The use of technology has become an integral part of our lives to the point where we finally find ourselves as beings entangled with technological devices on a daily basis. We pay particular attention to their function, usability and degree of innovation, yet often leaving out the question of how our individual relationship with technology evolves. What if we shifted the focus of our everyday technological experiences away from efficient use and functionality? This work aims to challenge the narrative about the use of everyday electronic devices by exploring the growing intimacy outside of the device’s typical purpose. Whether it is the heat of the laptop or the noise of the devices around us, this fiction creates a poetic side to our relationship with technology and speculates within a series of 5 devices about how small side effects might eventually become a rare necessity.
In her research project «Rare Necessities», Nadine Cocina investigates a technologically and socially highly topical issue: our interaction with technological devices beyond mere functionality. The design of technological artefacts often focuses on their immediate function and how they will be employed by abstract users, while side effects tend to be neglected. These supposed side effects, however, often turn out to be the more important functions. Following on from this, Nadine addresses a vital aspect of design, termed «parafunctionality» by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby – in other words: the «real» (often seemingly irrational) needs of people when they use technological artefacts. Applying methods of product design, literature and film in a systematic, exploratory and speculative fashion, she creates a visual world in which these side effects come alive in an impactful and almost subversive way.
The design work is underpinned by an in-depth analysis of human relationships with technology and especially with everyday technical objects. Theory, analysis and design are combined in an inclusive approach – thus, the design work becomes a direct expression of theoretical reflections and, in a sense, their material and visual consequence. Through the lens of film as the chosen medium and with aesthetic recourse to the techno-utopianism of the 1960s, relevant questions are raised and negotiated in a setting that suits the purpose perfectly and makes these topics accessible to a wide audience.
«As an interaction designer, I will continue to explore the ever-changing nature of technology and how our individual relationship with it unfolds.» – Nadine Cocina