Ergonomics

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    Olle's collages and sculptures imitate functional workplace objects; charts and adjustable furniture. They remind me of ergonomics. Ergonomics is a field that charts human capabilities and limitations. It is the grease to the socio-technical mechanisms of our daily working life. Ergonomics has three strains: physical, cognitive and organisational. Ergonomic furniture design gave us the swivel, reclining, adjustable office chair. But it goes beyond physical space to cognitive space where it ensures our mental processes are engaged most effectively - that our minds don't wander or tire. Beyond the individual, organisational ergonomics reaches out into the very make up of our workplace, community, and city to ensure our society is best arranged to be productive. Ergonomics make sure you work comfortably. Ergonomics makes sure you work more. Ergonomics = Intensified labour. Ergonomics has the numbing effect of making the unreasonable tolerable - an insidiousness made more condescending since, in the process, the benefitting party appears compassionate. Olle's work is anti-ergonomic productivity. It rejects the streamlining of activity and cognition by mimicking the aesthetics of usefulness. The sculptures suggest functionality and it seems for a moment as though they might be an apparatus of obscure purpose. Instead they teeter with a sensational uselessness under the weight of disparate references. These objects are useful only for expanding and fragmenting our experience. The detritus of technology and industry which make up Olle's sculptures become tools with which he mocks the failure of these once 'useful' objects to reign in all productivity and put it in the service of efficiency. The collages, while insinuating corporate diagrams or flow charts, splinter rather than streamline our cognitive associations. Narrative asserts itself unexpectedly over and over and formalism jostles against the ever-expanding web of visual associations. Our productivity, as it occurs in the workplace, is ergonomic; activity and cognition is streamlined and fixed on a single path. Lets imagine instead, activity motivated by the metaphor of Indra's net; the infinite web of the universe which has at each vertex a jewel. Every jewel in the web contains the reflection of all the other jewels. And, in each reflected jewel, is the reflections of all the other jewels. The accumulation of words, images, conversation, sound, information and history splays out in front of us and its web of references is infinite. The ergonomic rationalisation of our world is too comfortable. Lets produce less efficiently.
—Pip Wallis