Flak over sex chair satisfies creator
Raumati artist Jason Beca knew the sex chair he built for Porirua’s Pataka Museum was going to create a stir.
But what media who covered the story have not picked up on, he said, was that the $100 bills covering the chair, called Alice in Wonderful Land, have the words ‘‘root of all evil’’ written on them.
‘‘Money is the root of evil; it’s passed around in the seediest places of the world. That’s what I have been trying to portray.’’
The chair, which has one camera, two monitors and a hole in the seat of bullet-proof glass, caused controversy when Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia took offence at it.
Beca said he knew of only a couple of complaints to the museum, but art was controversial and an expression of freedom of speech.
‘‘If you don’t like it, you don’t have to look at,’’ he said.
‘‘ Everybody has their opinion and I respect that, and if they don’t like it, that’s it, I’m not worried.
‘‘The more they write into the papers, the news and the TV, they’re just fuelling it.
‘‘ They’re doing what I designed the piece to do.
‘‘I just let the comments blow in the wind.’’
The chair, the third he has made – the others have sold and were a lot less politically correct, he said – was built to provoke thought.
Beca, who grabbed media attention with a Dr Who Tardis bed he made last year, said everything was very politically correct these days.
‘‘I knew that it was going to attract attention, because all the things I do I try and do that.’’
Asked where the idea came from, he replied, ‘‘just my head’’.
People could make whatever they wanted to make of it.
‘‘A kid could stand in front of it and be none the wiser. They’d just laugh at it and think, ‘Oh, a chair with cameras in it’.
‘‘And then somebody who is a little bit mature could look at it and think, ‘ Oh that’s interesting, what’s this all about?’ It’s still just a chair at the end of the day.’’
Asked if he liked the media attention, Beca said he just liked people to see the finished product. ‘‘It’s just an enjoyable piece. ‘‘I bet you 99.9 per cent of the people that look at it will just laugh and just think, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty cool’.’’
Beca said he liked to hop between projects. ‘‘I don’t build sex chairs all day. ‘‘I just like to build crazy things because that’s obviously what the world wants to see.’’
He would say nothing about what’s next in line.
‘‘I’m building something at the moment in the garage that will do exactly what the chair has done . . . a little bit more PC, more for the sci-fi boys and girls,’’ he said.
‘‘They will love it.’’
Art or not: Jason Beca and the erotic chair that some people took offence to.