Measure of Discontent: Pacing Track (2011)

by Michael

A home monitoring system that measures and documents nervous pacing activity. The result is a physical visualization of the amount of pacing, for personal use in a domestic environment. The purpose is to visualize the distance traversed while engaged in measured, contemplative walking.

The monitoring system takes the form of a track, specifically scaled and designed for pacing on. The track is elevated from the ground level and balances on a subtle see-saw. Sensors at each end of the track... [more below]

Full Description

...keep tabs on the amount of laps. The distance paced is calculated and transmitted to a wall-mounted unit which dispenses an equivalent length of red yarn. The yard accumulates on the floor, anywhere you choose to install it. Mine is installed by the doorway. / / / / /

Part of a series called “Measure of Discontent”, branching from my MFA work at UCLA’s department of Design and Media Arts. This work stems from the concept of measuring and representing anxiety. I was inspired by certain countries’ efforts to impose quantifiable values to the “happiness” of its people—Notably, the tradition of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan. Or even contemporary magazine articles that aim to report the worlds “happiest countries.”
It follows that if you can measure happiness than you can also measure unhappiness. Taking this as my point of departure, this work investigates the idea of quantifying the subjective—in this case, national anxiety.

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Artist Statement

Michael Kontopoulos is an artist and designer, interested in constructing mechanical systems and tools for exploring the poetics of everyday human behavior. Through invention, experimentation and iteration, his systems evoke metaphors about social relationships and the human condition, reflecting on habits both conscious and unconscious. Born in Philadelphia, Michael has lived and worked in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles and has exhibited his work at various galleries, festivals and alternative spaces around the US, Asia and Europe.

He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

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