Problem Equipment Solution Problem

Simon Morse

9th December -23rd December 2006

Simon Morse’s solo exhibition at Grey Area presents a series of large-scale prints of hand-held devices.Though at first appearing not to have any particular logic or definite function, the devices’ buttons, switches, read-outs and screens connect to form a picture of a world where desperate problems are met with increasingly desperate solutions.

Morse describes the work thus: “On Christmas Day millions of people will unwrap a gadget of one form or another. Soon after, they will read the instruction manual and begin using their exciting device. A couple of days later and they will have integrated it neatly into their daily life. Using it will feel right and logical, as will be proved when showing it off to a friend who, when moving from simply admiring it to actually pressing its buttons, will be told NO, NO, NOT LIKE THAT YOU IDIOT.

The owner of the gadget will therefore have undergone a modification to their range of possible perceptions, responses and actions, and they will thus, wittingly or unwittingly, begin to modify the world around them through the agency of their new gadget, with its own much more finite range of possible perceptions, responses and actions.

The equipment we use for work, that helps us live, eat, remain warm and occasionally kill each other, similarly modifies us and causes the new us to modify the world in the equipment’s image. The people who design the systems and equipment we use are not exempt from this process; indeed, all of us are necessarily active participants. The designer creates the device. The user uses it. The world is changed. The designer creates a new device to cope with or capitalise on this change. The PROBLEM we create EQUIPMENT to find a SOLUTION to inevitably results in a different PROBLEM. This is known as progress.

The works exhibited at the Grey Area celebrate the ability many of us still retain to pause, look at what’s in front of us (or in our hand or pocket) and ask - to quote Paul Gauguin - ’Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?’”