Picture this: You’re standing on the subway. The train begins to fill, begins to move, it lurches forward and the man standing next to you grabs the bar, right above your hand. Touching your hand. It’s awkward, it’s intimate, it can be off-putting and germy (who knows where those palms have been?). It’s situations like these that are cleverly tackled at Uncomfortable Conversations, a show in the Meatpacking District curated by Liz Kinnmark and Kegan Fisher, the talented duo behind Design Glut.
Sixteen designers were asked to approach the theme with an open mind and no restrictions. Andrew Hearsager used the close quarters of public transport as inspiration for Mind the Gap, a lambskin glove with solid silver spikes—the kind used to keep pigeons off of ledges—to keep undesired hand-to-hand contact to a minimum, and the range of installations tackled human exchanges, miscommunications, overconsumption and very bad kerning. Though the small space was conceived to make you squirm, that discomfort actually made for a fun, lighthearted vibe that made these pieces accessible and surprisingly enjoyable to engage with. Approaching these ideas head-on, it seems, was exhilarating for those who created them and those experiencing them.
Check out the slideshow for more uneasy-but-strangely-satisfying emotions.