British artist Jeremy Hutchison collaborated with factory workers from around the world to create a series of dysfunctional luxury products.
‘Why’, you might ask. And so did we.
“I read an article about a factory in Shenzhen where they assemble Apple Mac products,” Hutchison replied.
“Consumer hunger for iPads had reached such dizzying heights that life on the Chinese assembly line had become devastating. People were throwing themselves off the roof. One worker said: 'sometimes he would deliberately drop something on the ground so that he could have a few seconds of rest while picking it up.'”
“That's a pretty extraordinary idea,” he goes on.
“An intentional error is completely illogical. Which is perhaps what makes it fundamentally human. I wanted to know what would happen if you extended this illogical gesture, and commissioned deliberate errors into the smooth mechanism of a hyper-efficient globalised machine.
“So I emailed this absurd commission to factories all over the world. I received hundreds of confused emails, and - eventually - some very peculiar objects.”
The project is, Hutchison claims, a logic extension of the concept of ‘luxury’ itself.
“Dysfunctionality is the endgame of the luxury market.
“I think a holeless cheesegrater encapsulates consumerism. Consumers don't spend thousands of pounds on a handbag in order to have somewhere to put their keys. True luxury dispenses of function and slips into absurd, luxurious obsolescence.”
Despite showing at the V&A and Saatchi New Sensations and striking a note with "people from design and fashion, to economic, anticapitalist and hacking communities”, Hutchison says his favourite reaction to the work came from the factories themselves: