37. Elementary Ergonomics

Elementary ergonomics

06

Photograph from National Museum of American History, Behring Center, Division of Work and Industry Collection.

The blog/podcast (now magazine) Funambulist focuses on the ‘politics of space and bodies’ and has looked often oat the interface of the human body and the built environment. The article “Patterns of Life” by Gregoire Chamayou surveyed many examples of mapping the movement of people (or just their limbs). The image above shows Lilian and Frank Gilbreth’s ‘chronocylcegraph’ in which lights were affixed to a workers body and long exposure photographs would document the path of various body parts while performing specific tasks. This research was used to recommend alterations to workflow in an effort to improve productivity. Below are two images of a cast I made to document the motion my right arm made while I read a book. This ‘research’ was used in making the reading chair project previously described on this blog.

37 Cast Section37 Cast Use

Ergonomics focuses on designing for the natural ability and limitations of the human body, but another project discussed on the Funambulist blog (Arakawa/Gin) took the approach that architecture could make “people use their bodies in unexpected ways to maintain equilibrium, and that, she [Madeline Gin] said, will stimulate their immune systems.” – (NYTimes 2008). See also – The Function of the Oblique by Claude Parent and Paul Virilio.

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