dysfunctional luxuries   deliberately faulty objects by jeremy hutchison dysfunctional luxuries   deliberately faulty objects by jeremy hutchison
nov 20, 2012

dysfunctional luxuries deliberately faulty objects by jeremy hutchison

‘grater’ by jeremy hutchisonimage © jonathan minster



jeremy hutchison: erratumparadise row, londonon from december 5th through to december 21st, 2012


designboom had the chance to speak with london-based artist jeremy hutchison for his project ‘erratum’, where he invited workers from factories across china, india, turkey and pakistan to insert an error in the items they mass-produce every day.


the project is an extension of his 2011 project ‘err’, which saw workers produce an eclectic array of odd artifacts – from a comb with no teeth (made at star creations ltd. in kolkata, india), a spade with its blade upended (from romanik tools S.A in gdansk, poland), to a smoking pipe without a bowl (from pipsan pipes in istanbul, turkey).


in this new iteration of the project, ‘erratum’, hutchison transforms these intentionally dysfunctional objects into a luxury brand, complete with e-commerce website (http://www.erratum.co), commercial trailer, fashion shoot and a luxury store. the erratum brand will launch on december 5th, 2012 at its pop-up boutique in paradise row in london.


each object will be numbered, sealed and authenticated with the provenance (factory name, worker and year of production).


designboom discusses with hutchison his work in greater depth:


how did you arrive at the concept to request faulty items from manufacturers?in may 2010, I read an article about the iPad factory. consumer hunger for iPads had reached such dizzying heights that life on the chinese assembly line had become devastating. workers were throwing themselvess off the roof. one worker said ‘sometimes he would deliberately drop something on the ground so that he could have a few seconds of rest while picking it up.’this caught my attention: an intentional error is an oxymoron. which is also what makes it a fundamentally human act. I wanted to know what would happen if you took this further, and commissioned nonsense into the smooth logic of a hyper-efficient globalised machine.



erratum by jeremy hutchisondouble-ended racketimage © jonathan minster



the work invites and embraces fault  – how is this relevant outside of the manufacturing sense to you?all faults are potential successes. as countless scientific discoveries have proved, sometimes you find something unexpected when you’re looking for something else. penicillin was discovered when alexander fleming accidentally left a petri dish near a windowsill. so rather than conceiving my work as a counter-cultural move, I consider it within the frame of an ongoing rehearsal. a laboratory for new kind of reality. each ‘error’ offers something to which we could conceivably assign new functions, new labels. in this light, you could see the activity as an idiotic kind of R&D.


erratum by jeremy hutchisontoothless sawimage © jonathan minster



the items you were sent that had been mutated often featured errors where the object was merely unfinished – why do you think this was considered a manifestation of ‘error’?an unfinished object is not the manifestation of error. in fact, none of the objects are truly the manifestations of errors. the entire project is based on an erroneous premise: nobody could choose to make an error, since it wouldn’t be an error in the first place.


the following is an extract of an email I received from showown factory in zhejiang, china. it describes a worker who very deliberately chainsawed a phillipe starck chair to bits.


‘the worker who destroyed the chair is lee ming in chinese name,when I told him you need to make errors on the chair,he was puzzled just like me when I was told by you. and I transferred your meaning to him, he still can’t understand you, but he said it really no person like you to concern the workers. anyway, he asked me to say ‘thank you’ to you,and he was happy and enjoyed the process.and you know, the chair is strong enough, first time he wanted to destroy it by a big stone, but failed, then he used a cutting machine. the feeling is great he said after he cut the chair piece to piece.’



erratum by jeremy hutchisonmutated stilettoimage © jonathan minster



was it difficult to have factories agree to send you faulty products?very difficult. factories normally take orders of 10,000 – not one. and certainly not one with an error. it was a case of finding people who were willing to engage with an absurd line of thinking, who wanted to know what would happen. in all, I sent about 4,000 emails. 90% were ignored, 8% met a brick wall. but about 2% of people responded.

there were many tales of chaos on the factory floor. the following is the response from group of workers in an indian factory to their boss’ request for a dysfunctional comb: ‘everyone thought I have gone mad or mis-read your enquiry as everyone in the world strives to improve not to create error.’



erratum by jeremy hutchisondouble-spined notebookimage © jonathan minster


what were some of the strangest items you received?I received a small packet from a factory in singapore. it contained eight twisted, mutated screws. this seemed particularly pertinent: the standardisation of the screw enabled the industrial revelation – which ultimately triggered the predicament of factory workers across the globe. crushed screws are on sale at the erratum luxury boutique. and the phillips screwhead is the logo for the brand.



erratum by jeremy hutchisonre-arranged cricket batimage © jonathan minster



erratum by jeremy hutchisonredundant skateboardimage © jonathan minster



erratum by jeremy hutchisongolf clubimage © jonathan minster



erratum by jeremy hutchisonspadeimage © jonathan minster



erratum by jeremy hutchisonwalking stickimage © jonathan minster



tobacco pipeimage © jonathan minster



the re-imagined objects will be shown on december 5th, 2012 at a pop-up boutique in paradise row in london, each will be numbered, sealed and authenticated with the provenance (factory name, worker and year of production).



shape sorterimage © jonathan minster

  • As i just said two days ago, this is a work about dis/function: http://www.joevelluto.it/?portfolio=useless-is-more-objects

    andrea says:
  • this would go over well in Vermont

    dbkii says:
  • love it
    this just tickles this Vermonter’s funny bone
    thank you for the pause

    Paedra says:
  • great ideas! well made! looks good!!

    Niko says:
  • from the spade, came the hoe. from the double racket came darth maul. these mistakes are bringing clarity to the world! the walking stick? perfect for retired samurai

    johnny says:
  • ove the idea of the choice being made by the workers… I’m also making mainly dysfunctional objects at http://everydayobject.wordpress.com

    jasonmade says:
  • Most of them looks like far away from a error in production. To claim this angle just suggest that there never has been any connecction with the world of massproduction and art.

    Henrik says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

art news