The Consent Pods is an interactive artwork consisting of a pair of hand-held sculptures designed to engender reflection on the entwined notions of touch and consent. The piece requires two participants, establishing simultaneous co-operation and the mediation of contact through a device, offering the possibility of a playfulness that bypasses cultural taboos.
Switching the silicone thumb on the sculpture activates the other pod, indicating 'consent' to the other participant. The colour of the pod gets brighter and warmer, turning from blue to pink with prolonged touch. The interaction triggers a heartbeat, warmth and breath, establishing a channel of affective communication through touch with the other participant. Crucially, the interlocutor has the power to halt consent, an action which turns the sculpture red and sounds a loud alarm. The 'no consent' alarm will be heard throughout the room, drawing passers-by into an engagement with the installation and adding another layer to the complexities of co-operation and interconnection.
This work is part of a series of explorations of touch. It inflects and consolidates previous works such as The Finger Rub Rug, where the viewer was passively interacting with the artwork, and Future Affair, where the viewer becomes an active participant.