Augmented Sofas

augmented-sofas.jpg

The project AUGMENTED SOFAS was an installation done in 2003 and that took place in Sidney, Australia and Berlin, Germany.

Objectives:

– To question the concept of identity and how society has identity stereotypes based upon physical characteristics

Method:

– Two inflatable sofas were set in two different locations, one in Sidney/Australia and the other in Berlin/Germany

– These two sofas were connected to two different air compressors.

– The air compressors connected each to a computer that was connected to the internet

Installation:

– When someone sat in one of the sofas and no one was sitting on the other one nothing happened

– When two people were seated, one at each location, the weight of those people created pressure on the sofa.

– A software,that was written for the installation, would then measure the pressure on both sides and take air out of one of them – on the one were the person was heavier – and eject air on the one where the person was lighter, creating an elevation effect

– People on both sides were then asked to describe who they tought the other person on the other side was

Results:

– 92% of the visitors to the installation, when asked to describe who was on the other side, could not guess correctly age nor gender

– 87% of the visitors that were lowered by the sofa thought that the person on the other side was from the opposite gender and younger

– A Grand D’Anois [a dog] was described as “possibily an overweight in the mid 40s american woman”

Conclusion:

– When given just one trace of a person’s identity our brain recurs to a snapshot of a stereotype and makes his own image of the person. This identification is erroneous – as showned by the results – and can lead to gross mistakes.

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