Comedy writer Tom Saunders (Arrested Development, The Larry Sanders Show, Just Shoot Me), on the other hand, has long fantasized that the stuff around us actually talks, and he has created a series for DnA, called Everything Talks, that proves it.
In Everything Talks, produced and edited in collaboration with Frances Anderton, buildings and objects (often brand-name designer products) bicker over who’s best. They puff out their chests, brag and trash talk, trying to best their rival. The segment spotlights the thrill of rivalry and in doing so has fun with the status we humans attach to our objects.
On this first outing, Tom, a passionate aficionado of design and architecture, starts in his own living room, in a white, mid-century style home. There, two classic pieces of furniture have been doing some trash-talking.
One is the Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames, the other is the LC3 Grande sofa designed by the French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier. “I can’t help that you are a plywood and leather cliché,” sneers the sofa. When the chair responds that no one would even want to sit in Corb’s design because of its uncomfortable “low back cushions”, the sofa retorts, “I will never understand the American hatred of discomfort. . . I am not a beanbag chair, I am a machine for sitting in. . .”
Listen to their entire conversation, below. Above, Tom sits, comfortably, in the Eames chair, left, and uncomfortably, in the Le Corbusier sofa with its low back cushions, right.
Everything Talks 1: An Eames Lounge Chair and an LC3 Grande Sofa
Performed by Tom Saunders.
Everything Talks 2: Vitamix 6300 and Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
In the second episode of Everything Talks, Tom channeled a peppy Vitamix 6300 and a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine, who rebuffs the blenders efforts to make friends. Performed by Tom Saunders.
Everything Talks 3: A “Fixie” and a Felt Verza City Bike
Two bicycles, one a brakeless “fixie,” the other a 27-speed Felt Verza City Bike, butt heads after they collide on the streets of New York. Performed by Tom Saunders.
Everything Talks 4: A McMansion is Upstaged by a Megamansion
Remember the last housing boom when thousands of large houses were built that were nicknamed McMansions.
Now they are finding themselves upstaged, as we learn in this episode of “Everything Talks.” The setting is up in the hills, on a street where a 30,000 square feet “Megamansion” has just been built.
Performed by Tom Saunders and Kristen Hansen.
Everything Talks 5: MOMA and the American Folk Art Museum.
The architecture world was shocked when MOMA, being remodeled by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, announced it would tear down the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM), designed 11 years ago by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, to make way for yet another expansion to accommodate its ever growing crowds. In this Everything Talks Tom Saunders channels the feelings of both buildings when MOMA breaks the brutal news to AFAM.
Hear the entire podcast that this Everything Talks was part of, here.
Here is how Tom describes Everything Talks: “The idea that we could hear an actual conversation between, for example, a Vitamix blender and a Rancho Silvia espresso maker was science fiction only a few years ago. At last, a new computer app (connected to an ultra sensitive listening device) is able to translate, amplify and record otherwise inaudible discussions between inanimate objects without them knowing we are listening in!
DnA is the first program in radio or any medium to make these conversations available for the general public. Listeners can eavesdrop on an emotional argument between an Eames chair and a Corbusier sofa as they disagree about which is more comfortable. Or parents wondering which trendy stroller to spend too much money on are finally able to hear what the expensive prams reveal about themselves when they talk to each other in private!”
Everything Talks is written by Tom Saunders. It is produced and edited in collaboration with DnA host Frances Anderton. Characters are voiced by Tom Saunders and invited actors.