A Bench For Two is a collaboration between myself and Jonathan Ng. It is a juncture between past and present. It contains both an evolving memory and a knack for story telling. Its physical appearance is designed to invite a single user and provoke them to open the small door placed next to them. If the user chooses to open the door while on the bench it actives a two step process. First, a screen submerged in non conductive fluid, held in a custom made plastic tank, is activated. This screen shows a video of the very last person to open the door. The video is obscured by the murky water above the screen. At times it can be hard to tell if the figure is you, or another. This distinction becomes immediately clear if and when the video shuts off, when the user in the video closes the door on you.
While this interaction unfolds a second unconscious interaction is happening. The users themselves are being recorded. They will be the next silhouette obscured by the murky water for a new visitor. This creates a chain of subjects and viewers that remains unbroken all the way back to the very first user of the bench. The very first recording ingrained into the bench’s memory is myself and Jon pouring the dark liquid over the screen.
A Bench for two is constructed out of a single piece of 4 inch thick maple, hand routed, sanded, and painted. The bench runs on an external 50 000mAh LiPo battery, a Raspberry Pi, and an Arduino mini. The Raspberry Pi controls the screen and video recording with a python script and the Arduino controls infrared lights and senses when the door is open and closed.