The role of unintended consequences (Sofa Compact), 2016
Digital animation, 10 min
In 1954, a commercial film was released featuring the first flat-pack, ready-to-assemble piece of furniture ever produced: namely, the Sofa Compact. It was just two years later that a containership named Ideal-X sailed to Houston from New Jersey carrying fifty-eight steel storage containers. This was the first journey of containerisation, a revolution in transport which had a tremendous impact on a world of diminishing barriers to exchange, movement and communication.
Connecting these two historical episodes, this animation expands on an intriguing stop-motion sequence from the original footage by Charles and Ray Eames, where the Sofa Compact appeared to assemble itself as if by magic. The film explores the ever-accelerating circulation of the Sofa Compact and its many lives as a luxury commodity, as we travel space and time across an animated, plasmatic, fully-automated universe where human agency is nothing but marginal.
Voiceover: Audio extracts from Charles & Ray Eames’s film ‘S-73’, 1954
Music: Commercial jingles recorded by Raymond Scott between 1953-1969