August 09, 2004

"Remote Furniture" at SIGGRAPH

Ben called to tell me that he'd seen Noriyuki Fujimura's "Remote Furniture" rocking chair piece at SIGGRAPH in their emerging technologies section.

Fujimura describes the piece thus:

Each chair has a sensor and motor.These devices enable mutual interaction between the chairs. They allow one to feel the other's rocking action. The aim of "Remote Furniture," then, is to create direct and tactile touch.

The piece is designed as a nonverbal conversation between two people rocking on the chairs. It seems like much contemporary Japanese tech art, it's using technology to comment on the relationship between traditional Japanese values and how they relate to Western material culture (i.e. how the design of American and European stuff is interpreted in Japan). High tech seems to be a particularly good vehicle for this, since it is itself a hybrid Japanese-Western product.

Although it was originally presented as art--and I think it's still more expressive than functional--it's definitely on the continuum of what I see as smart furniture. It's extending familiar objects while creating subtle new ways of interacting, without requiring a large investment from the people using the things. I also see a relationship to Scott Snibbe's two fan pieces, Circular Breathing and Mirror, though those are much closer to pure art.

I think it's a great. I'm looking forward to seeing it in person at some point, though I sadly won't be making it down to LA for SIGGRAPH this week.

Posted by mikek at August 9, 2004 11:54 AM | TrackBack

"Emerging"? This piece is five years old!

Posted by: AG at August 9, 2004 12:22 PM

Just because it's 5 years old doesn't mean that it's not emerging. Some times it takes a bit for ideas to sychronize.

Also, "emerging" is a fancy word for "cool," and stuff doesn't stop being cool if it's a couple of years old. ;-)

Posted by: Mike at August 9, 2004 01:31 PM

Hello Orange Cone,

I accidentally found this page when I googled my name. Thank you for the review (although it is not physically reviewed yet). It is a kind of honor that you quote Scott Snibbe's works.

Technically it is more closer to MIT's Tangible Media Lab's research. However, as I pointed in the description of the artwork, I have more focused on the meaning of this kind of technlogogy in everyday life... So in this sense I agree with what you said and impressed the concept of Smart Furniture.

Anyway, I am leaving Pittsburgh and back to Japan in two days. I hope I can meet you and have a conversation or a beer or two someday. At least I have to read your book!

The artwork will be shown at Ars Electronica Festival at Linz, Austria from Sep 2nd. They want to show the work for a year long. Hope I can make another version and can show you where you are.


Noriyuki Fujimura

Yes, I started this project in 1999 as my master thesis project. Current version is 3rd one which I made in year 2000. Now it is German Bank's art collectiom so I am looking for funding and chance to create newer version.

Posted by: Noriyuki Fujimura at August 24, 2004 11:58 PM
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