The Big Hug

The compression cradle looks like a remnant of a world that we haven’t seen yet but that we could soon live in. One in which the mechanical touch can be an antidote for today’s „connection forever“, a behavior that has triggered a solitary disconnection with ourselves.

Compression Carpet was presented at the Festival of the Impossible, an exhibition in San Francisco that explored the future relationship between man and machine.

We are a people of lonely people. 8.5 million Italians live in complete solitude (40% widowers, 39% single or single, 21% separated), while more than one in three families, 31.6%, is made up of one person. According to the Istat Report of 2018, about 3 million people say they do not have a network of friends, nor a support network, nor do they participate in a network of volunteer associations.

The data coming from the world are even more alarming, with Japan in the lead, where one in three people is alone and in 15 years will be an absolute majority. The rate of isolation is very high, due to an alienating life, in which the digital has taken the place of affections.

If in some cases loneliness is a choice, more often than not it is dictated by the times in which we live, a future in which the growing technology boom is beginning to have a great impact on people’s mental well-being, one wonders if the mechanical contact rather than physical contact with other humans, it will become the solution to this loneliness.

The American artist, Lucy McRae, has created a machine called Compression Carpet, which offers hugs to those in need.
We are moving towards a tactile crisis in which we are flooded with technology, to the point of living every day in anxiety and complete solitude.The architect of the body, as she herself defines herself, wanted to reproduce through her machine the sensation of what happens with an embrace.

The first effect that one has is the production of oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. Oxytocin is released in different situations (including during an embrace) and is linked to emotional relationships. Its effect on the organism is of powerful anti-stress. According to science, oxytocin also serves to strengthen the bond and attachment, or the desire to stay close to other people. The hug machine is colored in pink and brown tones , reminiscent of skin tones, to emphasize the illusion of human touch.

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