The Home of 2036
This project was a Design Fiction project about the home of 2036. The project is focusing on people living on the countryside in a future where 80% of the Earth's population lives in cities.
My concept is based around a persona; the unknown, created in a fictive world; the last village. The unknown is a skilled programme developer who one day had enough and left her turbulent life in the city and moved to a village on the countryside.
The aim of the project is to create discussion about globalisation, independency and what role we want our technical devises to play in our daily lives and whether they become signs of weak trends in our society.
Handicraft in the traditional Swedish home
One important part in this project is the central role handicraft has played in our homes in the past. It has been a way of finding stillness, connecting with our hands and body and at the same time creating something useful.
The final concept is a shirt you knit by yourself. The shirt is a combination of old and new technology. The wool connects to your body; senses, hormones, electrical impulses et cetera. You can modify the shirt for your comfort at home, the personal interaction and level of interference with you in your home, and it translates gestures and physical contact to other people wearing the same system.
With my experience prototype (the video) I wanted to communicate the unique feeling in the project related to our longing for the countryside and our desire to craft.
The experience involves two different parts:
Persona The unknown
The final concept was based on a persona created in a fictive world; the last village, the persona was called The unknown and values personal space and integrity. She holds a suspicion towards society in general and believes that our impact of technology through digital screens and social media distorts us, our senses and the contact with ourselves and the world.
The person is unknown to personal records and only identified as some living creature in the village (nr 6 on the left map). But if you look at a visual map inspired by search engines like www.shodan.io and thingful.net showing the layout of the village but also a digital footprint-map of connected devices in the area you will see a lot of activity around her house (map to the right).
The personas in the village was provided with a story, what their relationship to home was and also what makes a place feel like home.
A fictive world
The last village (research phase) was created as a group of 3 involving research and interviews about people on the county side today and in the future. These insights were gathered this website; a village of 2036. (http://the-last-village.com)
The website contains blogs, advertising videos, maps, personas living in the village, and most important; values of the life on the countryside.
The people in the village are happy the nano wool is bringing an economy to the village. But they are somewhat confused why the demand of the brand is so big. They simply don't understand why you would need a shirt to tell you what your body needs and to communicate with your dearest. Shouldn't you be able to do this yourself? they ask.
With this I wanted to bring up the ambiguity in this project and the split between countryside and city, where the city represents the lost connection to ourselves.
Design Fiction Text
A friend of mine moved from a ten million person city where he had lived his whole life to a small town in Sweden.
He came out on the porch where I stood, he had tears in his eyes and I asked: what’s the matter?
He looked at me and replied: I can hear my own heartbeat.
In the year 2036, 80% of the earth’s population lived in the city, she was one of them. It was never something she had chosen, it had just always been like that and with her qualifications there was only job for her in big cities. Every week she received new job offers, but what could they offer her more than money and even more stress?
She walked to the fridge, the display on the fridge said “out of milk”, she had to decide: to order ecological or non ecological milk? So many decisions, she felt tired. Her phone beeped - someone calling for attention, always someone calling for attention... Maybe she should watch some TV? She felt this agony again, this moaning inside of her, and she could not remember the last time she was at peace with herself.
She looked down at her hands, they were fiddling with something, they were always fiddling with something. One of the screens beeped again, another job application. She sighed, just about to turn it off - flashy photos caught her attention, some village far up in the north. They were looking for a system developer for their food supply. She looked down at her hands again, they were tearing little balls of fabric from her shirt, the shirt felt like paper. The hands stopped for a second, lay still in her lap, then one of them raised, and clicked the apply button.
Her hands packed the bag for her, their movement felt fluent and light, like they knew their way, she just had to follow along. She went down to the street, sat down in a vehicle, she could drive it all the way, it would know its way back. It was getting dark and the vehicle was warm, she felt drowsy, but also calm, like when she was little and sick, and her mum would come and pick her up and drive her home. “Maybe I’m on my way home?” she thought as she fell asleep.
The first thing she felt when she stepped out of the vehicle was the fresh air, it was moist but instead of shivering she felt awake by the clear sky. The person welcoming her was a young man, energetic, sunburned. He introduced himself as “the ranger” with an ironic smile on his face. She felt a bit overwhelmed by his intense energy, normally the people she met had glazed eyes and jagged movements - his eyes were clear and green.
Apparently her house was a bit further away from the other houses in the village, she felt a relief when she saw the little cottage lying on the side of an oak hill. It was autumn, and the sun was pale but still the colours were rich and vibrant. She opened the door to the house, no light switch. She waved her arms - no light. She clapped her hands, the lights went on. Silly TV shop light switch she thought, the first thing she would replace with something better. She was grateful that the ranger had left her already outside the cottage - a busy man it seemed. Someone had already made a fire and the house was slowly warming up, she sat down on a wooden box placed by the fire. She saw the tongues of flames eating the wood. She felt a low rhythm, like a beat, she realised that it was her own heart beating.
One year later
The people here in the village believed in me and together we launched the nano wool brand I created. The business is going well and it has brought a steady economy into the village. To people here it seems a bit odd that the wool is selling so well and Hildur said the other day that she “understood the handicraft bit, but couldn’t understand the purpose of all this technology..” I guess to them I will always be a city girl, but they accept me for who I am and I can honestly say I have found my place here and it feels like home.
My concept was presented at HUMlab-X in Umeå