It sounds like a character in a Ridley Scott film: A robot that’s so smart, so efficient, it only works when people are there to monitor its performance. A robot that’s so creative, so conniving, it actually preys upon human attention to make a more beautiful product. It’s not the Blade Runner sequel—and it’s not that frightening—it’s the concept behind Collective Works, a mesmerizing project commissioned by W Hotels for this year’s Design Miami/Basel.
Collective Works is the project of Vienna-based mischer’traxler, headed by Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler, who wanted to explore the idea of a truly "collaborative" design piece. Their piece consists of a simple basket-weaving machine—with a twist that turns innocent human bystanders into collaborators in the process, whether they know it or not.
It’s an interesting exercise in something I’d call "passive interaction." So many interactive projects require some kind of action, but here, you can be a part of a project’s outcome without really doing anything. Plus it’s a fascinating way to get more eyeballs on your piece, since the more people who participate in the basket-making, the more intricate and detailed the pattern. People will grab their friends and bring them over to see how it works. And using a basket as the format—rather than, say, a tapestry—is particularly clever, since the growing coils act as a kind of 3-D timeline. It’s data visualization that you’d be proud to put in your living room.
[H/T Icon Eye]