21/07 2017

Life on the Internet: the projects

Metamedia Lab

Association Metamedia + Department of Visual Communicational Design at Arts Academy in Split (Ivica Mitrović, Oleg Šuran) organized a free speculative design workshop in Pula (26th of June – 1st of July 2017) called “Life on the Internet”.

The workshop hosted young experts and artists (college and high-school students) from Pula, Zagreb, Ljubljana (SLO), and Novisad (RS). Through multidisciplinary group work they worked with design as a different way of thinking – reflexive, critical and socially responsible. By investigating the relation of technology and society/culture, the participants were rethinking the possible futures and implications of a technology dependant society. The mentors of the workshop were Estelle Hary and Léa Lippera (France), and Oleg Šuran (DVK/UMAS, Split).

The participants worked in 4 groups. The videos and texts below explain their prototypes and potential near-future scenarios.

Me +

What if using other identities has become commonplace?

Nika Lapkovski, Andrija Galić, Elizabeta Lončar, Ivana Stanojev

ME+ Inc. System for Human Identity Enhancement fuses medicine, cybernetics and bioengineering, to overcome current limitations of the human body abilities. It improves human functions beyond what’s naturally possible, allowing you to enhance your physical, cognitive and personality traits: it’s your shortcut to (su)perfection.

Artificial perfection being paramount in the 20th and 21st century’s societies, people started questioning the notions of identity. Anxious that they wouldn’t fit into the new superficial social model, people surrendered to pseudo-medical means of changing themselves. Through steroids, diet pills, hormone therapy, plastic surgery, psychiatric medications, and codependence of smart devices, they tried to reinvent themselves in an easy and unlimited way.

It is in that context that ME+ Inc. appeared, offering you a short term “update” to your life. By applying a temporary enhancing synthetic spray, you can upgrade yourself with new skills and traits, and be quick to respond to the constantly changing market needs. Each trait can be improved only to a certain level, in turn affecting other traits, while an accompanying app provides insights on the distribution of the enhancements’ levels.

ME+ Physical enhancements – increasing capacities such as strength, speed,
agility, endurance, and precision.

ME+ Cognitive enhancements – improvements of sensory
perception, memory, decision-making, thought and imagination.

ME+ Personality enhancements – adjustments in extraversion, agreeableness,
conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness.

Me+ Inc. is System for Human Identity Enhancement inevitably leaves an impact on personal identity, as it involves the modification of your mind and body. It equips you with superior abilities, which change the way you feel, look and behave, as well as the way you experience the world and yourself, leaving the question: when is the point when the ME becomes dependent on the +.

The Cloud

What if we needed technology to understand our emotions?


Filip Latin, Ana Markezić, Tea Zbašnik

In a society of constant emotional overload, many means have been sought by people in order to control them and maintain inner peace. Some used medications, others turned to religion, prayers and meditation, few would go for group therapy and psychoanalysis, and many would turn to social media to let go of their unwanted feelings. In spite of all those efforts, it was observed that the rate of burnout at the workplace was booming, and that extreme behaviors due to uncontrolled emotions were on the rise as well. In front of this dire situation, people were distressed. Until recently, no viable solution seemed to exist.

Now you can resolve your emotional imbalance – thanks to the Cloud!

Store your emotions on our digital platform through our Cloud tangible interface. Designed to provide a sense of peace and tranquility while handling it, it facilitates your feeling upload to the Cloud. By using the Cloud, you will become better at dealing with your emotions, helping you to recognise what you feel and guide you on how to react. The Cloud is based on reliable science and technology, not on fanciful practices and beliefs. You will feel and experience a real difference in your daily life by using it.

Through the oblivious usage of technology we lost the ability to understand our emotion, resulting in decaying relationships between and within ourselves. We desire optimisation of our performance—the best solutions through rational decisions—but where does this lead us? Why wouldn’t we rather believe our guts and trust others instead of exclusively relying on oneself and technology?


What if emojis became the universal language?

Marija Kantolić, Morena Martinović, Filip Vukovinski, Toni Žufić

Since the rise and massive adoption of the Information and Communication Technologies and ubiquitous computing, an alternative culture of visual communication has developed. It uses the human face as a new alphabet, shaping a new visual language constructed by combining existing text symbols into larger semantic units with the goal of conveying human emotions lacking from written texts.

By the further development of technologies such as smartphones or electronic touch-sensitive displays, coming with an increasing need for instant communication with growing audiences, the visual language of the emoji crawls into everyday use. Supported by technology industry giants of the time, the emoji language receives an official standard, and with this standard, billions of new users. In such a way, the emoji language enabled digitally-connected friends and acquaintances to develop their own style of communication tailored for brevity and offering enhanced privacy.

Having many viral, often controversial, emoji-related public debate raised for the next decade, the visual language of emoji becomes open for discussion, deliberated upon and finally, regulated. It became an interesting research topic among both progressive and conservative linguists. In a landmark study, on which the progressive linguist’s thought built it’s own future, it was discovered that emoji were far more effective when used, for an example in traffic, newspaper, questionnaires and forms, posters, and even names of institutions, in place of the traditional languages.

A major turning point for the emoji language comes with the invention of a widely accessible emotion sensing technology – this was the eMotus, a wearable device which displays the wearer’s emotions for others to see.

For people who struggled to control their emotional reactions and understand social cues and etiquette, the eMotus allowed them to learn from the socially apt more easily than by only reading facial expressions and other nonverbal cues. Furthermore, on the societal level, the device made people’s experienced emotions transparent to the viewer in real time. This ushered in a new global culture of openness, honesty, empathy, community care and support.

Attentional economy

What if attention is a new currency?

Sabina Damiani, Viktoria Jurina, Dora Kasun

In our modern society, almost everything can be monetized, even our likes and dislikes became valuable goods. Product and service producers are trying to find ever more subtle ways to advertise and sell products. Very often, we give away personal information and data, without being aware of the consequences, inadvertently participating in the commodification of privacy, free speech and other personal details.

If we assume that the amount of attention we give these very same advertisers has a certain value, we can therefore deduce that our attention span can be viewed as a currency. In that assumption lies our project idea: our attention span as an actual, measurable and universal currency.

Let’s imagine a system which measures and administers the attention span of an individual, aiding him or her in control of his or hers very own Attention Economy Units (AEUs), and keeping track of the incoming and outgoing transactions of said units. Each transaction of attention is documented, and acts as a filter for our interests, automatically ‘turning on and off’ our basic needs, wants and fears. What happens when we let an artificial algorithm control our decisions, as well as our intrinsic needs and desires? How crucial are our trivial daily decisions to achieving our full potential? What are the implications of such a system: social exclusion or wide acceptance? Do they produce less or more interactions? How do they affect empathy?

We imagined a research laboratory in such a future composed of three experts: a Social Media Specialist, a Currency History Expert, and an Algorithm Psychologist. We pondered over what would be their views on the economy, currency, the social networks and other interactions be.

Their discussions constantly bring us to new, unanswerable questions and ever-fleeing discoveries, which we see as an allegory for the absurd nature of our society.

The project is financed by: “Kultura nova” Foundation, Ministry of culture – Republic of Croatia, City of Pula, Region of Istria



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