This week, during our Sci-Art session, we were put into groups and told to design an experiment, the experiment which had to involve an item that we had all brought from home. We had been told not to bring anything that had significant meaning to us as it may get damaged so - we took this literally. We designed an experiement we named, 'Resistance to Pressure', naturally, as creative students we designed this as an audience participation and almost performance piece.
We told our volunteers that the idea of the experiement was to 'stab' each item with a screwdriver to test each objects resistance to pressure. Before letting each audience member stab the object, we gave them a small story of why we brought each object in, to see if the stories would deter our volunteers from being destructive. A couple of people realised the true nature of the experiement straight away.
Each story got worse as the items got a little bit more meaningful, our initial expectation of the experiment was that as each story got more emotional and meaningful, our audience would be reluctant to damage the items infront of them. However, this was not the case...
Sourced From: Vimeo - Damyon Garrity
I think that the reason we didn't see anyone resist the temptation to stab each object was due to the pressure of their peers. External factors started to influence our group and we realised that if we were to conduct the experiment again, there are a few varibles to take into consideration.
1. We think that if our first voluteer hadn't been so violent with their blow, then others would have been more cautious.
2. If our voluteers had been icsolated and hadn't seen each others reactions, would they have gone through with their actions.
3. Because the stories about each item gradually got more involved - we wonder if it were only the last, more meaningful item that had a story, that our volunteers would have been more reluctant to give into the pressure of the instructions they had been given. Perhaps this would have created enough of a reason not to stab the Elvis Pig!
4. If the object they were given to 'stab' the items (screwdriver) had been less intimidating or if we had used a different word other than, 'stab' would this have influenced their reaction.