One of my favourite human reactions is the double-take, that enlightening pause when your brain catches up with what has just been seen and throbs with an endorphin high – that visual whodunnit/troublesome plot-line finally and suddenly solved. A Eureka moment, but without the calculus.
As such, I love art and advertising that provokes this kind of disruptive point-and-stare response, from spotting reverse-graffiti at your feet, to grasping the meaning behind a subversive and witty allusion to the Olympian disadvantage of being “too quick” (bedside that is… with the Durex advert shown below unfortunately being fake).
I therefore did a mental All Black haka cry and computer-aimed grin when I discovered the work of the Danish/Swiss art group Putput on the website It’s Nice That. Their art forces the viewer to re-evaluate their everyday surroundings by “concealing the extraordinary within the ordinary”. Ultimately, this strikes me a little of living each day like the 1st April, as there is a comical and playful side to their collections and a more human angle to their “informational processing devices” (their name not mine). Their installation Inflorescence, for example, has a pantomime touch – making the grateful recipient of a pot of flowers the unknowing fool, as the colourful blooms turn out to be cleaning products. Putput therefore designs and creates to the old warning “appearances can be deceptive”, but without any moral side story. Instead, they only test one experiment – in the modern context of “looking but not seeing”, how do you create surprise?