Demonstrating The World by Aaron Williamson 


Designed to be presented in city centre shopping areas, ‘Demonstrating the World’ takes the form of a durational public intervention performance disguised as an everyday consumerist exposition.

The work began with an appreciation of the ‘Demonstration’ (or ‘How To’) video phenomenon on social media. In these short films, some single aspect of everyday life that would not normally be worthy of much remark, is given a rigorous instructional depiction by amateur filmmakers: how to climb steps, remove a jacket, sit on a chair, lift a bag, tie a shoelace. No activity or object would appear too mundane to be given the treatment, as though the demonstrations are being performed to an audience that has no experience of habitual human activity. As though, that is, they are being addressed to extraterrestrial aliens.

Adopting this theme of the ‘alien’ or ‘other’, I wanted to demonstrate the workings of an invented series of objects that combined the commonplace with the outlandish. To this end I collaborated with architect Ida Martin to design a range of household furniture pieces capable of being transformed from one domestic function into another unrelated one: a side table opens out to form an ironing board; a clock transforms into a vacuum cleaner; a TV set opens out into a bookshelf, and so on.


Supported by Unlimited celebrating the work of disabled artists. Unlimited is delivered in partnership by Shape and Artsadmin, with funding from Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council Wales and Spirit of 2012.

All images © Manuel Vason 2019
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