WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD? pt.2
The thesis behind our work is that our everyday choices are generally neither conscious nor thought out. Rather they are habitual and instinctual. For example, many of us buy a coffee, drink, and then dispose of the cup multiple times a day, but do we consider where the coffee beans have come from or where the single use cup will end its cycle from cradle to grave.
Indeed it seems a feeling of numbness has manifested throughout society in regards to the issue of climate change, as this manifestation is terrifying. It was this realisation that led myself and Maja Nordblom, two Design Undergraduates, to develop the concept that birthed our ongoing project: What a Wonderful World?
The concept is that we place people into simulated extreme future scenarios that involve the issue of climate change, in previous versions this has taken the form of food shortages, limited availability of power, or in the case of the version seen here, rising sea levels. We then monitor how these participants react to what they are seeing, through facial recognition software and bodily output monitors (heart rate, stress levels, subtle facial movements).
Depending on how the audience react, be that more positively or negatively, an algorithm is coded to cause the storyline to divert to more positive or negative chain of events. (eg. if the audience are happy/content with seeing starvation, the story will lead to a scenario of destruction and death. Where as if they are worried/concerned, they will be taken to a scenario where the situation is resolved as we assume they are more empathetic to the issue and therefore more likely to make changes in their own habits).
This is all done without the immediate knowledge of the participants, in an attempt to force them to later reflect upon how they are subconsciously and instinctively reacting to issues surrounding climate change.
This project was entered for the international Creative Conscience award (2019) and made it through as a finalist within the ‘Experience’ category. Although we did not win, we were highly commended for our work and received a great amount of praise for our progressive views on how we as a society could begin to react to the growing climate crisis.