This was my Major Project at Edinburgh Napier University, which ran over the course of eight months. Although the project span was eight months I began researching early and started a blog with my initial thoughts and ideas back in June 2014. With a project of this scale it is difficult to compress it down to a level which shows all of the work which was put in, however, I have endevoured to do so. At the outset I began with the initial idea of putting together a transmedia campaign based upon three sci-fi novels which I loved (these are detailed in the blog link above). I also had a love of speculative design along the lines of what Dunne & Raby produce.
My research, as I got deeper into it, lead my down a path of transhumanism, existentialism and consciousness. Ultimately, my research and tunnel vision led my down a path which, upon reflection, I perhaps should not have taken. Although looking at these subjects was intelectually stimulating I perhaps should have taken a step back earlier in the process and returned to my initial core ideas. This is something I have learned from during this project.
At the initial assessment stage I was particularly interested in speculative design and my project was heavily influenced by this type of design. The idea I put forward as a speculative device was based on human consciousness recording and how this would look in a commercial setting. If at some point we are able to identify the origins of consciousness, would we be able to record and store our consciousness i.e. our memories, dreams, thoughts.
Ultimately, this would facilitate eternal human life as cosciousness could be transferred from one body to another. This was closely linked to the ideas of transhumanism and existentialism. The device I constructed was imagined as a prototype which Apple had made called the I-Con (I-Consciousness) where you could sit down at the end of the day and record all of your thoughts, memories etc. These would build up daily until you wanted to purchase a new 3D printed body at which point you would upload your consciousness to your new body.
From there, my research into consciousness continued and I became interested in the Panpsychist view that consciousness is a universal feature of all things. My own thoughts on this matter was that if it was possible for the tiniest microorganism known to man to have an awareness of it’s surroundings through a sensory organ, that same microorganism is conscious. It’s consciousness may be something we cannot identify with, nevertheless, it is still conscious. If we could begin by studying consciousness at the smallest level this in turn might help us identify where our consciousness comes from and ultimately how we can classify and identify it.
My final outcome for this project was based on a speculation where we have identified how to quantify, identify and share forms of consciousness. The human being evolves into the transhuman and shares consciousness with all other forms of consciousness. Communication is then facilitated with what we once thought of as being everyday objects. From there, our relationships change with what were once objects and the objects themselves begin to evolve taking on more human traits.
This project was imagined in a contemporary art aesthetic as well as a speculative design process in parts and formed into speculative, contemporary art installation where boundaries have been blurred. Using influences such as Thomas Hetherwick, Dunne & Raby and Henri Matisse, this project is an alternative version of reality, a reality which cannot be easily understood.
The discarded speaker which grows skin and hair from a latex / rubber compound, it trys to mimic the human, it is so desparate to become more human. It fears being thrown away again.
The glass table top which likes to be on the wall (rather than on the table legs) and touched by human fingers, when you touch the glass it tastes the chemicals from your fingers and makes a sound. You’ll need to find somewhere else to sit down and have your dinner.
The mobile phone covered in emulated human skin, it likes nothing better than human company, all functions have been replaced by a shiny mirror so the phone and the human can admire the human form (speculative selfie).
The self conscious TV set, from time to time it stops broadcasting normal schedules and shows the human what its like to be stared at all day long.
The trusty portable fire, which produces heat and electricity from its own organic body, it never needs plugged in. A free source of energy.