Yellow Chair Stories

“Yellow Chair Stories”

Intervention in public space and video documentation, 2005

Anab Jain

Discovering that her wireless network was being used by her neighbours made London-based Indian designer Anab Jain reflect on how little she knew about the people who lived around her and who entered the electronic space of her data network. In order to break this anonymity, she set up a free Internet access point outside her house, offering passers-by the chance to sit on her yellow chair and access the web through her home wireless network. The “Yellow Chair Stories” are an example of how electromagnetic waves (which don’t respect the difference between public and private space, invading neighbouring streets and houses) can be used as a communal resource that, when shared, strengthens the sense of community of the people living in the same street or neighbourhood. Leaving a wireless network open and allowing third parties to use it – something usually forbidden by the provider’s terms and conditions - becomes a strategy for reclaiming the use of public space as communal ground that encourages face to face communication between users.