ITP Spring Show 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2-6pm & Monday, May 11, 5-9 pm

Adam Harvey
Angela Chen

Object Fetish Atelier

Evaluating the Emotional Quotient of everyday objects

Computational Cameras


Picture a scene in which highly valued objects d'art are being examined and appraised for their worth. Laid out is a precise system for emptying your baggage, your self-worth, your memories, and displaying them in a visual system of objects, a classification order intending to be a mirror of yourself and those around you. Part performance, part interactive art, the Object Fetish Atelier (OFA) seeks to help people understand the meaning and the emotional attachment behind the things they carry with them everyday.

More than interactive art, the OFA offers a service using the metaphor of renegade art agents, who engender the user to question the objects in their possession. Today, the selection process behind the objects we buy is all the more essential, in light of the new economic order. In our consumer society, we tend to buy certain objects because we are told that it is like nothing else; in reality, we also buy certain objects because everyone else has done so. In such a way, these objects are a way for us to project onto its entity our desires, and allows us to become oneself through the accumulation of such objects. We aim to have the user question the things they own and our appraisal of these objects will imbue them with new life, allowing them to extend beyond mere objectification and rather, giving the owner a chance to develop a new love affair.

User Scenario
The Object Fetish Atelier, though versatile, would ideally set up shop in an area with a lot of traffic so that there would be a large amount of people passing through. Similar to a metal detector in which people would drop off their items, participants would place their object in our machine and instantly receive feedback on their item's place in the array.

Under the cloak of the OFA, we will ask participants to drop off the contents of their purse, pockets, bags, etc. onto a tray that is housed within our "object-o-file machine." The agents will than evaluate the contents of the tray under a camera that will take an image of the object for its database which is than sent to a java application which maps the objects according to an interactive matrix. The participant than has the opportunity to vote and fetishize their favorite object from the ones previously presented and see their object emerge on the screen while the objects themselves scale up or down according to the vote.