The table that didn’t fancy me

The Table: Childhood 1984-2001, by Max Dean and Raffaello D’ Andrea, is a robotic table that selectively interacts with persons who enter the room, but it will choose only one viewer among them. As long as that visitor stays, he or she will be the object of the table’s attention.


The table monitors the visitor’s physical reactions. If that person is unresponsive, Table tries harder: it might initiate an action enticing the viewer to copy it or turn on its axis with a pirouette; it might decide to chase – or even to flee. Once some kind of relationship is established, the table determines how to handle the situation, whether lyrically or aggressively.

The Table switches the roles of viewer and object. The artwork and not the viewer is in the position of choice. This in turn focuses the attention of other viewers on one particular visitors, making that person the “object” of attention.

Not sure this one will be of a great help for Nicolas’ CSCW course. Besides, I bear a grudge against this table, I saw it at the Biennale di Venezia exhibition of art, in 2001. I entered the room three times (at least) and the table never chose me.


Via Networked_performance.