The project nicely ties together the cause (electricity for rural areas) and the form (a jar that lights up when you put coins in it). I also love the feasible simplicity and clarity of the mechanics of the piggy bank and the donation system. I want one!
I first heard of Tim Hunkin when I watched his TV series The Secret Life of Machines: a whimsical but thorough explanation of how various devices, from elevators to fax machines, work. I was hooked.
More recently, I’ve been following Tim’s work at his site, http://www.timhunkin.com/, which shows and describes his fantastic (and fantastical) projects. I love his animated collection boxes / vending machines. My all-time favorite is Nobby: a sculpture of a lifeboat man, who rattles his box and, on receipt of a coin, nods his head in benediction. It’s a nicely understated and sympathetic experience – I look forward to seeing it one day.
My definition of Mad Science:
- It must be based on actual technology, vs. pseudo science.
- It must be provocative, causing an initial reaction of horror or revulsion.
- The horror or revulsion must be based on the concept rather than being simply disgusting.
- It must have an artistic element, vs. being just science.
An April IEEE Spectrum story covers a work that wins on all counts: Dr. Hirotaka Osawa’s Wearable Eyes, designed to let you look like you care when you are phoning it in or even asleep!
So let’s go through the checklist:
- Check. It’s based on academic work on anthropomorphic robot faces: how we perceive emotional cues from faces. It is also about the stress of “Emotional Labor”, performed by e.g. healthworkers, who have to be nice to people all day.
- Check. The idea of literally putting on an attentive face horrified me, and the photos of the wearable eyes gave me The Creeps.
- Check. I’m horrified by the idea of a future where service workers literally wear masks to convey happiness rather than reveal their uncaring, drab reality. Once the initial revulsion passed, I started thinking seriously about how a mask-of-attentiveness might in some cases be beneficial or stress reducing.
- Check. The video is pure Performance Art. I truly can’t tell whether he’s serious about this or not – I believe he is.
Now that I’ve teased you, here’s the photo. Note how in most of the photos, he’s wearing the same expression – except for his cyber-eyes.
Pippa here, giving my particular point of view on happenings. Love the new site, because I can post under my own name at last! The only thing that would make it absolutely perfectatious would be smell media – I mean, I’d love to smell to my friends about the growing herbs in the garden, the chipmunk in the log pile, Linda’s sock – which is Bliss Itself – and how much fun I’m having at Tracey’s Nose Work Detectives class!
The original Independent Nation of Needhamia was built before 2000 – literally in the past century. …and seriously needed an update. Now with the power of WordPress, the Co-Presidents and Court Canus Minor have joined the at-least-recently-modern world!
See About Needhamia for tours of the ancient ruins of the Old Needhamia (e.g., The Ministry of Education).
As I was going through old photos, searching for an appropriate background for the site, I stumbled upon this unaltered screen capture from The Queen’s Christmas Speech of 2013. I suspect that the speech had run a little long, and poor DirecTV could do nothing but report what the schedule said was on.