The armrest occupies a critical place in a public venue, whether it be on a train, plane, bus or movie theatre. The chair can be seen to function as both an object on which a person can sit and rest, as well as a marker of territory, status and space . As such, the armrest becomes the point at which the two territories collide and power relations intersect. It is this specific intersection point that is the subject of this series as it inherently incorporates a kind of personal negotiation that can be both physical and mental. In this work I have attempted to highlight this intersection and explore the inherent social negotiations of public behaviour and space in relation to the public armrest.
In this project, I used the subject of the armrest to work through material and conceptual approaches that remain unexamined within my individual studio practice. My approach to the subject of the armrest as a site in terms of spatial and behavioral negotiation was expressed through two different dimensions. The first comprises a series of sculptures in the form of armrests which accommodate sound pieces. In this work, one can plug in earphones to hear descriptions by different “passengers” on the ways in which they negotiate the armrest. The second part of this project takes the form of a series of prints that utilize the abstract patterning of seats of mass travel as a way to embody these spatial negotiations and the implicit interactions that may result.
The Arm(w)rest 1