Chair of Paradise

Mika Satomi


Paradise differs from Utopia. While Utopia literally means “no place”, where an alternative ideal society inhabits, Paradise suggests a peaceful harmonious land inhabited by birds and animals. In paradise, human seems to be a foreign creature. The chair mimics the mating ritual of a particular bird – Superb Bird-of-paradise (Lophorina superba), an inhabitant of Paradise on earth. This artificial object bravely makes its step into this sanctuary with its technological flips and flaps. Some believe Paradise to be the Garden of Eden, some believe Paradise to be the entrance to Heaven. In any case, this techno pimped-up old chair is not making its best act in such a sacred place, still it will keep its nonsense, as we all keep our nonsense. You, as a sitter, are the potential mate for the Chair of Paradise. As you approach, it will perform its ritual and propose to you “ Will you join me in Paradise?”

“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43)

Conceptual Background:
Originally this project “Chair of Paradise” was created to make an object of interpretation. The design of the chair is inspired by the mating behavior of a bird, Superb Bird-of-paradise. This extravagant ritual is rather humorous when performed by a bird, which becomes nonsensical when it is done by a chair. This object and its behavior exemplify the functional estrangement, in another word para-functionality, trying to achieve poetic language for electronic objects. The name “Chair of Paradise” comes from the name of a bird it is mimicking, and does not have a direct connection to the concept of Paradise. Although, with its strange behavior and its mysterious title, we may start to interpret its poetic stage behind. I am very keen on exhibiting this piece in at the Cathedral for the week of passion, as one of the seven words was “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43) It is an extremely interesting experiment to exhibit the “Chair of Paradise” in this context to see what kind of interpretation it will bring out from spectators.

Chair, Conductive threads, Textile with Thermochromic ink print, Arduino board, Solenoids, IR Proximate sensor and ACDC Adapters.

Ambience 11, The Textile Museum, Borås, Sweden (2011)
För Fest, Domkyrkan, Gothenburg, Sweden (2012)