“Our behaviour, our ways of thinking, even our values and tastes, are designed and fabricated. This power structure … ravages our souls.”

Born 1969, Dangyang, Hubei

We are accustomed to taking household furnishings for granted, seeing them as comfortable—and comforting. Shi Jinsong reinvents them as dangerous, threatening: lethal weapons lurking in every room. Design 2007—Instruments of Torture (2007) is an entertainment unit transformed into a multi-purpose guillotine, with a blade in the TV screen, finger-sized holes on the console, and larger holes in the speakers for a neck, arm or leg. Baby Stroller—Sickle Edition (2007) is part of the artist’s mock Na Zha line of baby products, named for a mythical imp whom Shi Jinsong describes as “a human made of weapons”. Designed to resemble a cut-up artillery shell, it is adorned with vicious-looking spikes and razor-sharp blades. The artist got the idea for the collection after his daughter was born in 1999. All parents want to prepare their children for success in the adult world, he thought. Given the violence, egotism and greed of contemporary society, the ideal baby walker would have to combine armour plating, lethal weaponry, and designer chic.

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