SoftClog® was a revolutionary commercial cushioned flooring system patented in 1972 in the town of Boston in Lincolnshire. It was rolled out nationwide as part of a retail regeneration scheme that coincided with the ‘New Town’ boom taking place in Britain at the time. It’s USP, alongside its eclectic colour schemes and dynamic patterning, was its ability to cushion the heel (or instep depending on the shopper's gait) for 3/7’s of a second longer than any competing rubber manufacturer out there. This was due to a micro layer of polyurethane foam sandwiched in the middle of its 3-tiered structure.
Research proved that this minute extension of podiatric ecstasy beneath the sole of the shopper would release endorphins and serotonin into the body inducing a state of comfort and pleasure. This slows the pace at which people walked, which in turn encouraged shoppers dwell time . Thus, fulfilling their temporary destiny, to shop.
The Centre is an exhibition by artists Patrick Cole and Dominic Watson. The show is set inside the food court of a failing shopping centre. In the middle of the exhibition stands a dilapidated juice bar built by Cole. The circular structure will act as stage and set for a new twenty-minute performance exploring Cole’s interest in the storytelling traditions of ‘the Bard’. Cole’s monologue will discuss the fictional history of the kiosk through personal vignettes and distorted memories. The performed soliloquies will deal with loneliness and anxiety, using humor and pathos to forge a connection with the audience.
Accompanying the kiosk are sculptures made by Watson, a stacked tower of Paper Mache Microwaves. Slowly rotating inside sits a self-portrait of the artist anxiously looking out through the microwave door. He is accompanied by sculptures of food, inflated burgers, plates of ham and eggs perpetually turning. The microwaves function as vitrines, tempting potential consumers to indulge in their visceral pleasure. Two pale white diners made from paper clay are sat sharing an obscenely long sandwich. Their bodies look set in stone, half people half furniture merging into one another. Watson’s sculptures explore the human body through the visceral, grotesque and absurd.
1. Dwell Time – the length of time a person spends looking at a display or remaining in a specific area. An essential retail metric for analysing shopping behaviour and increasing customer spending.