Megan Schoeppich – Buddy Bench

This is a chair-like object that can only be used with another person. It resembles a wooden bench with kitchen chair backings, mixed with a teeter-totter. While making it, I was thinking about how sitting is related to control, power and authority, and how industrialization has standardized the sitting position. Being raised in a society with obligatory schooling, we are taught to sit still and ignore bodily impulses of movement; the power of the body’s signals is challenged by the power of social habits, or norms of civilization. To sit in a chair is to deprive the body of positional agency, enforcing conformation and disconnection with the sitter’s body, others and environment. Chairs also remove balance from the control of the individual. Through this project, I wanted to critique how chair designs serve the environment and the community in the long term. I aimed to redesign chairs to unite people; deconstructing the isolating effects of single-user objects by constructing a chair whose affordances can only be accessed through human communication, balance, action, unification, support and coexistence. Through this, I invite people to recognise the isolating effects that societal systems exhibit, while encouraging people to reconnect with their bodies, each other and their environments. I aimed to make an object that embodies my vision of progression toward a cultural rebirth.

Hands-on activity at the Festival:
Participants will be able to sit on the bench (alongside a second participant) and I will show a visualisation of my research and creation process.

  • Categories: 2018