Like Pearls by Morehshin Allahyari is an animated and interactive mash-up of the Farsi spam Allahyari receives in her mailbox.
Turning common sense upside down is one of the most effective strategies in art, especially when dealing with hot social topics. Swine Flu (H1N1) has been the big viral outbreak of 2009. The few rules created by authorities to prevent infection have been repeated ad infinitum, although these are only partially applicable in congested urban territory. A tangible sense of uncertainty and anxiety has resulted, especially in crowded public settings. Influ mask by Michel Bussien and Erik Sjödin reacts to precisely this phenomenon. It’s a mask with a battery driven micro-fan that increases the inhalation of the ambient air and all the viruses that might potentially be there. The mask is rendered as a real product, described as “flu collector”, which effectively turns the icon of forced isolation and defence (the protective mask) into a means for producing the strongest possible air-borne contact between individuals. Contrasting pandemic flu hysteria with a self-destructive object aims towards breaking the dictatorship of fear and the daily dose of alarmist news. This is a surreal relief in a doomed informational environment.