Albion

Albion is a speculative design fiction about transhumanism and four possible worlds in the future 2105.
Albion
Bachelor Project
2020
ROLES
Ideation, Concept, Development
LINK
Scientific research on transhumanism, sport and diverse possible future szenarios where converted in speculative objects and crafted possible future stories as pastiche szenarios. 
Albion should have been exibited at the See Conference April 2020 Wiesbaden, but got cancelled due to Corona Circumstances.
Films and books about possible future scenarios shape our collectively perceived images of the future. We live in a "hypermedialization". Popular culture no longer reflects reality, but shapes it. These unconsciously absorbed impressions from film, literature and social media lead to a distorted picture of the future. 
Albion is a touring exhibition about the future of sport and our current opinion on transhumanism. Through Albion, visitors to the exhibition are able to question their current images of the future.
The speculative approach is deliberately provocative and is intended to raise not only questions but also eyebrows. With Albion, discussions about our relationship to transhumanism should arise. The topics of sport and Olympics form the thematic background. Four speculative worlds are shown, which will participate in the transolympic games with Sport Enhancements in the future
What the f*** is speculative design?
"Design conveys(...) social meaning in the context of new social, economic, technological and media conditions".
- Dunne & Raby, Speculative Researcher
The term "Critical Design" was first coined by Anthony Dunne, Head of the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art. He describes critical design as an examination of the aesthetics of the use of new technologies in the context of electronics
Through his collaboration with Fiona Raby, the concept of the "Speculative Design" approach was developed over the years, which has had a lasting influence on both of them. Raby expanded the concept to include the cultural, social and ethical implications of new technologies. Finally, he also addressed broader social, economic, and political issues.
Possible World - Spectrum City
Spectrum City is a dystopia and the closest to the current capitalist system, which without regulation by state processes would become more and more tolerant, resulting in a totalitarian privatized world system. 
The distinction between citizen and consumer is no longer applicable. The system, technologically perfected by subsidies and economic growth, offers the highest standard of living of all worlds. This world system is a biotope of technological progress and expansion of ever new living space. 
In the last century, three large companies have prevailed in the constant market competition. Algorithms and a few system experts are responsible for the use of resources for the development of transport systems, urban living space and the even distribution of jobs. The mood in this world is balanced and cheerful. 
Although residents know that they have given up their privacy at the price of a secure standard of living, as long as everything is going well and there are enough choices, no questions are asked. The algorithms are now better at making difficult decisions anyway than the little citizen next door. 
So why bother to think about it when you are actually doing quite well?
Artefact Oxygen Fertilizer
The Oxygen Fertilizer is a biomechanical enhancement for increased oxygen uptake during oxygen uptake. It extends the time span of the long-distance runner to run in the aerobic zone. Due to the sufficient oxygen supply to the muscles, the stressed muscles are not overacidified. 
The Oxygen-Fertilizer must be used under general anesthesia in a surgical procedure on the athlete. With the help of a probe and a mini-gripper, the Oxygen Fertilizer is pressed into the trachea until it sits just above the collarbone and cannot slip. The Oxygen Fertilizer can be implanted in sizes A (1.5 cm) to F (2.5 cm), depending on the capacity of the trachea. The inner part of the Oxygen-Fertilizer is connected to a 5 mm tracheal hole. 
During training or competition, the inner part is connected to a flexible gelatinous tube. The athlete wears a collar connected to an oxygen can. The hose connects the oxygen tank to the Oxygen-Fertilizer.
Possible world - Bio Humanists
The world of the Bio Humanists can be compared to the socio-demographic political system and is located in the liberal left spectrum. 
Saving the earth and not wasting any more resources are strongly in the foreground here. In doing so, the inhabitants live in symbiosis with nature. With the help of biological enhancements such as synthetic biology and gene design, they are creating a new type of biotechnology that is the exact opposite of the first world. To meet the needs of each inhabitant, they produce their own renewable energy. 
They see themselves as part of a biological whole and expand their body and nature to the extent that the ecosystem with its living beings is not endangered. They live in small migratory communities. Their houses are alive and produce their own heat through muscle contraction. The inhabitants are mostly farmers, gardeners and gene designers. Through an interpersonal-confidence-based value system, gardens, kitchens and farms are shared, replacing the market-driven economic system and its factories and workshops. 
Researchers like Neri Oxman prove that there will be more biotechnology in architecture or fashion in the future, using synthetic biology.

Artefact - Biosuit Fat Camel
The Biosuit Fat Camel is a mutation process. Camel DNA sequences were separated, which allow the growth of a fat stored hump. The hump is interspersed with fat-storing tissue cells, which enable the camel to survive for a long time without food or water by feeding on its expanded energy storage. 
This DNA is cultivated on farms and then linked to the athlete's tissue. In order not to shift the centre of the body, the bioenhanchement sits as a bag-like bulge just above the hip pelvis on the back. 
The athlete is thus able to store 15000 calories of body fat instead of 8000 calories, which leads to a long-term increase of the aerobic threshold if trained sufficiently. 
The body can be put into ketosis during the entire run, which is a more energy-efficient way of running and the runner's glucose supply can thus remain almost untouched.
Possible world - Evolutionists
The world of evolutionists is populated by anarchic hedonists. They form a hodgepodge for all those who find no place in the other worlds and love freedom. The evolutionists renounce every physical addition and rely on the mere exercise of force and Brutal Force. 
They believe in Darwin's theory of evolution. There is no system of government and no rules. According to the Robin Hood principle, they steal what they need to live from the rich and give it to the poor. They have no collective goal and are not interested in progress. 
Due to their lack of structures and organizations, they live in constant fear of energy shortages. Since the first world system has privatized large parts of the urban and rural space, the anarchic hedonists live underground in old underground stations and tunnels that are no longer in use. Their technologies mostly consist of cracked old equipment and DIY gene hacking.
Artefact Electric Eel Warrior
The Electric Eel Warrior is an innovation of the evolutionists. Through questionable experiments and several deaths, a group of young techno-punks has now developed a full body suit. Their leader has thus allowed them to participate in the Trans-Olympic Games. 
The designed running suit does not meet the safety standards of the committee, but there is no alternative entry from this world. Since the main purpose of the Trans-Olympic Games is to reduce worldly tensions among each other, the Committee allowed the registration.
The full-body outfit consists of sweat-absorbing and heat-balancing nylon. Woven into the outfit are 16 electrode pads. These electrode pads release current impulses to the leg muscles every second, so that additional jumping energy can be released during the rolling phase of the foot. 
Due to the additional constant tension exerted on the leg muscles, the gluteus maximus (calf and shin muscles) is unnaturally swollen and takes twice as long to recover.
AI Worker People
The fourth and last world can best be compared with the authoritarian left. 
All power here lies with the state and its head. This perfectly organized smaller state has been training a fully singular AI for decades. 
The population is encouraged to honor technological progress, even if this means that more than half of the population is employed by the state and has to take jobs like AI architect or AI troubleshooter. 
The inhabitants live a very simple but fulfilling life. Propaganda devices in every household provide new stories about the state every day. They are proud of their highly intelligent AI and the small amount of work they contribute to the big picture. 
In this world, machines have a higher value than the life of the ordinary citizen.
Final Takeaway
“User centricity is incredibly problematic. Focusing on the narrow goals of the user as it relates to the business as it exists today leads us to a narrow view of the opportunity space that we’re working in.” 
J. Paul Neeley, Speculative Designer

We are wired to overestimate the impact of new technology in the short run, but do greatly underestimate in the long run.
Speculative design is not necessarily problem solving and a user centered approach and it is not trying to predict the future (forecasting). It is a approach to see and evaluate possibilities, not probabilities. We should rather challenge a set of possible futures and the ways in which the objects we design help or hinder our attempts to build those futures.
Speculative design may help us define preferable futures for our communities, our economies, and even our concentrations of power.
Beyond design fictions like Black Mirror or Science Fiction speculative design projects tend to only reach like minded designer or other related Experts. The kind of experimentation we allow in museums is often considered artsy or irrelevant, if not actually prohibited, in profit-driven industries.
Through this mediation I came to the conclusion that speculative design is a really important tool to focus on long term thining process than rather just design for the exisitng user.
As our current standarts of technology rise exponentially and far wider as we could ever imagined we need we need to ask more often why? than what?

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