Security by Julia (Dispenser)

Scher, Julia

When a metal lever is activated, a disinfectant dispenser with a standard clinical design dispenses the holy water of our present day into portioned cans. Fear, distress, and mania are quickly appeased via a seemingly impenetrable feeling of safety. The name of Scher’s security brand on the self-service device, Security By Julia, represents a reliable warranty and at the same time a warning sign. Responsibility drips quietly into the hands of the users: a rite that now follows every moment of bodily contact and precedes the next. With alcohol (for disinfection), glycerol (for moistening), and polymer (for thickening), it kills 99.99 percent of all germs when carefully applied, allowing us to feel 100 percent safe on unfamiliar territory. But what if it were possible for each dose dispensed to protectively coat not just the hands but the entire body, even every conceivable area? Scher’s safety apparatus draws on its inability to provide absolute safety—gaps can be potentially found everywhere. The scope given to us to make our own judgments empowers us to become subjugated to and complicit in our own surveillance: role-play under unregulated control, inciting risk and unconscious consent.

Elisa R. Linn