The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'user-pays'
In China's Shangdong province, life imitates art. More precisely, the operators of a public park there, faced with overcrowding, installed coin-operated park benches with retractable anti-sitting spikes, inspired by an artistic installation critiquing the user-pays ethos:
"He thought he was exaggerating. He didn't foresee that a very practical country like China might actually use them for real," said one critic.
Pay & Sit is a user-pays park bench. The bench contains metal spikes embedded in the sitting surface, which are retracted when the user inserts 0.50€ into a coin box; the bench beeps when the sitting time is about to expire.
Pay & Sit is not an actual product, however, but the work of an artist named Fabian Brunsing, commenting on the logical extremes of user-pays culture and/or the privatisation of public space. There is no guarantee, however, that some local authority (or some firm contracted to manage (privatised, ad-funded) public parks by one) won't try something like that at some point.
"Cyborg researcher" Steve Mann has produced a prototype user-pays chair. The chair is fitted with spikes which retract when a seating licence is purchased by swiping a credit card; a buzzer sounds when the licence is about to expire. A CCTV camera is used to prevent the smuggling in of licence-circumvention devices such as boards and cushions. (Apparently the seat was exhibited in San Francisco in 2001, but bOING bOING only mentioned it now.)