Video calls suck, and have always sucked.
We’ve long known this truth, though as our opportunities for real human interaction evaporated like the national supply of hand sanitizer we somehow forced ourselves to forget it. No more. Welcome to the stage of quarantine where we invent elaborate ways to get out of Zoom calls.
Enter Marina Fujiwara and her latest creation. The Japan-based artist describes her work as “useless invention[s],” and her “emergency escape” button might fall into that category were it not for the fact that, my god, please we all need one.
“I made a machine that can escape from an online drinking party,” explained Fujiwara (translated by Twitter).
Here’s the idea: When you’re in the middle of a video call that you want to exit, you can simply hit the aforementioned emergency-escape button on the device and a physical lever moves a fake screen-loading icon in front of your camera. While acting frozen, your off-screen hand clicks the “Leave Meeting” option.
And like that, it’s done.
In these trying times, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the little victories.
This is not the first so-called useless invention created by Fujiwara. Her YouTube channel includes videos of a face-scratching machine, a selfie stick specifically designed to take nostril shots, and other fun contraptions.
And while they’re all wonderfully bizarre, it’s the emergency videoconference-escape button that really speaks to the specific pain of the moment.
All it took was a pandemic, but we’ve finally been gifted the perfect way to bail on the pathetic simulacrum of human interaction that is Zoom.