Performing Appliances, Questioning Affordance

Performing Appliances, Questioning Affordance

Machines are impressive inventions. They help us to save time and generally make life easier. Especially in the kitchen. Yet, they might be a little too good. If we let machines take over all of our tasks, perhaps their perfection could induce a sense of alienation. That is what concerned Amélia Desnoyers. She believes that emotions and actions are linked. So if machines take over our actions, it means they disconnect us from our feelings. This conclusion led to Performing Appliances, Questioning Affordance, a series of kitchen appliances that force us to become physically involved without sacrificing the benefits of modern inventions. “Appliances like a mixer give a better result than we could achieve by hand,” she says. Therefore, Desnoyers’ concept for a kitchen mixer has a unique on-and-off mechanism, which immediately reminds us of the way we kneaded the flour before we possessed machines to do it for us. It only works when you stir a spoon around a separate bowl alongside the machine. Start stirring and the mixer whizzes into action. Stop stirring and the mixer grinds to a halt. “The hands are our access to the world. I want to remind people that appliances are extensions of our hands. Replace them with machines and we are in danger of losing contact not only with our surroundings, but also with ourselves.”

Amélia Desnoyers