Product Design

The Data Topos

Ioana Tomici
A speculative project envisioning an extreme fictional scenario, based on mass-surveillance technologies and data mining as an increasingly relevant component of daily life.
Practice Autonomous Practices
Project Critical Studies
Major Product Design
Year Fourth Year

Drempelprijs Autonomous Practices 2017 and a special Research Award

Jury Drempelprijs:

"The Jury was struck by a speculative design project envisaging an extremely fictional narrative of mass-surveilliance technopower and large-scale data-mining, offering us an assemblage of items – softeware and hardware, text, and imagery – that ingeniuously remind us of constant monitoring and virtual stalking."

Read the full Autonomous Practices jury report.

Jury Research Prize:

"This dystopian scenario of a society under total digital surveillance does a lot with little means, is strong in its discursive and theoretical aspects and on the level of storytelling."

Mobility at the End of the Line

'Mobility at the End of the Line' is a speculative design project which envisions an extreme fictional scenario, based on mass-surveillance technologies and data mining as an increasingly relevant component of daily life.

Similar to the Sesame Credit System implemented in the People’s Republic of China, this project proposes government regulation and social norms as a result of constant monitoring of individual behavior. Using the visual language and location tracking services of Google — specifically its subcomponents, Google Earth and Google Maps — mobility becomes a metaphor for a new form of currency and exchange, in which individuals have a certain amount of meters to spend and specific civil obligations to meet on a daily basis.

This fictional scenario relies on multiple media as means of speculating a potential socio-political ideology:

  • software and hardware employed to track and discipline the user;
  • a written text serving as a legally binding privacy policy and terms of use around these technologies;
  • a short film exploring how this technology would function and how it would become intrusiveThe final instance of the scenario proposes a complete loss of mobility as an extreme regulatory measure, caused by the failure to comply to the norms and standards proposed by the mobility credit system. Induced paralysis becomes a form of capital punishment and a way to exert government control from a distance, without relying on direct use of force. The dystopian undertones of this fictional narrative are conveyed in a manner which is meant to pin down the potentially oppressive rules of the mobility credit system. Therefore it is represented in a visual language similar to a video-game, with a navigable environment in which rewards and penalties define the experience of mobility.

Nominations: Drempelprijs 2017 and Bachelor Research Award 2017

Come visit our Graduation Show and see Ioana's project in its complete beauty and complexity!