Kenji Kawakami (b. 1946, lives and works in Tokyo) invented chindogu, objects that he has been creating since the 1980s and who number today over one thousand unique specimens. These strange inventions are true manifestos of political, economic and poetic resistance. While they serve a function and are thus usable, they are nonetheless resolutely useless.

These manifestos, devised as responses to the laughable difficulties of men, develop like a fable disconnected from any practical meaning and prompt a reflection on the consumerism and materialism of modern life. Following the ten founding commandments of chindogu, each object must affirm its freedom and pleasure in being useless, must be universally understandable and must constitute a non-verbal form of communication. It must be “given to the world” and can therefore not be sold, filed, patented or even owned. As unidentified objects, the chindogu are for Kenji Kawakami “an intellectual game to stimulate the mind.”