Human curiosity is a wonderful thing and I have now discovered that it rates above security in some of our emotional checklists. This discovery was made whilst walking through St Pancreas station in London, or more accurately this is when I personally made the discovery. A new ‘installation’ has been placed on the concourse which is essentially a small garden shed with no doors. On each side of this box there are small holes with ‘view’, ‘look’ or some such statement emblazoned on them. From each of these openings what I presume is termed an ‘inviting’ light beckons.
As I approached this today there was a man bent over enjoying whatever view there is inside the object. This was a demonstration of human curiosity at its best. Two factors combined to help the second observation: that you had to bend over to view the object and apple’s sleek design. One of the ‘features’ of the Apple phone is that its form is soft and rounded, this means it is not particularly good at being constrained in one’s pocket. Well actually its rubbish. Especially when bending over to view an “installation”, hence this viewer’s prized phone seemed to have grasped the opportunity to escape and was almost free.
Now at this moment my good nature kicks in and I want to assist but I am in a quandary. If I tap him on the shoulder it is likely to surprise him and as he jumps so his little apple friend will leap to the floor and, since apple haven’t produced a parachute app, it will self destruct. I seriously considered this option since I have a hatred of all things apple but in the end I was too nice. The logical option was to push the phone back into his pocket but would that be wise. I am a tattooed, ponytailed man and the natural assumption that is jumped to is rarely the friendly one. Having weighed up the options I considered it better to leave him to his observations. I am sure that he will remain undisturbed when somebody pockets his phone.
I have actually seen a number of these devices at work in public places and on reflection I wonder if they are installed by modern day thieves. Since this is ‘installation art’ nobody knows what it is supposed to be and the ever curios bend down to observe. To a thief this is the perfect presentation of your expensive possessions. Is there some roaming band of thieves using a shed and a torch as an elaborate plot perhaps?
Not that it would work on me of course because my anti advertisement feature prevents it. I am physically incapable of following suggestion in this manner. If it ‘just has to be done’ then I don’t. If you ‘just need to look’ then I don’t. Quite simply if you want me to do it or encourage me to do it then don’t expect success. If you left me alone with the small shed and the light and the encouraging labels I would not view it. In case there is somebody watching and waiting to say “Ha we made you do it” I avoid any such guided curiosity.
A final question of these ‘installation’ pieces is how do they survive in the modern security mad world full of unattended luggage stazi? If I want to fly on an aeroplane then I have to empty my worldly possessions onto a conveyor belt so that some civil servant can play the generation game. I then have to secrete anything that could ever attain a liquid state into a plastic bag that will inevitably split and empty itself on sight. Having done all of this I have to strip and take several doses of radiation to check that my bones are not made of smuggled rare Dutch edam. The repeated warnings to watch out for unattended luggage mean that frequent travellers are now finding that their luggage smells of urine on account of having to take it to awful public toilets with them.
I presume that the authorities have approved these installations but nonetheless where are all the ‘good citizens’ reporting them. They don’t know it’s a piece of ‘art’, they don’t know it’s authorised. To all intents and purposes it is a big box that you can’t see inside, surely more of a risk than my deodorant? Now here’s a thought for the security services, not that I am an expert of course. But if* I was to plant a bomb in a public place I would put it in a shed with no doors and a little light in the window to attract people. Why smuggle two 50ml toothpaste tubes when I can put 2 ton of semtex in a shed and attract a crowd!
*To those at GCHQ, the author has no intention of carrying out any terrorist acts so please return your attention to the other 6 million email accounts that you monitor.