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Same height parties

This isn’t new. And it’s maybe a bit random. But we’re probably overdue for a break from housing debate. So here is an interesting art project by Hans Hemmert (who is part of the German collective Inges Idee).

Called Personal Absurdities (1997), the project consisted of parties in Berlin in which everyone was equalized to the same height — 2 meters to be exact. The was done through blue stryofoam platform shoes ranging from 5 to 43cm in height.

Of course, if you already happened to be 2m tall, then no platforms were needed. If you were over 2m tall, I’m not sure how that was handled, but presumably the bouncer stopped you at the front door.

All of this seems interesting to me because most of us probably don’t fully appreciate the extent in which height impacts social dynamics. There are countless studies suggesting that we tend to have a more positive reaction to people who are tall — and this is in everything from business to who we vote for.

In fact, this connection between height and leadership is so strong that studies have found that, when faced with a strong likeable leader, we often overstate their height in our minds. We think they’re taller than they actually are because of how strongly we associate height with the ability to lead.

So what happens when you strip away this dynamic and you equalize everyone’s height — even if just for one night of revelry? I would be curious to find out. So if any of you are planning a “same height party”, please feel free to invite me. Thanks.

Photo: Inges Idee


  1. Judith Martin

    Not too much revelry or you risk falling over (unless you’re already 2m tall).
    Thinking about politicians, in Europe anyway, lack of height didn’t stop Sarkozy or the irrepressible (and utterly immoral) Berlusconi. In the UK Rishi Sunak was looking likely to take over from mid-height Boris Johnson, and he’s tiny – but now he’s self-defenestrated anyway. Gandhi was pretty small but extremely persuasive. Putin, who really shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath, isn’t very tall, hence all the ridiculous bare-chested bear-wrestling idiocy. And of course looking over the shoulders of all of them, and probably corrupting their psyches, is Napoleon. The small ones have to over-compensate, with frequently toxic results. But it didn’t stop them getting there in the first place.


  2. Caspar

    Very interesting after Covid. As we have been interacting with many first-time contact through Teams, where all headshots are at the same height, seeing someone in a physical meeting for the first time often is a surprise as their actual size is different from the one in our imagination…


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