Loose Lips Sink Ships: Recovering from Surveillance-Generated Paranoia and Isolation in a World of Constant Capture

If manufacturers, advertisers and governments—not to mention nosy neighbors and criminals—are listening to and watching everything we do or say, what impact will this have on our personal relationships? Will we stop communicating directly with each other, and be relegated to lives interacting primarily, and perhaps willingly, with machines?

Prompted by current headlines about developments in the Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic and Political sphere, the SVA Orientation Class of 2020 developed narrative visions of the resulting futures and designed “provotypes” (provocative prototypes) to explore how we might re-capture the pleasure of an intimate conversation that can provide a comforting and nourishing escape from surveillance, reconnecting us with a friend, family member, colleague or perhaps even ourselves. The workshop was led by alumni Steve Hamilton with Brandon Washington and Alexia Cohen.

Deploying their provotypes throughout Union Square Park, the students engaged in conversations about counteracting technologically-induced paranoia and isolation, while testing out the powerful muscle of the Design-Led Research they’ll be learning over the next two years.