Chiu Chih


Chih Chiu | Arte Laguna PrizeChih Chiu
Taipei, Taiwan 1990

Sel-service Barber Shop

Art section: Performance

Dimensions: Variables

Year: 2021

Technique: Performance

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Public awareness of the accelerated climate crisis is increasing, forcing humans to reflect on our anthropocentric existence. However, in terms of taking steps to correct our actions, humans are held back by fear of change. For decades, the human-centred mindset has shaped the interface around us. Usability is prioritised in the pursuit of frictionless user experiences. With the help of technology, such as big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, spoiled users can no longer tolerate the need to go through the learning and thinking processes. We are losing confidence in our ability to think, learn and adapt. It is imperative that we regain this confidence to prepare for a rebalanced future and learn to be comfortable in a new off-centre position. To apply this practice in daily activities, the Self-service Barbershop proposes a human-decentred interaction that celebrates humans’ adaptability. Opposite the conventional hair-cutting process, where hair clippers orbit the customer’s head, with the Self-service Barbershop, the hair clippers are the orbit centre. This reversed relationship encourages customers to move their bodies to cut their own hair. It morphs the process into an improvised full-body dance and reveals how an aesthetic can be created in a ‘poorly’ designed interaction. The Self-service Barbershop is coin-operated.

It costs NT$10 (approximately EUR€0.3) for a 10-minute cut, and the customer is not being served during the entire experience. A gown, disinfecting spray and a brush are provided, making the customer responsible for cleaning and hygiene. The height of the device is not adjustable. If it is too low, the customer must kneel down. If it is too high, they must find a stool. All the details were thoughtfully considered to amplify a human-decentred interaction experience.