Squeeze Chair (Blueprint) / Wendy Jacob

Commissioned by ZERO1

Wendy Jacob’s projects operate at the interface between art, design and technology. Her artistic strategies invoke the body in the engineered environment. Squeeze Chair (Blueprint) is her contribution to this year’s ZER01 Biennial. “The development of this project has its origin in 1993, in meetings with the autistic engineer and animal scientist, Temple Grandin, who created a device – based on the design of a cattle squeeze chute - to apply an even pressure to her own body. In my reimagining, the device is crafted as a piece of living room furniture. The hug, separated from the complications of human contact, is distilled to pressure, delivered by a second person via the pulse of a foot-operated pump.” (Wendy Jacob)

The current installation shows two newly created chairs together with shipping boxes that display information about their history and construction. At the digital velocity of Silicon Valley, the body itself risks receding to a vanishing point. Jacob’s work repositions the person at the midpoint of a relationship with humanized machines (see image). From garage to living room, Squeeze Chair (Blueprint) documents the evolution of an idea and proposes its future course.

Note: in 2008 Wendy Jacob founded Autism Studio as a component of The Future of Body research cluster in the ACT program of MIT.

Project team includes Theodossios Demetrios Issaias.

Special thanks to C. Badger, Clementine Cummer, Samuel Ray Jacobson, Elizabeth Shepherd, and Martin Seymour.

This project is presented as part of the exhibition 
Seeking Silicon Valley at the ZERO1 Garage 
September 12-December 8, 2012
Admission is free

Wendy Jacob

lives and works in Cambridge, MA

Artist website


Artist Wendy Jacobʼs work bridges traditions of sculpture, invention, and design, and explores relationships between architecture and the body. Her projects include walls and ceilings that breathe, tightropes rigged through living rooms and floors that vibrate with sub-audible sound. Jacobʼs work has been shown at the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Kunsthaus Graz, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. In 2011, Jacob was awarded the Maud Morgan Prize by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.