The Internet of Souls

The assignment

Together with Kate Smit I worked on a museum installation for a school project. The installation had to be based on the theme of ‘Design Fiction’. In design fiction you create a fictional vision of the future based on recent developments in society.

We got a lot of creative freedom in this project and had loads of fun coming up with ideas. This was the first time the two of us built something like this, but it was great to actually get stuck in with tools and create an actual physical installation. Between the two of us we came up with the concent, built the physical installation, recorded the video that was projected, wrote the software for the screen and created all the visuals.

The aftermovie

(Editing by Kate Smit)

The story

Earth is on the verge of succumbing to the influences of mankind. In a desperate attempt to preserve the planet humanity decides to erase their presence on the planet as much as they can. They remove themselves from the earth’s surface and erase all traces left. Small robots are tasked with deconstructing buildings and cities, returning the broken down, raw materials to nature. On the surface nature is allowed to roam and reclaim all areas previously populated by mankind.

All human bodies are stored in one central hub, in pods where the bodies are ideally maintained. Inside the pod the body is kept in constant motion to keep up a healthy amount of muscles. Nutrients are administered to the body in optimal amounts. The pod monitors all bodily functions and adjusts where necessary. Certain genes are suppressed and proteins are administered to prevent aging. This way the resources required are as few as possible, while life expectancy is prolonged to 180-210 years of age. The conscious part of humanity’s daily life happens separate from the bodies, in a network named The internet of Souls. The mind cannot exist without a body however and a body without a mind will decay. We no longer need to be concerned about the state of our bodies however and instead can concentrate ourselves on gathering knowledge and personal development. We can meet other souls and communicate with them.

This digital environment may be controlled by our own thoughts and changes to suit our current needs. Conventional jobs no longer exist, but some souls occupy themselves with gathering knowledge, passing on knowledge and monitoring earth’s recovery.

The Build

The design and functionality of the installation influences the amount of interest it will provoke as well as the educational value. The research we’ve done before starting the project showed that interactivity triggers curiosity and involvement, so interactive elements definitely had to be involved. The installation itself is a dark wooden box (we had to work with materials available) that hides its contents unless the audience makes an active effort to peek inside. On the side there’s a few lighted areas to draw the attention. From the top of the box one can look down through a window and see a mask on which a video of a sleeping face is projected to make it look like there’s an actual body inside. Next to that is a screen that shows all vital functions. The screen has several control buttons that allow the audience to manipulate the amount of nutrients, exercise and gene suppression. Playing with these buttons will immediately result in a changed life expectancy.

The Goals

With this installation we’d like to teach the audience something about how nutrition, exercise and genetics influence the life expectancy of an individual. By finding an optimal balance between the three in the installation the life expectancy shown will go up. Secondly we’d like the audience to consider the influence we have on the planet and make them think about the possible consequences of not considering the environment.