Don't let the title fool you. I have not dabbled down the rabbit hole of sex toy design - but if you thought that you are 'part of the problem'. For our group collab project we wish to design a toy for adults to prove that we can have fun and let down our in habitations in more ways than one (with that one being the sexual one). It's naive to think this is the only way we can let loose. We are a complex species that hates to dwell out of the norms within the societies we create and inhabit. We are looking to challenge those ideologies and create a moment of euphoria with the following credentials for our toy.
We want to create an adult toy, but not as you know it.
Simple in both design and function.
Inspired by tradition, made from natural resources.
Reigniting our child-like innocence of pure joy.
A guilt-free experience.
I have included the presentation & my piece I presented on the 'guilt-free' element.
TOY – guilt-free segment
It may seem a little odd symbolising ‘guilt-free’with a pair of handcuffs with a cross through them but that is precisely the point. The definitions of guilt and guilt-free have become obscured
Read definition and the ‘relates’ to and explain how it is a sinister definition
but the examples do not replication that definition
if we look at the second example we can relate that back to what najla spoke about and how our game would be guilt free in that sense of the term however the idea of a guilty chocolate cake is almost oxymoronic
read both with emphasis on the larger words
‘image of chocolate cake’
So if take another look at the chocolate cake example and surround it with those definitions – shouldn’t they fit? Quite clearly, they don’t.
‘make reparations for wrongs?’
How can we make reparations for our wrongs – conform to what is acceptable! ‘you can have your cake [so long as it is the guilt-free option with the acceptable number of calories or amount of fat] and eat it too!’
‘too much to do’
The feeling of guilt has become so warped as we have this distorted view of it. We feel guilty if we chose fun over what we think we should be doing such as work or chores. How many times have you said one of the following to avoid the fun and, therefore, guilty option? When half the time if we chose to stay and do the work we are not encouraged to do because we’d rather be doing the fun thing, we end up spending that time we are supposed to be doing work, scrolling on some sort of timeline rating other people’s fun
‘utopia vs dystopia’
This echoes the topic of utopia and dystopia. They have lots of different depictions, especially in literature. Utopia is often peoples heaven whereas dystopia echoes a H.G.Wells sort of vision. Critical design has often, ironically, been criticised for dramatically depicting “dystopic scenarios”. It may be interesting to see situations where critical design creates awareness of issues by offering a utopia-esque solution. The following examples reflect on those views.
Dunne and Raby – the king and queen of critical design had to get a mention. Lots of examples but I found this one particularly interesting because it tackles ‘the norm’. The norm is often unimaginative and this series questions the time we will have more “complex and subtle” needs than we do today. They are all designed for anticipation and time. Time is the enemy of our rushed society and we are made to feel bad for wasting time – ironic? They question that these products might even be ‘utopian’. Example relates to guilt and how people feel guilt for enjoying porn [PC version ‘certain sexual programming’]. The more ‘excited’ you get – the more distorted the vision and sound becomes. Ironic, isn’t it? That even though related to the main marketed ‘adult-approved-fun’ there still has that impending sense of guilt.
Wait is one of the games out of a series of games labelled critical play by Lindsay Grace. Grace describes the games as discomfort design and focuses on the OMG moments of gaming. He enjoys the theme, as many in CD do, of juxtaposition. In the game, you are rewarded, with natural sounds and visuals, for “stopping and smelling the flowers”. As time goes on the world fades, you must move to somewhere else or the world disappears. It seems a bit contractionary but maybe it is a lesson in exploration and admiring a series of things rather than just staying with one?
‘twister and jenga’
If we go back to the norm for adult games we see not true toys for adults but rather, games. Group games are often much more silly and where people let down their inhibitions. Examples of detached electronic examples include twister or jenga. Alternatively, independent play games are ‘designed to be silent’ so people are not guilty making noise doing them on trains or waiting rooms. In addition to this, they often must reek some benefit and the reward is intelligence. Even the rubix cube which seems outlandish is notability a “look what I can do” commodity.
The examples I found of adult toys seemed to be purely conceptual. Dutch designer Ingrid Hulskamp created this series of adult toys explaining that we are“a society ruled by the clock” which can cause “stress and burnout”. Her aim was to create an oasis of time with the senses and create moments of contemplation. Toys spin or use a ‘sand timer’like system with water to show time passing.
8. What are its main relatives?
Activism - the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.
Cautionary Tales - serving as a warning
Conceptual Design - Conceptual Design is an umbrella term given to all forms of non-aesthetic design management disciplines. It is the design of interactions, experiences, processes and strategies and is the point at which a designer will combine an understanding of people, products, services, processes, and profitability meet vision and endless possibilities, each acting as a distinct colour on the canvass of the designer.
Contestable Futures - ?
Design Fiction - Design fiction is a type of speculative design (which itself is a relative of critical design). All of these related approaches use design in order to explore and critique future possibilities. The term appears to have been coined by Bruce Sterling in his 2005 Book 'Shaping Things' however Sterling himself is quoted as saying it was Julian Bleecker who “invented the interesting term”.
Interrogative Design - ?
Radical Design - the beliefs or actions of people who advocate thorough or complete political or social reform (radical)
Satire - the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Social Fiction - ?
Speculative Design - ?
'Critical design, especially speculative design and design fiction, raises various “what if?” questions about the future. What if there ought to be a change? What if we would change? What if things were different? By creating scenarios around these “what if” questions with tangible and realistic objects, designers can fabricate an experience of that possible future.' (Nesta, 2016)
Nesta.org.uk. (2016). Speculative design: A design niche or a new tool for government innovation? | Nesta. [online] Available at: http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/speculative-design-design-niche-or-new-tool-government-innovation [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
Dunneandraby.co.uk. (2016). Dunne & Raby. [online] Available at: http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/content/bydandr/13/0 [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
Over the past week I have been delving into group of different topics that have spun off the design agenda of critical design for my collaborative project and some of the current curiosities I have within design. If you follow these blog posts closely, there's a clear pattern of my ever-growing interests in education and designing for impact, especially in direct relation to my belief on ecological and environmental design. I want to teach and inspire people to make a positive change so that it can have a positive impact on our world yet, I understand not everything is designed with this Utopian and 'morally right' vision. Not all education is good, as we can see throughout history, and tactics used in the commercial industry such as subliminal messaging are used daily to manipulate perceptions in attempt to sell a product.
'A subliminal message is a signal or message designed to pass below (sub) the normal limits of perception. For example it might be inaudible to the conscious mind (but audible to the unconscious or deeper mind) or might be an image transmitted briefly and unperceived consciously and yet perceived unconsciously.'
Subliminal messages have always fascinated me because I am a self-proclaimed 'tin-foil hat' who thrives on conspiracies with my clearly has a heightened sense of paranoia as I believe nothing is as it seems and that everything has an interior motive or agenda. In some ways this is good as I am not just excepting all as a given but it can also obscure a sense of trust I have within brands, companies, organisations and so on. I don't like to be deceived for the personal gain of others and many users feel the same. The ethical implications of subconsciously fashioning a persons mindset so that they unknowingly create a familiarity with a product they have never seen before is deceitful and wrong. Or is it?
The world is in a dire state and these questionable methods may have helped create this dystonia, so why not used the very same methods that may have contributed to these mess to relieve us from it. Shamelessly imprinting the message of environmental destruction on our the adverts of products aided this reality could be almost bitter sweet. Or are we caught in a Catch 22? Deceiving individuals to make more conscious decisions could save our ecosystem, however the ethical implications and possibly discovery our motives could backfire and create more animosity towards the green movement. With a portion of the population still convinced climate change is a hoax, can we afford the risk?
Ethics are not black and white by any means. They are seemingly complex and unique to each individual. As I place this scenario before you I ask you to think whether you would forgive the worldwide deceit in this case? If we all share the blame in this worldwide destruction what entitlement do we have to question the methods to save it?
It's relative but on the whole, no.
Sustainability has long become a term naturally associated with ecological and environmental with it's definitions referring to maintenance and uphold. My definition of sustainability is utilizing resources found within our natural world that they follow a closed-loop format; that everything has a place and a purpose in the natural circuit even when it has perished. There is no 'end', no ultimate 'grave' and the nature cycle is instinctively sustainable. Yet, many look at sustainability from a different standpoint and associate sustainability with longevity.
Longevity, as the name suggest, signifies long life. Subsequently, the term 'sustainability from longevity' dumbs down to uphold through time. If we create a product that is sustainable through longevity have we succeeded in making something truly time-less? Or must we face the very real possibility that nothing is timeless?
Time has become increasingly more influential to me and how I think. As designers we plan timescales with products whether it be growth and decline, introductory upgrades and when our product will have 'served it's time'. I believe we are an evolutionary species, that has developed over time and changed over time. How can we expect to make something timeless if we are constantly changing with the times? Changes within our society has transformed from centuries to decades. We see the 17th Century as a time period the same way we see the 1970's. We group ourselves together based on our personal time whether you be an 'eighties child' or say 'you know you're a nineties kid when..' or read headlines like 'if only millennials were allowed to vote, Trump wouldn't be president'. If we are evolving faster than ever, that decades become the new centuries, how on earth can we expect design to timeless? Time is relative and so is design. Companies that were stars in our 'time' can become irrelevant because they refused to 'get with the times'. I firmly believe that we, are now more than ever, a fast-paced, throw-away society and instead of forcing everything to still be relevant, [like recycled products], we embrace our attitudes and design FOR them so that we do leave a negative impact because of our misjudgment.
However, I do believe, as individuals, we can own emotionally timeless products. These are the products that only need to be relevant to one or even a small number of individuals, such as a family. My engagement ring is timeless to me because I have such a strong emotional attachment to that product that symbolizes a very personal, relationship between myself and my partner than others will not replicate. Heirlooms are past through families to symbolize that longevity of names and bloodlines. Historic artifacts are protected and concealed behind glass cabinets as a relic to their time period. Without the emotion, these products would not be timeless, and in the hands of people who do not know of their origin, they are worthless.
Sustainability through longevity can also take on other definitions and examples such as 'hand-me-downs' and products with a 20 year lifespan when they normally have 10. This is not sustainability. It's extending relevance but not extending time. Therefore, true 'timeless' sustainability must work like nature and have an end that creates a new beginning: the circle of life of products. Nature and time are a pair that work continuously together and obscuring their relationship does not change their path. So in some ways there is sustainability in longevity, but the longevity lies within the philosophy and not the product.
Games and puzzles are as old as time. Well, maybe not time but they certainly date back. They are typically associated with fun and playtime, however many games have an educational underlay. Since the educational factors are masked by the aspect of fun, children learned brain-training, cognitive and social skills by playing games.
I spent my final year and am still working now on an educational game and have found learning and improving for children is much easier when the 'fun' element is part of the occasion. In that sense, why can't the same be true for adults? In the past couple of years colouring books have become the adult therapy; a sentence that if I had said a decade ago would have been laughable. Could delving into our childhood and child-like attitudes open our minds? Could resorting back to these playful antics allow us to learn in the same ways we did as children? In that case should education or impact design have some sort of a playful factor? Maybe a light-hearted, inclusive approach could lead the path for more informed decisions.
Are some games purely instructional and do we abide by the rules of them and never question them? Are these seemingly innocent realms of joy shaping a totalitarian system? When I phrase it so dramatically it may sound deluded but maybe we should be designing to have people think outside the box and create their own rules when the ones set do not meet their ethics. Something to think about.
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