Stephen Willats

The Meta Filter Problem Book, 1973-5

Willats uses books in two ways: in the first books can be as artworks in their own right. The other, as the example above, is when a book acts as a tool within the artwork.

Meta Filter was a computer based work that functioned between two people, it operated in a way that provided a formal environment and structure for them to externalise their perceptions of inter-personal behaviour.

The two operators looked at a series of images of people which were concerned with interpersonal relationships, perhaps on their own or with others and were asked to describe a series of social behaviours and questions of identity using a set thesaurus of words. The participants worked towards agreement, and in the process, became involved in discussions of how they individually perceived the problems presented to them and how they could reach consensus. The overall structure of the problems was to move from the individual’s relationship to themselves, then their relationships within a group, a community and other societies.

Each participant used a Problem Book to record their responses. The Book presented the problems on the left hand side and responses were recorded on the right hand side, this side was duplicated to record a copy. These copied responses were pinned up on a display so participants could also review the responses of other participants to the work.

Stephen Willats: The Meta Filter Problem Book

Pages from The Meta Filter Problem Book

Stephen Willats: The Meta Filter Problem Book
Stephen Willats: The Meta Filter Problem Book