A chair constructed from a single length of bent wire sits on an art gallery pedestal. Visitors are encouraged to trace its contours with an attached wire loop. But be careful. As with carnival games, if metal meets metal, the visitor is startled by a warning — an electronic voice barks out “Do not touch!” like an irascible museum guard.
The chair is British designer Dominic Wilcox’s contribution to “About a Minute,” the inaugural exhibition at The Gopher Hole, a London gallery devoted to edgy explorations in architecture, design and art. The show’s title refers to the conviction that in our distractable society, no single artwork will secure more than 59 seconds of a viewer’s attention. Wilcox set out to defeat this dour estimate with an interactive honeytrap.
A society that engages in “exponential hyperactive consumption,” in the words of the show’s organizers, is thus being asked to slow down. But will it? The “Do Not Touch Chair” is basically an exercise in hand-eye coordination. I’m guessing a generation of video gamers will make fast work of it.
“About a Minute” features more than a dozen contributors, from architectural visionary Rachel Armstrong to poet Luke Wright. It's on view through February 14, 2011.