A Chair of Our Fantasy

AI can create virtual humans that look realistic. It’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between real and virtual actors in movies, for example. As this is a well-known trick, to make the faces of virtual humans good-looking or look like something considered to be good-looking, AI calculates out the average faces of many real people. We seem to judge average faces as good-looking. I have known this mentality of human beings for a long time, but a doubt had been left in my mind as a long-standing mystery. If average faces are good-looking, the world should be filled more with people like Cleopatra and Don Juan, where I would feel difficult to survive.

It is a book that saved me from the edge of the abyss. The title is “The End of Average” written by Todd Rose, a psychologist in Harvard University. He measured more than 4000 U.S. Air Force pilots to calculate their average size to optimize the size of a cockpit, and later found there was no one who met average in all the 10 points of measurement. What the result of his research showed is simple and clear: there’s no average pilot, no average people.

Now I understand why there are not many people like Cleopatra and Don Juan even though average faces are judged to be good-looking. Average is nothing but our illusion, and there’s no one who has an average face. This time, I was going to ignore another mystery: why we judge average faces as good-looking, but I come to feel like it may be because of our nature to seek for a utopia or cry for the moon. In connection with today’s theme, “average,” let me introduce one of our dining chairs, KAMUY designed by a Japanese designer, Naoto Fukasawa. The design is so plain, and there’s nothing novel or eccentric. The designer calls it “the most chair-like chair.” In the language of today’s theme, it can be called “the average chair” that is good-looking, a chair of our fantasy.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.

Photo Credit: https://www.ancienthistorylists.com/egypt-history/facts-cleopatra-vii/

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