Armed against recession

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army shop dalstonarmedforces2

As the recession continues to bite the armed forces are experiencing an increase in the number of new recruits – which has risen 10% on last year. This surge of interest is seems not only to be a product of the recession but the Forces increasingly extensive and sophisticated self-promotion.

In addition to the web and TV based ‘Start Thinking Soldier’ campaign are a whole host of offline, regional events. Potential young recruits are being targeted at consumer events, shopping malls and schools using experiential events and arcade-style virtual reality simulators. Even in my local shopping arcade is a shop dedicated to promoting the exciting adventures a soldier will embark on with the added excitement of virtual reality gaming and cool buggies to drive.

The RAF have also launched RAF Altitude – an online magazine portal for young teenagers to sign up and learn about RAF career options. The interface includes areas to register and ‘Dive In’ to learn about RAF survival techniques, RAF history and a Youtube channel dedicated to promoting the cool life of an air force cadet.

To sew the seeds of military ambition at an even earlier age are Hasbro’s ultra realistic Action Man dolls (seen here in the window of Hamleys in April 2009). Hasbro recently reintroduced the dolls with special permission from the MoD. The figures will now come equipped with accurate replicas of the weapons used in the Iran and Afghanistan wars as opposed to the more fanciful inline skates, water pistols and snowboards.

According to BBC News:

‘The MoD says it hopes the figures will boost the profile of Britain’s serving forces. [It’s] an ideal opportunity to raise public awareness of the armed forces and what the personnel do day-by-day,” says Squadron leader Stuart Balfour. “We feel by children playing with these toys, it promotes things like discipline, sense of belonging to a wider organisation and team work.’

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CINDY WEBER: ‘I am an American’

New Sciences of Protection Conference: Exhibition on the theme ‘Designing Safe Citizens’ by Cindy Weber.

On 21 September 2001 – ten days after 9/11 – the Ad Council in the United States launched its ‘I am an American’ advertising campaign. The exhibition unsettles the Ad Council’s smooth presentation of post 9/11 American patriotism through interviews with those for whom, very recently, US citizenship has been anything but ‘safe.’ These include the son of undocumented immigrant Elvira Arellano, Greg and Glenda Avery, Hurricane Katrina evacuees who became ‘internally displaced’ refugees, and James Yee, a US army Muslim chaplain wrongly accused of being a terrorist spy. The pieces show how the fantasy of unity, wholeness and security pedalled by the designers of safe citizenship in the US remain just that, fantasies. The exhibition disarticulates and rearticulates what it means to be a US citizen in a post 9/11 context, enactments neatly summed up in Cindy Weber’s provocative reversal the US motto “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of many, One) to read, ‘out of one, Many.’
The original Ad Council release

Greg and Glenda Avery: We are americans

James Yee: I am an American

Thank you to our fabulous Joseph Rigby for this great summary

Workshop 6: Futures: May 8th-9th

WALTER PICHLER. Small Room (Prototype 4), 1967 Photography: Werner Kaligofsky.
Generali Foundation, Vienna. © Generali Foundation

WALTER PICHLER TV-Helmet (Portable living room), 1967

This workshop explored ways in which the contemporary obsession with insecurity is generating new forms of technical promise, offering control and protection in the wars against terror and environmental apocalypse. Discussions ranged from Double Agents in the post cold war era, how design thinking is integral to understanding, envisioning and provoking thoughts about the future, how risk assessment and scenario planning creates its own future and how the war on climate change has been created from the same language and motivations as the war on terror.

Nanonoia by Jessica Charlesworth


This project is entitled NANONOIA and was presented at the Proximities workshop in November 2007. In this presentation I will discuss its development by highlighting my process and design decisions and ending with further space for explorations.There are two phases to this project:

PHASE ONE: Influences

First phase addresses my influences, research and initial questions. The second phase further explores the complexities of my scenarios: raising more questions. My initial influence was from an article discussing the current applications of nano technologies in commercial organisations. The article discussed the future impact of hand held nano sensors that could indicate whether the parson you are sitting nxt to on the bus has flu or whether the street you are walking down has a high carbon monoxide count or the salad you are abotu to it has a bacteria that will cause food poisoning. This hyper awareness of our immediate future health raised question of paranoia + future phobias and implication this tech will have on psycho somatic disorders.

This lead to the question what of this paranoia were to escalate and begin to affect interactions within our relationships and environmen?

My visual research: detection + protection. How these products/systems already affect relationships and environments.

Acute sensitivity: what if protection/detection became biokleptic:ie borrow biological processes from immune system and manipulate them to enable physical manifestations into more meaningful signals.

Health supplement provides individual with a sixth sense by boosting and augmenting the immune system.

Could supplement provide individual with a sixth sense? Offering a new code of reference: PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION

Each physical manifestation illustrates the individual’s reaction to their surroundings. Each symbol translates into the individual’s probability of contracting a virus from certain contagions.

These illustrations created more questions: how would this biokleptic acute sensitivity be provided to an individual?

PHASE TWO: Who is the service provider?

This second phase explores further complexities of this scenario. How would a service create further implications to society? The 6sense health supplement that enhances our immune system.

Is the service publicly run, privately invested? Designed various touch points that provide further questions and future scenarios.

Would the service provider offer….?

Inductions and starter packs?

DNA tests?

Tailored treatment + applications

Could one could learn to read themselves and translate their symbols, a dictionary for themselves

A manual that offers various tips on what to do in an emergency?

(code of conduct/charter) (who and how is support structure exist in your life, subscription?)- nicorette style

Similar to diabetics, 6sense members have own inconspicuous ways to gain access to certain areas and public services. Private members clubs

Depending on location, provided with various maps identifying nearest quarantine zone (food and water and treatment safe house) (casa segura, humane borders projects)

Own individual proxemic contingency chart, Indicates minimum distance 6 sense members need to be to reduce risk to disease level.

This service provider and the various products they offer raise further implications in society and the interactions individuals have in environment and between relationships. Does it increase hypochondria cases?, somatic syndromes, obsessive compulsive disorders/phobias

What might be the propaganda poster campaign? E.g. NHS tissue. Underground politeness/terrorist warnings; use your senses

READ MORE about the future of the 6sense health supplement HERE>