One of the things that comes up in discussions of design is if, and how, it's different from art. At last week's European Academy of Design in Aberdeen, there was talk of critical design, a term associated with Dunne and Raby (see my earlier post about the conference) as well as other practitioners. One of the claims Fiona Raby made in her keynote at EAD was that in contemporary art, now you can do pretty much anything, nothing is shocking or draws attention, whereas it can be a radical gesture to present an artefact in the context of design, inviting audiences to imagine something in use through proposition and speculation.
Here's a contribution to that discussion. It's a work called Aurabox (2005). It looks a bit like something you might buy at IKEA. But what is not (yet) at IKEA is the two embedded LED lights indicating the status of the object's aura, either on or off. It's inspired by Walter Benjamin's idea in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936) that "that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.". Here's a short film showing the Aurabox in the group show Product and Vision in Berlin in 2005.