The On/Off room in Melbourne, Australia is unlike other rooms – it’s intended to help its inhabitants unplug from the intensity of the tech world. Inspired by the works of Michael Faraday, the modern gridded cage blocks all form of electronic signals including WiFi and cellular signals. It’s like leaving the city behind for a forest of perforated metallic walls. In other words, torturous.
The right of connection – to housing, health, education, the internet, financial capital – allows humans to improve the spaces they occupy in the world. Heightened connectivity also demands an opposite tendency: the ability to switch off. On/Off takes an extreme position on connectivity through the construction of a type of Faraday cage. Discovered by Michael Faraday in 1836 it is a structure covered by a conductive material that prevents electromagnetic charges reaching its interior. It is the ultimate disconnection space.
While we all want a moment of quietness from our phones, our tablets, our computer, and other people’s phones, this is probably the most psychotic inducing spatial installation I’ve seen. I can’t imagine how it would feel for someone who claim to suffer from trypophobia, the fear of repetitive patterns. It’s probably a lot nicer to just go for a hike in the forest or sit in a wheat field in the middle of nowhere, as long as it’s not a cage.