Co.Design

"Impactor" Turns Industrial Design Into Death-Defying Stunt

Would you fire a metal projectile at your own throat if it were protected by a nanoceramic?

We take all kinds of dangerous activities for granted, thanks to our faith in industrial designers and engineers: we roar across the skies at 30,000 feet, wield hand-tools capable of turning us into hamburger in an instant, put slivers of plastic directly onto our eyeballs to see better. How far does this faith really go?

Sitraka Rakotoniaina and Andrew Friend created an art installation called "Neck Clamp and Impactor" that provocatively poses that question. The idea: put on a neck brace with a tiny piece of impact-resistant nanoceramic covering the tenderest part of your throat — and fire a gigantic metal rocket launcher straight at it. Would you dare?

Impactor

Like fellow designer-artist provocateurs Ludwig Zeller and Revital Cohen, Rakotoniana and Friend tell Co.Design that their work "aims at creating a certain theatricality and help to trigger people's imagination." Which means that while "Impactor" is currently on display at Work Gallery, you won't actually be seeing projectiles being blasted at high velocity into people's soft spots. "The impactor is a working prototype, even though we had to adapt the motor for gallery spaces and remove the trigger," Rakotoniana explains. "It doesn't fire the lump of steel anymore but we kept a slight bit of motion to show how the mechanism is supposed to work. The little plate on the neck clamp is supposed to be made of nanoceramic, but as the research on that material just started when we were making the project, getting that amount of material wasn't possible."

impactor

impactor

The artists collaborated with Dr. Yanqiu Zhu at Nottingham University, so their concept is scientifically sound. Still, only a crazy person would be likely to put themselves in the "Impactor"'s killzone. "As the metal projectile is getting loaded, the 8 bows bend slowly increasing this psychological tension," Rakotoniana says. "Even without actually experiencing the impact, the design helps the audience to identify with the situation and the potential danger." Food for thought next time you get on a 747 or use a bandsaw in your garage: just as with "Impactor," the only thing between you and horrible, splattery death is a little thing called design.

[Images by Hitomi Yoda; Hat tip to New Scientist]

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2 Comments

  • stveen

    johan nice plan and we  i  m like this is so can you tell me what is his advantages so you  tell me please details. 

  • GEBS

    This is a good issue to raise, but their demonstration is ridiculous.  Planes, power tools and contact lenses are all time tested products with very obvious benefits.  This has no benefit or function, all it succeeds in doing is advertising this theoretical nanoceramic.  The world already has bullet proof vests and armor that are specifically used by people every day to stop dangerous flying projectiles from killing them.

    And no, people should not have as much faith as they do in the products that they use everyday.  Products are designed, manufactured and distributed by flawed individuals, and there is an opportunity for error on every step of its journey from conception to the user.