Client: Draiflession Collection
Location: Mettingham, Germany
Completion date: 2022
Artist / Designer
The Final Bid questions the ease in which we can purchase new objects whilst perfectly useable objects lie unwanted in our homes. What makes up the largest portion of our average greenhouse gas emissions is not air travel, energy consumption, or food, but — at about 4 tons per person — the consumption of manufactured goods such as furniture, clothing, and appliances.
Using the Draiflessen Collection as a hub for an ongoing ‘on-lines’ auction, chairs were bought and sold, to create a constantly evolving sculpture. This installation, conflating the commercial with the cultural, encouraged people to sell chairs they no longer need, promoting an economy of reuse.
Before the exhibition, chairs were collected to auction from the local community. The chairs rested on the ground until the opening of the exhibition. Once open, the chairs’ height rose as the values of the bids increase.
The aims for the project were two-fold.
Firstly, to create behavioral change through engaging visitors and the local community in Mettingen, Germany in the process of circulating their existing underused or unwanted furniture rather than buying these products new. This process raised awareness about the significant carbon impact of buying new goods within the community.
Secondly, to increase community interaction and increase visitor numbers for the museum which has only been open to the public for seven years. Through the engagement of the community as both buyers and sellers of chairs, the museum played an active role in this exchange providing much more than just an exhibition space. A series of drawings explained the whole development of the installation from its initial conception and these drawings were added to by visitors and school children attending workshops.
The museum presents high-quality exhibitions in the rural periphery with national and international loans and partnerships. Over the years, the focus has always been on involving the local population. By directly addressing different interest groups, THE FINAL BID can be considered a highlight a highlight within this endeavour. Many guests who do not belong to the regular art-affine public have found their way to the museum and the exhibition. With “The Final Bid” the museum was providing a direct service for the local community and showing their own chairs. This gave the local community as sense of ownership and pride in the exhibition. This feeling also created the special atmosphere at the opening, which was the best attended opening since COVID.
The sculptural presence within the gallery only represented an interruption in the re-use journey. These chairs had existed in people’s houses, they found a new home somewhere else; the aesthetic moment was created by harnessing the byproduct of this process. In effect, the exhibition was created by borrowing assets from the community in exchange for offering a service. The Final functioned in the town, in the exhibition and on-line. It required people to participate in the process. Those engaging on-line were presented with webcam view of the gallery space. As they bid, they saw the height of their chosen object change accordingly. Participants also bid in the gallery, to experience the re-configuration of the chairs in real space and in real time.