“Mens sana in corpore sano” the Latins used to say, but somehow the notion that a healthy body and an equally healthy mind could actually belong to the same person got lost along the way. For the better part of the 20th Century, it was believed that beautiful people did not possess intellectual properties to match the quality of their looks, and this went especially for girls with blonde hair and guys with muscles. It was either physics or brains.
Today you can get a good college education if you are a good athlete, which seems to imply the assumption that a well-functioning body can come with a brain of the same quality. It is true that people who are both above-average good-looking and above-average smart are still harder to find than people who excel in just one of these disciplines, but they do exist you just have to listen to what supermodels have to say, and at least you don’t have to apologize for having both anymore.
Anyhow, let’s proceed to the topic we meant to treat here: a machine that allows for both physical and mental workout simultaneously as offered by the “Workout Computer” by designer duo BLESS is a wonderful way to validate the Latins’ saying.
BLESS (composed of Ines Kaag and Désirée Heiss) are blessed indeed, with an extremely positive attitude towards even the most dreadful things in life, an attitude that leads them to turn a nuisance such as entangled computer cables into a beautiful sight, a dreaded chore such as vacuum cleaning into a moment of joy. BLESS really make the most of everything, and this is why their products, however weird or nonsensical they may appear at first sight, are of exceptionally high practical value.
The “Workout Computer” translates a keyboard into workout tools such as punching balls, so users will literally “hammer an explanation mark or kick a question mark into an e-mail”, as BLESS put it. The piece will be installed for public use during abc art berlin contemporary – a fitting environment for such a machine. After all, the perception of art can be hard work, especially at an art fair, both physically and mentally.
A focus of the abc’s concept lies on the presentation format, precisely because the generic booth structure as offered by most art fairs is considered dull and tiring. At abc, great thought has been put into how to best guide the viewer’s eye through the exhibits while still allowing it to wander freely at its own chosen pace. Yet, no matter how innovative and unusual the abc’s booth structure may be, ultimately, a visit to abc will inevitably contain elements of that same routine that characterizes a fair visit in general. We are confronted with visual information, we process it, store it in our brains or dismiss it, proceed to the next visual stimulus – possibly on high heels, possibly slightly affected by the intake of stimulating bubbly – always ready to formulate verbal expressions of what we see, think or feel fit to share… Working out on the “Workout Computer” will give visitors a chance to take a break from that routine, while illustrating a main characteristic of viewing art at a fair: processing information is hard work.