The Guilt Disposal Unit is an interactive work that draws upon the complexity of human, psychological responses to sustainability and contemporary lifestyles. It features a dimly lit, semi-private, confessional booth containing a table, chair and a 1930’s Corona typewriter that is electronically modified to enable typed confessions to be digitally recorded. At the heart of the confessional is a unique species of cephalopod that consumes guilty secrets, our sins confessed.
This artificial organism fused in a future noir artificial life form, is ravenous for feelings we’d rather deny. Evoking psychology experiments of the 1950’s and dark Orwellian or Dickean futures, people can rid themselves of guilt they feel about their lifestyle or patterns of consumption by typing their secrets into the machine.
Small servomotors in the organism cause the creatures feathers to twitch in response to certain confessions. The cephalopod emits a soft glow, which changes as it consumes different types of guilt. Once the guilt is consumed, the creature decides upon a task – a penance – one must enact to achieve absolution. A small thermo printer in front of the cephalopod’s cabinet prints the penance, which can then be taken away. Each has a darkly humorous tone and needs to be completed within a certain timeframe.
Interacting with the Guilt Disposal Unit draws attention to our feelings and prompts questions. Should I feel guilty about this? Is it my responsibility? Even if I should feel guilty, do I really? If not, why not? Is it because we can’t properly process mediated information – no matter how devastating – about an event so apparently far off in the future? It is because we feel reluctant to take personal responsibility when corporate responsibility for climate change is either ignored or used as a business opportunity? Or is it because we feel the horse has already bolted?
The aim of this project is to explore people’s complex psychological responses to a changing planet. Conservative climate science estimates Hollywood disaster film climate change scenarios within the next 100 years – our great grandchildren will be middle aged around that time – yet we remain peculiarly relaxed. The archive of guilt collected will offer insights into this complex psychological and political terrain.
A Kuuki Production realised by:
Artists: Priscilla Bracks and Gavin Sade
Programming: Glen Wetherall
Wood Work: Richard Vaughan
Artist Assistant: Nicole Gillard
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.