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December 10, 2012

Erratum: Luxury objects that don't work

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Below, excerpts from Oliver Wainwright's December 4 Guardian story.


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A cheesegrater without any holes, a tennis racket with two heads, and a golf club twisted into a loop are some of the items on sale at the surreal Erratum boutique, which opens at the Paradise Row Gallery in London tomorrow.

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The project is the work of artist Jeremy Hutchison, who has invited workers from factories across China, India, Poland, Turkey, and Pakistan to insert an error into one of the everyday items they typically produce in bulk and send him their results.

The malformed objects have a disturbing, eerie quality, suggesting an alternative reality, a jarring aberration in the polished, homogenous world of mass-produced goods. They also hint at a possible form of artificial evolution, each mistake suggesting a potential success, a mutation that could evolve to serve a future race.

Hutchison was inspired by allegations last year about the working conditions in Apple's Foxconn factory, including a story from one worker who said he would deliberately drop a spanner on the floor so that he could have a few seconds of rest while picking it up.

"I became fascinated by this idea of an intentional human error to break the tedium of mass-production," says the artist. "I wanted to see what would happen if you commissioned this kind of intentional mistake into the smooth logic of a hyperefficient globalized machine."

Hutchison went online and discovered Alibaba, the global production portal, and began sending thousands of emails to manufacturers across the world, requesting a version of what they produced, rendered useless by a human error.

The resulting products, from leadless pencils to double-heeled stilettos, will go on sale as limited edition works in the luxury boutique, as well as via the Erratum online store — alongside photos of supermodels crashing down flights of stairs, as if following an encounter with one of the mutant objects.

"The endgame of luxury is when things slide into obsolescence: true luxury has no function," says Hutchison. "It is not something to be used or understood. It is a feeling: beyond sense, beyond logic, beyond utility. It is an ethic of perfect dysfunctionality."


[via Ian Wayne]

December 10, 2012 at 04:01 AM | Permalink


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Au contraire, mon frere! There is a lot of work to be done on those "high maintainance" models.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Dec 13, 2012 1:31:01 PM

I got such a laugh out of the headline and the photo ...

You want an example of a luxury object that doesn't work - how about girls like the one in the photo!

Posted by: Dave Tufte | Dec 13, 2012 11:58:06 AM

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