Right to Conscious Socialisation
2017 | Campaign & Exhibition | London, United Kingdom
Humanity in the Future
Design plays a crucial role in creating impacts for our future, by not merely producing artefacts but also demonstrating as a motivator to provoke critical discourse and thoughts in achieving a better world. From the previous mini-experiments of futuring tool and aesthetic exploration, many questions had been raised when thinking about the future in response to the status quo.
Who would you be if you can construct yourself?
What happens whenour privacy become public?
What happens wheneveryone on the planet has the same living conditions?
What ifwe are all born to be the same and can only be differentiated by a digitised identity e.g. eye-iris code?
What if there are no countries and borders?
These questions were always about human, about us – what we want to be, and how we should behave. We are the most important people affecting our future. How we think and act represents our values and beliefs, which “are the basis for all individual life and for all community. Without personal values we become robotic, instinctive creatures with no sense of meaning, purpose, direction or morality” (Dixon, 1999, p.229), and so does the future.
Humans and the Future
We are living in the 21st century when our society keeps changing with a tremendous speed, socially, technologically and politically. This is in fact a co-evolution of humans and the society. To realise a preferable future, we need thoughts and actions together with imagination and creativity. We have to understand how the society is transforming and, at the same time, how it is transforming us. We must make proper responses to re-appropriate such evolution so that it will only preserve and flourish humanity, rather than manipulating and taking control of it.
Human factors and attitude will be the essential elements in deciding the future we may want, or may not want. This proposal opens a dialogue of reflection, debate and wonderment to think about our future society, the challenges we may be facing, and ultimately the values of human, and humanity, in the future.
Herbert Kelman described humanness with two features:
Identity – a recognition of the person "as an individual, independent and distinguishable from others, capable of making choices”
Community – a recognition of the person as "part of an interconnected network of individuals who care for each other"
If there is no distinguishable “Other” and no interaction connecting individuals, we will be entering into the future of dehumanised world without humanness (Kelman, 1976). Without the existence of socialisation, we will not have “social experience to learn [our] culture and to survive” (Macionis, 2012). Therefore, this proposal daringly projects a new human right for our future – Right to Conscious Socialisation.
"Right to Conscious Socialisation"
Article 31 - Everyone has the right to conscious and active socialisation, to interact and communicate with any other humans in any means without the interference and manipulation of digital technology, system and programme (including but not limited to algorithm).
DESIGN FOR PROTEST (SPECULATIVE)
In the future, a peaceful protest will take place annually all from digital devices, to meet and make friends in person, and to socialise in the community without any deliberate intrusion by the digital world. The protest is a nonviolent counteraction towards the misapplication of digital technology twisting our society. The fundamental motive is to criticise those plotters who are behind computers dominating our life, but more importantly, to remind ourselves to stay conscious when managing technologies but not to be governed by them.
In this future scenario, several tools are designed to enhance a sentient socialisation among humans.
1. Authentic Vision: Selective Glasses
This pair of glasses gives us a more natural vision by “deactivating” most digital screens. The concept is to refresh our sight and thus our mind by allowing us to spend less time in digital world especially on our personal devices. It offers a quiet moment of not being overwhelmed with designated information or lost in the virtual networking, but instead to look around the tangible reality in a physical world.
2. Communal Privacy: Connecting Shelter
It is an expandable mask which creates an intimate space boosting shelter which can be bonded with others and extended as much as structure is a sign welcoming other humans to join while making a balance to maintain the ambience. The Connecting Shelter can be creatively made and cut in different forms according to one’s preference. The locking part, however, has to be standardised in order to be able to bond with other suggestions.
3. Delayed Messaging: Emotional Postcard
It explores an alternative channel of communication against the speedy world through a unique and personalised dialogue. messaging nowadays, of which the text is standardised in formats. To make it worse, we simply describe our feeling with emoticon, a system quantifying our complex emotions. There are step-by-step instructions at the back of the card teaching us how to describe our feeling sophisticatedly in text and drawing. User can then handwrite the emotion and sketch their facial expression on the other side.
The annual day and activities will be advocated and organised by the International Society for Socialisation, a future institution promoting genuine social interaction and accelerating human communication.
All the tools are available on a communal platform operated by the Society and everyone can access to purchase or download the materials. "Protestors" can also upload their own designs and share with others.
“To safeguard humanity’ s future, we must invest as much energy in furthering humanity as we do in developing technology”
This project highlights one of the most urgent threats to our humanity in today’s society and induces a forecast of a new human stimulates a critical response to how we ought to think and do for the future towards the digital technologies that we created and is now shaping, or even inventing, us. We must always be sensitive towards the occurrence of our status quo as well as its future. We need to keep questioning the purpose of our fabrications and their influence, as well as to speculate how they (should) exist and and ethics should be at all times considered the most irreplaceable elements in our live and in the future.