May 18, 2020

Hack work-from-home culture with FutureCity and ‘useless’ inventor Marina Fujiwara

FabCafe Global Editorial Team

From pajama pants as office attire to toilet-flushing video call multitaskers, there’s no denying that working from home under COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders has truly reached new heights of banality. But white collar workers and those stuck at home can now find solace in the absurdist creations of Japanese YouTuber and self-proclaimed ‘useless’ inventor Marina Fujiwara, who injects humor into otherwise awkward and mundane situations. 

Her latest creation for the pandemic era is ‘Loading circle machine, for escape from Zoom’, which fakes a frozen screen via a DIY loading wheel in front of the webcam, effectively allowing you to, well, escape from all the awkward video call parties you wish you hadn’t been invited to. Meanwhile, ‘Online meeting partition’ takes laziness to the next level, hiding sweatshirt-clad users behind a button-down shirt ‘partition’ during video call meetings – for some semblance of professionalism. 

  • ‘Cash Slap Machine ’ by Marina Fujiwara

  • ‘Loading circle machine, for escape from Zoom’ by Marina Fujiwara

Fujiwara has been making ‘wasted creations’ – useless things that serve little to no practical purpose – for her YouTube channel since 2013. Existing somewhere in the space between art, comedy and tech, other memorable objects include a machine that generates reasons for not going to work, a smartphone device that intentionally ruins ‘instagenic’ photos with a protruding finger, as well as a ‘breakup light’, a smart bulb that lights up when triggered by tweets that mention breakups – much to her delight. 

Fujiwara was a selected member of the YouTube Next Up project in 2016, and held a solo exhibition in Taipei in 2018. She is also no stranger to the Loftwork family, having been an ambassador for our competition, the ‘Discovery Awards’.  

This year, her hilarious and irreverent antics return to us, as part of the FutureCity competition ‘Work from Home Hack Award’. Exploring future living in the post-pandemic world, this latest challenge is as its name suggests: a call for hacked #workfromhome ideas, à la Marina Fujiwara, to make remote working more comfortable and fun. Fujiwara joins the judging panel, along with the CMO of Plug and Play Japan, Ayumi Fujimoto, as well as the CEO of Falken Technologies SL, Ignasi Pascual, as they look for the most original and creative ideas. 

Three cash prizes of US$300 are up for grabs, with each prize named after the three judges – meaning, a diehard fan could take home the coveted ‘Marina Fujiwara Prize’. Not just exclusive to makers and designers, the competition is open to anyone with a fresh, new idea, with entries closing May 31, 2020. Winners will be announced in June – check out our competition page for further details.

FutureCity (What is FutureCity?) is an innovative look at life during and after the pandemic – and the creative possibilities for future living. Part digital forum, part creative movement, we hope you’ll join us in designing a better tomorrow; stay tuned for more exciting FutureCity projects and competitions by subscribing to our newslettersFor more information, contact:

#FutureCityLoftwork #WorkFromHome

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Inspired by the ‘Fab’ revolution as prescribed by MIT maverick Neil Gershenfeld, FabCafe is a series of ‘Fab’ innovation labs that specialize in creating products, services and experiences of the future. Here, maker enthusiasts, businesses and everyday people can access digital fabrication tools and experiences for fields ranging from fashion to bio. Founded in Tokyo in 2012, FabCafe’s global network now serves and fosters creative communities in 11 locations around the world, including Bangkok, Barcelona, Hong Kong, and many more.


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