is a tireless one, requiring much of their efforts, and of their waking hours, to pursue.
Special thanks — Karolina Luckiewicz, Munus Shih, Smitha Rao, Dry Dai