Perfect Sense by Chris Shen is an experiment in automation and systems of trust.
The exhibition features site-responsive artworks made of everyday automatic devices, locallysourced and altered in New York. The works, activated by motion sensors, respond to thearchitecture of the space, the visitor, and themselves.
First presented at Current Plans, Hong Kong in 2022, the second iteration of Perfect Sensetakes place at Public Works Administration, a gallery located in Times Square, down astairwell between street level and the subway concourse. The space is intermittently lit bythe motion sensing security lights of Lume (Auto) which are arranged in close proximity tocreate an ecosystem of perpetually activated devices. Alongside, Not Saliva (Auto), amodified dispenser, discharges a nondescript gel into the visitor’s palm. In the corner, FujiCyber-Relax (Auto), a found machine with intimate intent, contracts and expands when itsenses a visitor nearby.
The works automatically illuminate, dispense, and massage in curious ways beyond theircomponents’ intended purposes as helpful equipment. These moments create unexpecteddelight or discomfort, emerging during the suspension of the visitor’s implicit trust in thesefamiliar, ubiquitous objects.
Like the New York City subway, and many other businesses in Times Square, for the durationof Perfect Sense, Public Works Administration will remain open 24/7. However, unlike thenearby eateries, shops, and pharmacies whose staff continuously serve an endless stream ofcustomers, the gallery will remain unattended and open to the public, to exercise the mutualtrust of the organizers, artist, and audience.*
Text by Celine Wong Katzman
*The exhibition will be documented by a CCTV camera also streaming live at chrisshen.net