31 July 2007

These office chairs change their stature to reflect and thus reinforce the power dynamic between their occupants.

The chairs monitor their occupant’s conversational contribution (for example tone, level and pace of speech), and body language (reclining or sitting forward say), and compare it in real time to that recorded by their companion chair. They change aspects of their size and shape, to reflect the changing balance of power or confidence levels they detect in the conversation. For example a dominant occupant will be raised higher and their chair will make itself bigger than their submissive counterparts’ chair, which will make itself smaller, more uncomfortable and lower.

This ensures the smooth running of an office by reinforcing the prevailing hierarchy, making it clear both to the chairs’ occupants and bystanders who is ‘the boss’. Power struggles between colleagues are resolved efficiently, while office politics take on a whole new dimension to the amusement of all.

‘Executive Override’ controls can be fitted to help managers who lack an innate sense of authority nonetheless impose their personality on employees. The executive can either discretely modify the calculations made by the chairs, or if the situation calls for a dramatic gesture, they can suddenly cause their chair to rise to its full stature while at the same time minimising that of their employee. The chairs are sold as pairs, or in special sets for meetings.

Executive Chairs - Relaxed

The start of the conversation: Both occupants are level, though the chairs will have detected the slightly more assured pose of the occupant to the right, and the slightly more eager ‘weight forward’ pose of the occupant to the left, and will begin working to reinforce this dynamic.

Executive Chairs - Dynamic Reinforced

By constantly reflecting the emotional state of their occupants, self-assurance or insecurity is fed-back and thus reinforced. Through in certain circumstances occupants could be in for a bumpy ride, the chairs help ensure that by the end of the conversation, neither is left in any doubt as to who is higher in the office and/or social hierarchy.

Squeezing someone’s hand conveys comfort and support in those situations where you can’t talk. These bracelets use memory metal to replicate this gesture, conveying it over distance.

31 July 2006

I exhibited in a group show in a disused theatre. My work was made for the theatre’s offices…

For all the time we pour in to computers it’s strange that the only physical objects we generally extract from them is the ‘printout’. Information comes out in a myriad of forms, from the screen, the speakers, the optical drive, but this information is either transient – sound, light – or is accessible only through the medium of another computer. The printout potentially is the most permanent record of all our work on computers – while technology marches on and legacy storage systems and document formats become ever harder to access, paper and ink extend their track record of millenia.

The common home inkjet printer provides further evidence of its difference to other peripherals by the way it moves. Single minded, it can shake the cheap Ikea computer table it sits on to its very core. Its mechanical whirring, the clicks and beeps it makes can be mysterious and unknowable. It may decide to do our bidding or it may decide to print out half a page we’d asked it to print days ago and forgotten about.

They must be fed, and demand an expensive vintage to drink.
They move.
They respond to stimuli.

The idea became a kind of technological cave painting. Some people drew patterns, some people wrote philosophical words, some drew clever things, a couple of people managed to get photos on to my computer. Most people drew people.

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