Skip to content
To WdKA graduates platform
Sophie
Schellens

Een steekje los.

Project details

Year
2022
Programme
Advertising & Beyond
Practices
Commercial
Minor
Data Design

For as long as I can remember I have a fear of buttons. These sick-making objects, which have become an integral part of our clothes, give me a feeling of disgust and the shivers. My aversion of buttons has developed over the years into a phobia; a button phobia called Koumpounophobia.

Since I was five years old I refused to wear clothes with buttons, which led to several pieces of clothing in my wardrobe with their buttons removed or replaced. After removing these buttons, there will always be stitching; scarring. The buttons may no longer be visible, but the imprint they leave, will never make the memories of the button disappear.

I am aware that my phobia of such a small, harmless object is irrational, but it is there. I have to live with it one way or the other, just like the other 1 in 75,000 people who suffer from button phobia. While doing research I spoke to fellow-sufferers to gain more insight in how the fear of buttons effects their life. The shocked reactions we regularly receive when we talk about our button phobia often make us feel not taken seriously. It shows that there is still little awareness about this subject.

With my project ‘Een steekje los’ I provide insides into the feelings that come with our greatest fear. I show how the fear of button effects my life in an installation through a timeline, shaped by photos of the several pieces of clothing with their buttons removed. Each photo represents a certain period or moment in my life in which my fear of buttons played a role and has its own label. Each label makes the data of the different periods of time visible.

By adding a personal voice-over to each photo I go more in depth into these periods of time. It explains the narrative behind my biggest fear. I will describe the relationship and the hate I feel towards buttons without mentioning them, just like I’d rather not talk about them. In this way I leave the narrative open for its own interpretation so everyone can recognize themselves in the audio. With or without (button)phobia.