Panic Box, 2004
One of the most common triggers for panic is the loss of control over a situation, such as being enclosed in small spaces from which one cannot escape by one’s own efforts. This may be the reason why one of the deepest human fears is being buried alive or, more recently, being stuck in a lift without contact to the outside world. The latter also reflects the fear of losing control, which humans experience when being at the mercy of technological systems.
The Panic Box creates such a situation. After closing the door, the user is trapped inside the box and is asked to pass a reaction test in order to open the door. The situation intensifies with the release of a gas and the continuous drop in reaction results. However, since the test results are manipulated and the gas is a placebo, the only way to escape the box is to press a panic button, which raises an outside alarm. The machine creates a hopeless situation from which one can only escape by admitting one’s state of panic. (Photos in collaboration with Jonas Unger)
© 20042016 Björn Franke