Abstract - ? - Audience


We live in a world that operates on bits and bytes; a merging of the material and the immaterial. Our fundamental configurations of physical space all have a layer of technology embedded in them, creating a potential for everything to sense, record and communicate.

I aim to investigate the ways in which hidden systems can manifest in our daily lives, if these systems counteract our intentions and behave in unexpected ways. A button being pushed exemplifies our ability to control the material, but the underlying mechanism has a life of it’s own. This is a speculative project demonstrating what it might be like to experience a future where design objects have agency. The occasional prank might be fun and unexpected, but the sociological impacts of objects living in symbiosis with humans might have profound behavioral impacts and most importantly will affect the context these objects live in.

Design Questions

-        What would design noir be in reference to the Internet of things? (General inquiry)

-        If objects work together, what rights might they demand that differ from humans, might they try to contribute to human politics, or form their own subsets; would they break any laws, or engage in organized crime, or would they try to reform humans, and ironically make us more accountable for all the things we do? (Object Interaction)

-        In that scheme, how do archetypal objects that have gone through long design processes evolve aesthetically and functionally to fit in this scenario? (Object Aesthetics)

-        What are the aesthetics of the systems and networks these objects create amongst each other? (Networks Aesthetics)

Audience / User scenario

Speculative design is open to several interpretations, but how is the fictional character of such work conceptualized and produced? On one hand, the purpose of this thesis is to enable us to think about the future of the objects interaction in the realm of the Internet of things. On the other hand, it is a critique of the current and contemporary situation. A key concept is the perceptual bridge, the methods by which designs engage their audience. The design of the system of interaction between these objects require a bridge to exist between the audience’s perception of their world now and the ‘fictional’ element of the concept: objects with a certain agency communicating information with each other in unexpected and ‘smarter’ ways.

By starting to think about audience, I believe that it is interesting for me to explore the notion of audience from a situationist point of view to be more consistent with the concept and questions I am asking; by putting the objects as the main subjects within the system, the audience becomes the objects themselves and the ‘real’ audience would be in that case defined as a spectator.

I am looking at several existing systems (handshake in computers, beacons, the internet…) that can work as a blueprint of the scenario where multiple everyday objects communicate, following a specific protocol that will direct the choice of these objects, the technology imbedded in them and their context.

I am also looking at these objects as characters in movie scenario, building up on their potential to become actors creating relationships between each other, going deeper in the attributes, personality in the realm of affective computing.

As for the prototyping process I would create 2-3 simple prototypes that elaborate or exemplify on what goes on in this world.  I may choose to create a film from them, and that could work well in framing the ordinary everyday context and further elaborate on the psychological aspect and the user scenario.

So the question becomes about the nature of the network and the choice of the daily objects at this point. I will push my research towards looking at the rule sets of existing systems to guide the making of the system that these objects live in. The Internet as a system is interesting to look at since it is about the addition of points to a network where everything is connected and you just add to it. I am also looking at protocols and parsing systems principles. The aim of these prototypes is to find a set of rules that can govern the exchange or transmission of information between the objects, their agency and more importantly their relationship to the context I will describe.