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Catalog for the Post-Human – Venice Architecture Biennale 2021 (ExhibitionsFeaturedFutures)

Overview

Catalog for the Post-Human opened at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2021, curated by Hashim Sarkis, on 22nd May to 21st November 2021. Building on the theme of the Biennale, the project asks “How will we live together if we are forced to augment ourselves to stay competitive?”

The installation invites visitors into an immersive space that mixes the familiar design language of a commercial trade fair, with an unfamiliar collection of objects relating to the future of work, productivity labor and the body. This fictional commercial environment aims to provoke conversations about the ethical and social dimensions of our technologically mediated futures.

Imagining a future where success depends upon our ability to be permanently cognitively sharp, quantifying ourselves with data, and able to work the long and irregular hours assigned by algorithm led corporations, Catalog for the Post-Human provides tools to help workers cope with circumstances in which their bodies may be pushed to the limit. Adjust your circadian rhythms to your work schedule with the SleepSnackers. Dial up the right cognitive state for your next gig using smart drugs provided by the NootDial. Safeguard your microbiome with soil-based probiotic Mycopop lollipops or absorb vitamins intravenously while you work with an inflatable IV Apparel jacket.

What are the logical conclusions of the work/life changes were already seeing? How will AI, brain-computer interfaces, and constant corporate surveillance impact our behavior? What are the physical and psychological consequences of giving over body and mind to the unrelenting productivity of data-driven capitalism?

The installation consists of four product ranges addressing different needs of the contingent worker of the near future.

  • Cognitive Management: tools to tune your brain’s efficiency.
    – Morning Ritual™: a kit for microdosing.
    – NootDial™: a dispenser for nootropic pharmaceuticals.
  • Expedited Recovery: tools that help to adjust your
    circadian rhythm to match your economic rhythm.
    – SleepSnackers™: tools for enhanced short-term napping.
    – RemWake™: wearable alarm that wakes you at your most alert.
  • Optimized Wellness: tools to help you maintain hydration
    and a healthy gut.
    – Mycopops™: probiotic lollipops
    – IV Apparel™: an IV jacket for administering your own IV on the move.
  • Enhanced Productivity: tools to help you maintain productivity and income generation.
    – ClickbaitWear™: wearable advertising clothing for a second income stream.
    – StressWatch™: a device for measuring your stress levels via a saliva cortisol test.

Catalog for the Post-Human extends an ongoing body of research and design outcomes that began in 2014, the last iteration of which manifested as a vending machine with interactive interface, for the Designs for Different Futures exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2019) and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2020).

Products from the Catalog for the Post-Human can be viewed on the dedicated microsite at www.cftph.work/

View the Catalog for the Post-Human infomercial

Kindly supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the British Council.
Sponsorship, Abstracta exhibition furniture and printing provided by Consort Display Group.

Captions (from top to bottom)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Installation View, Venice Architecture Biennale 2021
Catalog for the Post-Human, Installation View (Optimized Wellness area) (left)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Installation View (Enhanced Productivity area) (right)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Detail View (ClickbaitWear, LED clothing)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Installation View (Cognitive Management area) (left)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Installation View (Expedited Recovery area) (right)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Close Up View (Enhanced Productivity area)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Detail View (IV Apparel inflatable IV jacket)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Detail View (SleepSnacker Headwear, wearable sleep tool) (left)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Detail View (SleepSnacker Armwear, wearable sleep tool) (right)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Detail View (MycoPops, probiotic lollipops)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Animations from Optimized Wellness, Enhanced Productivity, Cognitive Management, Expedited Recovery Areas
Catalog for the Post-Human, Detail View (RemWake, wearable alarm clock)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Detail View (StressWatch, cortisol stress test)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Detail View (NootDial, drug dispenser)
Catalog for the Post-Human, Close Up View (Expedited Recovery area)