9 October 2011

Slow Tech: Designs for Digital Downtime

Apologies for the blogging absenteeism! I've been quite busy recently, but I've finally got round to blogging about this exhibition I went to a few weeks ago called Slow Tech: Designs for Digital Downtime [curated by Henrietta Thompson and produced by Protein.]
The exhibition was a "Digital Addiction Clinic" addressing our society's obsession with the digital world. This includes our compulsion to Facebook, Tweet, blog and various other activities that disconnect people from their physical surroundings.

Hector Serrano - Screen Time
At the beginning of the day, the watch face is completely white. As the day progresses, the watch accumulates data through wi-fi or 3G to determine how many hours and minutes are spent on social networking sites. This manifests in the form of a watch pie chart. It raises the questions such as: do we realise quite how much of our day is consumed by sites like Facebook and Twitter, and are we embarrassed/shocked with how we spend the majority of our day?

Biome is a flora terrarium whose climate, water and nutrients levels are controlled and monitored using a smartphone. The Biome is designed to encourage digital downtime and lessen interaction between a smartphone and its user. It is simple and easy to use, it is perfect for people who don't have the time to look after a plant and/or nature amateurs.

Pendola is a wall mounted pendulum clock, it is not motorised but seems to magically swing as it passes over a small tab fixed underneath. The steady motion of the clock is designed to have a calming effect.

Kiwi & Pom - Flip

Flip is an allusion to the mechanics of traditional airport and railway information boards, which are being replaced with modern alternatives such as digital screens. Flip syncs with mobile devices to display notifications and messages, including texts, emails and social media updates.

Kiwi & Pom - Radio

The K&P radio uses wifi to pick up music directly and can be tuned according to genre or mood. These channels are operated using a dial. Favourite songs can also be recorded, the radio assesses these and determines the user's listening habits - therefore customising a widely available and used object.

The following three exhibition items are a part of Hugo Eccles' Design Office, all are aimed at social networking...

Hugo Eccles - Social Bomb

The purpose of the social bomb is to disable technologies without consent and without being detected.

Hugo Eccles - Social Thermostat
The social thermostat can be used to control the 'social temperature' of a space. A socially warm environment would turn on various communication technologies and a socially cold environment would switch them all off again.

Hugo Eccles - Social Timer
These social timers disable a particular social media for a short period of time when the timer is up. This is perfect for use at a desk or at the family dinner table.

Nicolas Roope - Cute Electric
This iPhone accessory helps technology addicts to manage their compulsion. The device administers small electric shocks that increase the longer the smartphone is used. The user will then learn to kick their habit, resulting in shorter durations of interaction between the user and the phone. This is the perfect solution for the anti-social individual amongst a friend or family gathering scenario.

Protein - In-Flight Chromo

This one was one of my favourites; it is a colour clock that enables your body to understand what time it is. It is a simple indicator for time and is a possible solution for jet lag, Seasonal Affective Disorder and other light/time related diseases.

I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition. It was an insightful social commentary on society's need to let everyone in the world know their every thought and move, albeit how inane those thoughts or actions may be. It puts into perspective how forefront sites like Facebook and Twitter are in our day-to-day lives. I doubt anyone can recollect the days before online social networking, nor want to. It's also very ironic that I am blogging in order to tell you about this exhibition...!

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