Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Nonergonomic! Bad Feng Shui

Nonergonomic! Bad Feng Shui
[人因工程 ]

Bad Feng Shui

Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese philosophy of spatial design, aspires to create harmony in your home. What happens when designers deliberately break the rules? The set for the splash TV series Big Brother is a lesson in bad feng shui.

When it aired in Europe and Great Britain, the television show Big Brother became the world's most widely viewed docudrama -- a chance for voyeurs to watch real people living inside a camera-filled house during prime time, five nights a week. Now, the Big Brother craze has spread to the United States, bringing with it a new way of thinking about home design.

The concept for the Big Brother show is Orwellian: Ten strangers spend three months under 24-hour surveillance in a bare-basics, 1,800 square foot house. There are two bedrooms furnished with six twin beds and two bunk beds. The bathroom has one toilet, one shower, a washboard and a washtub. The house is equipped with twenty-eight cameras, sixty microphones and sixty-nine camera windows and two-way mirrors. Nine windows face the yard.

These factors alone are enough to make most people uneasy. But, to add to the general unrest, designers who created the house for the American version of the show drew upon feng shui ideas. Feng shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy of spatial design. Follow the rules, and you will have harmony in your home, say feng shui believers. Break the rules, and.... Well, just look inside the Big Brother house to see the impact of disharmonious design.

For the full article see:

Editor's Comments:

It is interesting to note that,

"One of the most important, and most turbulent, spaces in the Big Brother house is the Red Room. Here the occupants communicate with Big Brother, seek counsel from a doctor or psychologist, or speak privately with the TV producers. Designers drew upon feng shui principles to create dissonance... the small room has only one chair. Visitors must sit with their backs to the door, facing a mirror, where they are certain to feel vulnerable." (Emphasis added)

Diabolical? Absolutely. After all, this is the room where the contestants "seek counsel from a doctor or psychologist" [ ! ] But fascinating as that is, it is not what amazes me. What amazes me about this news report is how deeply awareness and acceptance of Feng Shui has penetrated the "rationalistic" West. We have arrived at a point where art directors and set designers for a "Reality TV" program in England, the Home of the Industrial Revolution, and America, the most technologically advanced nation in the world, have internalized esoteric Chinese mystical precepts as if they were Newtonian Physics, and are routinely, matter of factly applying them to 21st century electronic media programming. Welcome to the Global Electronic Village.

-- Bevin Chu

Explanation: Bad Feng Shui
Illustration: None
Author: Jackie Craven
Publication Date: None
Original Language: English
Editor: Bevin Chu, Registered Architect

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