the importance of chairs

whether digital or analogue, my work is fundamentally interactive in nature – it invites and rewards close attention.

but my experience of “interactive” art works is that of a participation threshold. if i sign up for a bobby baker show (i did, but sadly couldn’t make it) i’m already primed to expect a high degree of audience participation – the amount of involvement i’m prepared to give is high, because i understand the nature of her work.

but when approaching a piece by an unfamiliar artist – e.g. at a degree show – my participation threshold is much lower. if i feel that as a member of the audience it’s prolly a safe assumption i’m not alone. many people will just walk past works that require active participation on their side. so any invitation to participate will be more successful if it asks the very minimum of the viewer.

i see the book format as one such low-investment/high recognition form of interaction. the vast majority of people, when presented with a book, will understand and follow the conventions of its use. a chair is a similarly universal cue: take the weight off, relax a little, browse…

the book don’t panic contains links to extensive audio files and i want to include chairs (plural – the use of a speaker vs headphones is to open the experience up to the passing audience) to encourage the reader to listen to them at length.

why 2 chairs? because a single chair immediately puts the occupier under the spotlight, becoming the subject of the work to other viewers. i want to invite the casual viewer to look a little closer, to participate.


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