Daily Pic: More art from the High Line, this time one of its humble water fountains … which hide a sound-art project titled “Digital Empathy,” by Julianne Swartz. Press the button to get water (or use a High Line bathroom or elevator) and a soothing, computerized voice feeds you one of a number of pseudo-corporate messages:”You really deserve a break. We support your attempt to improve your quality of life,” or “you are safe here, and everything is running smoothly.” Other clips relax you with song or poetry, also delivered by computer.
I love the High Line (it runs just outside our offices), but it does have something just a tiny bit manufactured and corporate about it, as though it might have been designed to make us office slaves more productive. After all, even the “worker-friendly” coffee break, now enshrined in union contracts, was originally introduced by industry to speed assembly-line work. Swartz’s work captures the packaging of corporate friendliness.
The Daily Pic, along with more global art news, can also be found on the Art Beast page at thedailybeast.com.