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The art of useless machines

Katie Fehrenbacher
Katie Fehrenbacher|June 7, 2004 11:58 AM

Maywa DenkiMaywa DenkiUsually we tend to cover objects that make a concerted effort to convince users of their need. And while we'll concede that way too many of them fall short of the mark, at least an attempt is made. But we were more than happy to find a website of Japanese designers who, in the tradition of Chindogu (the art of useless inventions), have created Maywa Denki — an art collective dedicated to creating "nonsense machines".

Founded by brothers Masamichi and Nobumichi Tosa, who say they began their career in an art unit of Sony Maywa DenkiEntertainment (hey, they could have just stayed there if they wanted to focus on uselessness!), the collaboration features different sections inspired by different themes. "Naki" is filled with "fish motif designs", like "Uke-tel", a fish cage with creepy hanging needles which (in theory) drop and potentially skewer an unlucky fish, or "Pachi-Moku", a backpack type winged musical instrument that operates by electronic finger snappers. Another section "Tsukuba" displays electric-powered music devices like the "Taratter", remote-controlled tap shoes enabling easy tapping and an accompanying fake digital tapping sound. Maywa Denki don't sell most of their machines (though they do sell some of them), but they do have a Maywa Denki uniform for sale (a spoof of a typical Japanese electronic store outfit) as well as other goods like Ryota Kuwakubo's Bitman (which was previously featured here on Engadget).

[Via Metropolis]