Waiting Chair - collaboration with Andrew Davis
Waiting Chair is a response to the physical and social limitations of public seating.
The standardization of seating design identifies cultural deviance by highlighting body difference and subsequent incompatibility. Chairs are designed to draw attention to their own form and the form of their user. For people with large bodies, using a chair requires the negotiation of the chair’s structural integrity for supporting their weight, while also considering how or if the chair will fit around the shape of their bodies, causing more attention to their scrutinized appearance. Through this physical and emotional discomfort, a fat person is conditioned to avoid experiences that remind them that their nonconforming existence is unacceptable, ultimately erasing their engagement with public spaces.
Designed to invite larger bodies into a more secure and privileged experience, Waiting Chair subverts the traditional voyeuristic position afforded to viewers and, instead, prioritizes the vantage point of its user. A more equitable relationship is possible between the two by the chair’s obstruction of the sitter’s body, allowing visibility of the body only when the viewer is positioned directly in front of, and within direct gaze of, the sitter. The formal qualities of the piece serve to make apparent its structural integrity, imitating for fat people what is normal and common for non-fat people - sitting in a chair without consideration for comfort and social stigma.
Andrew Davis and Stephanie Sutton
pine, MDF, paint, and wood screws