Aristotles Office

9 Objects and an interface: Answer machine, Bin, Fan, Filing cabinets, Lamp, Plant, Telephone, Watercooler. 2007 Tom Keene and Kypros Kyprianou, a Lighthouse commission, Brighton.

Aristotles Office playfully makes visible the underlying software and hardware structures between networked objects. We aim to investigate potential relationships between everyday objects using simple universal rules. How will the office plant respond to the advances of the fan? Will the water-cooler shy away from the flashing office light?

Throughout an increasingly wired and wireless world, objects are being embedded with communicating technologies, and are increasingly drawn into networked behavior where previously they were independent. Objects are no longer passive receivers of one-sided instruction. The machines talk amongst themselves but who knows what they are saying and how our relationships with them evolve as they slowly begin to talk.

Each object can be plugged into each other via a simple patch-bay interface. When one an object is attached to another, they begin their conversation, sometimes they are excited, sometimes get bored. When talking, the objects utilise the rather elderly sounding OAP (Object Action Protocol), over the POLAN (Physical Object Local Area Network), it seems this is their preferred method of communication.

“Clearly this will eventually lead somewhere more interesting than the Ray Bradbury inspired MIT House of the Future where your fridge starts giving you diet tips.” Bruce Sterling 2006.