Tracey, Workhouse, Liverpool Biennial 1999
It’s about applying pressure to the body. About being hugged and the sensation it creates inside of you. Similar to being hugged by a person, the pressure of hugbox makes you feel soft, vulnerable and loved.
Inside - you get hot and it's hard to breath, the pressure is so strong (like a big big person lying down on top of you) that you can't move at all. You feel possessed and definite. alive. Suspended in an endless space. There is no way out until the machine reopens.
Afterwards happiness and relief bubbles through your body. You feel soft and sexually aroused. Hmmmmmmm.
Hugbox was powered by water. A weight and counterweight system closed and opened the machine. The weights where big trashcans. Water was pumped from one trashcan (counterweight) to the other trashcan (weight) and back again, causing the machine to close, build up pressure slowly, hold it, release pressure and then reopen again. Maximum pressure was higher than one thinks to be able to endure.