Back to Artists

Mouse Labour, Juha Huuskonen/Tuomo Tammenpaa (FI)

Mouse Labour Institute is a parody of a commercial research organisation. The goal of the project is to explore the nature of contemporary mode of work which is based around the use of personal computers. The working days of a ‘mouse labourer’ consist of sitting still in front of a computer screen, typing text on a grey keyboard, occasionally making a selection with a click of a mouse. This simple, mundane activity is in stark contrast with the ever increasing speed and complexity of the digital online environment.

The image of the worker in the era of industrialization was a person placed in front of an assembly line, engaged in monotonic, repetitive work. The idea of improving worker’s performance by making exact measurements of his movements dates back to this time. Mouse Labour Institute promotes ‘scientific’ tools to improve one’s ‘Mouse Performance’ and thus indirectly suggesting a comparison between mechanical labour in the times of the industrilization and today’s visions of life in the information society – blurrying the border between one’s work and personal life, feeling the need to be always reachable, trying to keep up with the quick and restless tempo made possible by the technological advancement.

The main product of Mouse Labour Institute is a software tool for monitoring and improving one’s mouse use skills – the “Mouse Performance Improvement Kit”. The software will record the user’s mouse movements and clicks over a duration of one week, after which the results can be analysed on the institute’s website.


External Project Link


Concept & implementation: Juha Huuskonen + Tuomo Tammenpää Software: Arto Chydenius Support: AVEK, Arts Council of Finland, Kordelin Foundation

About the Creator

Juha Huuskonen is a media artist, software designer and curator who devotes most of his time and energy to developing cultural organisations and events. He is a founding member and chairman of media art collective, which received the Young Art in Finland Award in 1998. Juha is also the initiator and director of Pixelache festival for electronic art and subcultures, taking place annually at Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki and frequently traveling to other cities (so far held in New York, Montreal, Stockholm, Paris and Medellin). His art projects mirror++, The Moment of Long Now and Roosa have been featured in numerous exhibitions in Europe and North America.

Tuomo Tammenpää has background in visual arts and design. He works as a media artist and designer in Finland sharing his time between research and development, art productions and commercial design work. In his art practice Tuomo has worked with themes of consumerism, control and technology producing several interactive installations during the last ten years. Lately he has focused his work on exploring the potential of physical and ubiquitous computing and tangible media both in art and design practice. Currently Tuomo collaborates with an English game designer Daniel Blackburn on electronically enhanced games and plays. They are collaborating in combining the social and physical aspects from plays and games with the computational possibilities of micro-controlled electronics. In his current art practice Tuomo is studying the use and misuse of everyday electronic devices in the context of demystification and democratisation of technology. Hacking, modifying, circuit-bending and reverse-engineering provide the working context where he questions the relationship between the electronic objects, the consumers and the consumer electronics industry. Tuomo is part of the Digital Research Unit (DRU) of University of Huddersfield, member of media art organisation and professional graphic designers association grafia.ry.