Couch[ed] Potato

1. Couch (verb): to lie down.

2. Couch(verb): express (something) in language of a specified style.

Couch[ed] Potato harnesses the energy of its namesake root to express (or couch) caloricconsumption that lacks a corresponding exertion. These calories- which we assume to beabsorbed rather than burned- are couched topographically, kinetically, and sonically.The points and paths of 21 individuals within the 2017 class- those who engage in eatingand drinking but no exercise- create a dataset of ‘couch potatoes’ for mapping. Arrangedin rings by their distance and subdivided by the 24 hours of the day, paths were liftedat points of caloric consumption. The resultant temporal and energetic landscape issubsequently ‘read’ by wheeled feelers suspended from an arm which, together with thedisc below, recalls the form of a record player. When rotated beneath, the undulatingsurface forces steel pistons attached to these feelers upwards to contact conductive copperpads. Contact, in turn, closes a circuit wired to both the spud battery and an Arduinodigital interface that voices the moments of consumption as a series of tones. In a literalreading of the ‘Rhythmanalysis’, the revolution of the disc creates an auditory metric ofthe timing of eating and drinking throughout the day; a caloric symphony (or cacophony)in celebration of the gluttony of our ‘couch potatoes’.

Harvard Graduate School of Design 

With Michael Clapp and Elias Logan