Robert's Cat Tree
is an augmented reality object for an exhibition in the Elms mansion in Newport, Rhode Island.
The means of the exhibition is to explore issues in our time as the "Second Gilded Age".
Robert's Cat Tree is a furniture piece designed for the ultra-rich.
During the First Gilded Age, leisure was considered an asset of wealthy people.
Being able to sit on your lawn all day squandering time and doing nothing was
considered a symbol of Luxury.
Leisure = Luxury
Who knows how to enjoys leisure better than cats?
Cat is the animal of leisure.
Human assumes other’s desires, and project their own desire onto the others.
Toys are designed based on adult’s assumption of a kid’s childhood.
Cat trees are also results of desire assumptions. So when it comes to luxury,
it is not surprising to see how “Luxury Cat Furniture” are designed exactly like
high-end furniture for human, filled with velvet, upholstery, carved walnut, etc.
Of course, they target human because it is human who enjoys and pays for the “Luxury”, not the cats.
If we subvert the scenario,
assuming comfort and leisure onto human from a cat’s perspective,
it results in a cat tree.
It is a combination of a lounge chair and cat tree, carpeted, cushioned and raised up
above everyone to infuse you with leisure and superiority.
Lastly, the cat tree is gilded with a quote of Robert Mercer, who values cats over welfare recipients.
is incorporated into the Newport Mansion Tour App, which is installed into all
the phones provided at the front of the Elms mansion for tourists.
The play is between the viewers and the user of the furniture,
Who is entertaining and who is entertained?