Lonely people living in Zagreb had a little comfort this weekend, in the form of a large, moving sculpture designed solely to give hugs.
The Hugging Sculpture was made by young Croatian artist Vitar Drinković, and was placed between Martićeva Street and Ratkajev Passage, as part of Design District Zagreb. The sculpture, made of a metal frame and inflatable padding, is typical of Drinković's work - he 's known for interactive pieces which focus on the way people feel, think and act.
A person would activate the sculpture by initiating a hug, and it would respond to the weight and pressure of their body, returning the hug and vibrating. It's supposed to make us question whether we respond to machines in the way we respond to humans - it also gave viewers the unusual opportunity to get hugged by a robot.
The artist wrote on his blog that “at the present time of overload, hurry and scurry, rivalry and interpersonal alienation, it seems that we are increasingly in demand of some genuine connection and attention. Human behaviour is marked by the paradox of a profound split between introversion and the need to belong. The fear of the real world, as well as our intense dwelling into the virtual have led to the obliviousness of real communication.
“the idea is that the Hugging Sculpture is designed as a product that could be placed somewhere at the business premises so that employees could use it to balance their emotional needs, and it represents a partially comical and cynical commentary regarding today’s society”.
The Hugging Sculpture was created in collaboration with “uradisamARTLAB”.