But I Don't Want Comfort

An installation by Steven K. Tucker with sound by Daria Morgacheva.

Decadence is often blamed for the rise of consumer culture and destruction of the natural world; however, this project positions the utilitarian focus of design, industry, and society as the force which conflict with the impulse of life. A pan-thematic exploration, But I Don't Want Comfort, responds to the central premise that living in the world requires constant mediation with the inanimate, and that objects of design stand as a powerful language through which social reality is affirmed.


The installation's title is excerpted from Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: "But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin." Steven Tucker interprets this proclamation, within the context of his installation, as something that provokes a 'cultivation of discomfort'. And as such, his sculptures are the sum of many contradictions. The consequence of utility, efficiency, and comfort is a resulting barrier between humans and our environment. It is the utilitarian cycle of cost versus benefit or consumption in opposition to disposal that has allowed the world to be terraformed by mounds of garbage or a pipeline through a mountain. Utilitarianism sees waste in whatever doesn't serve the purpose and will seek efficiency, comfort, and ease at any cost. The inverse is decadence, flamboyance, and excess, which like the vital drive of nature, finds waste nowhere as it is relentlessly committed to affirming life, regenerating, participating, and finding beauty in every instance.


These constructions reference the language of furnishings but often resist a functionality in favour of embracing a visual resonance that invokes a kind of chaos. Tucker fashions these objects to reference a reality with as much struggle and pain as contentment and joy. He sees these exercises not as stable, inevitable, and unchangeable but in constant flux with unending wonder and potential.


Accompanying this installation are audible atmospheres by Daria Morgacheva, who, throughout the production of these works, sampled and abstracted the sounds of their creation, allowing their unique voices to engage the space further. 

Presented as part of DesignTO 2022.

With the support of Strategy & Talent and 401 Richmond.