Emerging Designer Exhibition Award

primer19, new york

The PRIMER Emerging Designer Exhibition celebrates the diversity and excellence of the speculative design practice, and aims to recognize emerging designers without borders. The award is open to speculative design, design fiction, and futuristic design projects from all disciplines.

THEME

This year our theme is “Futures for all”. In order to manifest futures for everyone, we need diverse perspectives and platforms that elevate more voices in discussions around where we are heading. We often fail to question who the future is created for, how it is made accessible, whose interests are promoted, and how power and agency are redistributed in its envisioning. However, these questions are hard to ask when technology is only imagined and designed by a small group of people working within the industry.

All finalist projects are showcased at PRIMER19 Conference, and the top three projects (1st , 2nd and 3rd prize) are voted by the conference attendees.

Showcasing projects from

Art Center College of Design, Boston University, Central Saint Martins, Collegium Da Vinci, California College of the arts, Emily Carr university of art and design, Glasgow School Of Art, HfG Schwaebisch Gmuend, Jan Evangelista Purkyne University, New York University, Parsons School of Design, Royal College of Art, Savannah College of Art and Design, The Bartlett School of Architecture, The Knowlton School (Ohio State University), The University of Cincinnati (DAAP), University of Cincinnati, University of Southern California, Virginia Tech, MOD. / Cabra Dominican College

EXHIBITION Judges

Shihan Zhang, Phil Balagtas, Dana Martens, Travis Kupp

The exhibition team

Jack Wilkinson, Jonas Voigt, Raquel Kalil, Jonathan Hung, Adam Stubbs, and all other volunteers.

 
 
 

EMERGING DESIGNER WINNERS

 

1st Prize

Hear, here

Shuyan Yuan, California College of the Arts

The sense of hearing is one of the biological inheritance of human beings, it is a way for us to connect to the external world; Sound is everywhere in the environment, it provides information to navigate us through space. But since numerous sounds are simultaneously happening in an environment, our brains would automatically filter down the background sounds and only listen to the most obvious ones. Can we change the position of listening and discover the low-frequency ambient sounds as a way to engage with the physical world?

Instagram: @irisyuandesign

 
 

2nd Prize

Posthuman Habitats

Aroussiak Gabrielian, University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts, Media Arts + Practice

Responding to theories of the “Posthuman,” this design speculation imagines possible futures that integrate, serve, and advance more than just “Us.” Here, bodily systems and plant ecologies are symbiotic. The material of landscape – its moisture, weight, vitality – becomes a second skin – one that both insulates and unifies our bodies with the living world in which we are immersed. The cloaks of edible plant life are intended to provide sustenance to the wearer, as well as flourish as expanding ecosystems that attract and integrate other animal and insect life. The act of dressing oneself in living matter becomes part of the landscape experience – whereby we lose our sense of discrete self and become one with our habitational field in a kind of transcorporeality of the living world.

Instagram: @foreground.design.agency

 
 

3rd Prize

GRAZED

Emily Knox, The Knowlton School (Ohio State University)

The majority of the Patagonian steppe is desertified to some extent from many years of overgrazing by sheep. This landscape is on the brink of ecological and socioeconomic crisis. Powerful conservation organizations tend to advocate for the removal of the gaucho from the landscape – understanding the practice of sheep ranching as counter to their goals, while ignoring the ways that this practice and the environment are inseparably linked. These two groups of people have fundamentally different visions for what the Patagonian landscape should look like and who it should serve. GRAZED is about engaging with that tension - envisioning a way forward in which a functional ecosystem and cultural practice aren't forced to be separated.

Instagram: @knoxesonboxes

 
 

FINALISTS

A collaborative, speculative design project by Adriana Noritz and Luke Weaver. Ultimately, this project hopes to provide a vision of the future where AI has become involved in even the most mundane and intimate affairs of humanity. The project’s goal is to provoke critical reflection on the opportunities and challenges of “domesticated” forms of Artificial Intelligence, so that audiences today can play an active role in deciding what forms of control, limitations, and functions of “smart” domestic technologies are desirable and which are not.

Denuclearized Family

Adriana Noritz, Luke Weaver

Plannar is a mobile AR approach to cultivating an inclusive generative urbanism, specifically mobilizing long-term residents of Chinatown, Los Angeles to participate in the visioning of their neighborhood through the placement and “hearting” of literal and symbolic virtual objects around the neighborhood.

PLANNAR: Co-Visioning with AR

Jessy Escobedo

Biogarmentry is designed to address the drastic increase to the environmental impact of textile waste. The project employs the fields of science, synthetic biology and design as a way to open up possibilities for the future of fashion. Biogarmentry is a vision of a possible future where textiles are fully compostable, and more importantly, alive while purifying the air through photosynthesis. Since the life cycle of the living photosynthetic textile is directly dependent on how it is taken care of, the work challenges our current relationship to clothing, while acting as a catalyst for behavioural change.

Biogarmentry

Roya Aghighi

2085. A new synthetic nutritional substance, known as “sustenance gel,” has been effectively mandated state-wide. In suppressing all traces of flavor and odor from it, the State is sending a clear message of cultural control. Incited by this, a group of young biodissidents have resorted to hacking their own olfactory system via a series of scent-based solutions known as “f.a.s.e.” (flavor-augmenting scent emitters). As the practice spreads, a new clandestine subculture emerges, one in which people can wear their taste preference openly, both as means of expression, subversion, and romantic provocation.

f.a.s.e. (flavor augmenting scent emitters)

Oscar Salguero

My work has often bridged the personal and the political, and question viewers' experiences and realities. My ultimate goal is to generate positivity and empowerment in light of the human struggle. To extend this further, I want to envision a new future based on this agenda. For my thesis, I will play the role of design futurist. Instead of envisioning future products or technologies, I will focus on the future of social structures. Through the use of speculative design, I will situate myself in a post-apocalyptic future 300 years from now where a survivalist colony is thriving in this future state. This new society takes the opportunity to reinvent humanity through a code of conduct based on empathy and scientific reason. Through this exercise, I hope to provoke viewers to contemplate their own role and impact in society, and how we might begin to shift paradigms and structures in order to build a more just and sustainable future."

Humanity 2.0: Post-Apocalyptic Hope

Bliss Parsons

In November 2018, a technology called CRISPR was used to create the first gene-edited babies. The experiment, which has been widely condemned as irresponsible, represents a significant and controversial leap in the use of genome editing. It is hard to see how to hold back the next step for long, no matter how convincing the ethical arguments may be. The only thing we can do is to influence the direction we are taking and to debate how a desirable future might look like. Invitro is a speculative concept, aiming to spark discussions on the social and ethical implications of a society, that has decided to fully exploit the opportunities of human genome editing.

For decades we've been hearing and seeing evidence of clothing sweatshops in the developing countries. Everything that we use in our everyday— privileged —lives are made by underpaid people in the developing countries, but we very conveniently turn the other way. Technology, like fashion, relies on the masses of the developing nations. As users and as their underpaid workers who make fake profiles and engage in content generation. Different to the nature of clothing sweatshops, tech sweatshops are filled with technologically skilled individuals who explore this grey area as an opportunity. They understand that making fake profiles as a job can create confusion and they hide away in unmonitored corners of their city and countries. And with my thesis, I want to focus on the fact that click farms are footprints towards counter-colonisation in the age of neocolonialism; where the developing world has logistical resources, mass, and an understanding of the grey fabric of the world to establish its technological power.

Network-by-Desire: A Manifesto for the Cyber Epistemological Shift

Nidhi Singh

NeoTouch envisioning the future of haptic technology for human interaction through digital touch. Rooted in contemporary scientific research, the project speculates on a future ‘data-body’ that completely overlaps with the physical body, raising very current questions around consent, privacy, and digital safety. This critical narrative takes the form of a speculative short film set in a near future where the device. NeoTouch has been accepted widely in society and digital touch has become normality, integrated into everyday life. It portrays what can go wrong when technology and our use of it affect experiences of intimacy and interpersonal boundaries.

Technology will take more space in our lives and our bodies. It will “colonize” our bodies and our minds until it no longer seems foreign. MyCell is a concept of technology that is part of our life and supports us in everyday activities. There is potential in “embedded technology”, control by brain wave reading. MyCell bots are as obvious as smartphones, but they function much more organically with us and in our environment. They deal with home service, they control the room temperature, air humidity, they take care of pets and plants, they remove allergens. They would prepare a meal of your choice indicated just before you get to the apartment. Operate as an extension of a person, Human - microbots symbiosis. promise of technology to offer more control over space and time

MyCell

Magdalena Mojsiejuk, Kamila Kantek, Barbara Drozdek

The human sensory system is a powerfully designed barrier between our body and the surrounding environment. It helps detect and distinguish good from bad environment in order for the body to survive. It is undeniable that alongside our evolution and technology, we have equally changed our way of life as much as our surrounding environment. Our survival needs must change to help us adapt to the inevitable environment, such as air pollution.

The process of adaptation to this changing environment might not be fast enough for all to survive. With this concern in mind, Sensorial Artifacts showcases sensory enhancement wearable interfaces in the context of air-apocalypse situations by making the air toxicity more tangible to wearers. The aim is to tap into the apathy of people around this critical topic and perhaps make them aware of the looming catastrophe.

Sensorial Artifacts for Air-pocalypse

Chavisa Rojratanadumrong

Parlour of Food Futures is a speculative oracle exploring possible food futures through the game of Tarot. The forecasting is performed over a Food Tarot deck presenting futuristic diet tribes such as Petri Dishers or Monsa[n]tanists. Each tribe refers to some existing food-tech trend (Petri Dishers / lab-grown meat). During live Tarot readings performed in public venues, Parlour visitors discuss food issues shown on the cards and speculate about future food scenarios. Parlour draws on the premise that food and related critical discussions should be available to everyone. The project experiments with participatory speculations beyond the limited realm of professional designers.

Parlour of Food Futures

Marketa Dolejsova

This speculative design project is a self-initiated project. By redesigning the experience of the church and the use that we make of ancient artefacts, I intend to question what we are seeking through faith, and the way we can bring back the values that are common to all religions that seem to be forgotten. The church becomes a space for civic action and communal moments, where they are kept non-commercial and Inclusive, in their silence and majesty. Different rituals and ceremonies will be shaped around this new religion and this movement will lead society to unite through food.

Holy Food

Anna Luz

“Score Everyone” is a critical vision of a future where ordinary citizens of free world countries are manipulated by political powers who abuse access to large, private data sets. It began with two real cases of Cambridge Analytica scandal and Chinese Social Credit System, proposed a speculative future that free world countries are entering the post-privacy age, people’s behaviour and lifestyle are shaped based on personal data analyses, the transaction of “personal self” and “data self”. It lands the theme in a story composed of relatable human experiences within the system, which illustrate the grassroots level effects on individuals.

Score Everyone

Peijie Gu

By July of 2028, we achieved net-zero carbon emissions. But scientists state how the Earth is still on track to being uninhabitable due to fluctuations of the climate. In order to save the human race and its advancements, countries from all parts of the globe send representatives to help establish the continent of Antarctica. Due to the warming of the planet, the Antarcian climate has become more moderate, allowing for the growth of human colonization. Although Antarctica offers a climate most-similar to “the way it used to be,” new inhabitants have an obstacle that needs to be considered: Antarctica is completely dark for six months of the year. How will we achieve a quality life without light and vision?

Living In Darkness

Noah Katrinchak

Matter of Fat is a dystopian scenario, where fat is extracted for its monetary and medical qualities. Indeed, it contains stem cells which can be grown into any kind of organs and costs on average $125 per gram. Current BioBank already proposes storage of stem cells for a lot of money. How could lower income families get access to this future and promising medical care? Inspired by the liposuction technique, a DIY extraction finds a place in modest interiors. This underground system allows fat to be treated and cryopreserved. My project relates the manner how an opportunist and ambitious person - half-medic and half-dealer - create a service for the most modest households.

Matter of Fat

Noemie Soula

ENIAC Girls: Program & Pretend is a speculative toy set to inspire young girls to learn to code. Through make-believe, girls can role-play as the historic ENIAC Girls of the 1940s — along with the history of inequity that surrounded these women. This play set, which references the aesthetics of early childhood domestic role-play, can inspire young girls to imagine themselves as future programmers — but like the women of the ENIAC, how might these girls grow up to face inequity in the field of computing?

ENIAC Girlz: Program & Pretend

Jackie Liu

Repairing Society focuses on cultivating a stronger emotional attachment between objects and human through building a 'Repair not Replace' environment. I believe this design practice could provide readers with insights to boldly speculate an alternative way of consumption and production that is opposed to the current Throw-away Society. By encouraging repairing things, it intends to create a longer relationship between objects and people and to revive our bonds with old things.

Repairing Society

Xiaodong Ma (Andy)

A team of multi-disciplinary Savannah College of Art and Design students helped the Innovation lab at GE Transportation in reimagining the future network operations center - the physical space, future roles, and responsibilities and the digital tools people will use to manage trains and networks across regions and continents. This was a unique design-led experience done by students and the represented pieces are show-casing the concept and stills of the working AR/VR experiences in the format of the poster, in addition to the promo video of captured experiences and process.

Future Network Operations - People, Spaces, and Tools

Parnaz Rad (Innovation Lab at GE transportation + SCADpro)

Pink Chicken Project suggests using a “Gene Drive” to change the colour of the entire species Gallus gallus Domesticus to pink. Being the world’s most common bird, the bones of the 60 billion chickens that are killed every year leave a distinct trace in the rock strata (the earth’s crust), a marker for the new geological age: the Anthropocene. To re-occupy this identifier of our age, the project suggests genetically modifying a chicken to create pink bones and feathers, thereby modifying the future fossil record, colouring the geological trace of humankind pink!

Pink Chicken Project

Nonhuman Nonsense

While the emerging technology of human embryos gene editing holds tremendous potential, the common narrative surrounding it is full of design babies with "aesthetic traits”, or augmented human beings with super sensing abilities. Can genetic modification instead, stimulate the possibility of incorporating more poetry into the everyday? Could features be chosen and developed, not driven by principles of optimization, but instead, by whether they let one experience the environment differently? Eka is an exercise in imagination, an alternate world, where modular organisms have "sensing organs" implanted in their bodies in ways that let them interact with their surroundings and each other in unconventional ways. Imagine sensors that bloom when the 'food' is compatible with the being's body chemistry, vaccines that introduce material that can cause sensations like pain or discomfort, and altruistic energy generators that help produce energy for others.

An eka being

Aakanksha Aggarwal

 

HONORABLE MENTION

Velli   Carly Simmons  Velli is a wearable device for family and friends to experience special moments during loved ones’ pregnancies, like a first fetal kick. Velli requires the participationof two individuals: a pregnant woman, and a loved one in a mother-to-be‘s network. The pregnant women wears a sensor patch on their belly, which tracks fetal movement. When there is a kick, the device sends a strong vibration to Velli, worn by a loved one.

Velli

Carly Simmons

Velli is a wearable device for family and friends to experience special moments during loved ones’ pregnancies, like a first fetal kick. Velli requires the participationof two individuals: a pregnant woman, and a loved one in a mother-to-be‘s network. The pregnant women wears a sensor patch on their belly, which tracks fetal movement. When there is a kick, the device sends a strong vibration to Velli, worn by a loved one.

Athena

Vanessa Jaber, Emma Waters, Paloma Ningthoujam

As technology continues to intertwine with our lives, the need for privacy protecting initiatives must be at the forefront of designing for these systems. This is Athena, a tool that exists to empower you in understanding the value of your personal data in the age of the algorithm - because an invasion of someone else's digital privacy is an invasion of yours. In the age of big data, it is critical for us to understand where our data goes, and why. Now more than ever, massive amounts of sensitive data across our connected devices are being used in ways that are often inconspicuous.

Skin Drive   Qinqin Yang  Skin Drive speculates on the possibility of DNA-digital data storage on human skin, which inquiries an alternative relationship between the human body and data storage. We imagine that due to the data overload in the year 2040, hardware-based storage is not able to support striking data growth. Therefore, people start to implant genetic altered skin organs, skins bumps that optimized for data storage, on their existing skin to archive data by taking advantage of the outstanding capacity and longevity of DNA-sequencing.

Skin Drive

Qinqin Yang

Skin Drive speculates on the possibility of DNA-digital data storage on human skin, which inquiries an alternative relationship between the human body and data storage. We imagine that due to the data overload in the year 2040, hardware-based storage is not able to support striking data growth. Therefore, people start to implant genetic altered skin organs, skins bumps that optimized for data storage, on their existing skin to archive data by taking advantage of the outstanding capacity and longevity of DNA-sequencing.

Fictional Nature

Shan Xu

Fictional Nature focuses on the role of the digital world's conflict with nature world, and in doing so disrupting both original balances across the planet.

Dust to Dust   Maxwell Chen  Our perception of how things are made and obtained has lost touch with the reality of the material itself. Dust to Dust examines home furnishings in a speculative future wherein each household is allocated a finite set of material to be infinitely reconstituted into new furniture from the remnants of the old.

Dust to Dust

Maxwell Chen

Our perception of how things are made and obtained has lost touch with the reality of the material itself. Dust to Dust examines home furnishings in a speculative future wherein each household is allocated a finite set of material to be infinitely reconstituted into new furniture from the remnants of the old.

Styroworm   Petja Ivanova  This is a design for a mobile kitchen and farm - where mealworms are fed on plastic waste and then prepared for human consumption.

Styroworm

Petja Ivanova

This is a design for a mobile kitchen and farm - where mealworms are fed on plastic waste and then prepared for human consumption.

Floracence   Lily Consuelo Saporta Tagiuri  This project is designed to question how we might contend with the material consequences of production and pollution. It calls into question anthropocentric tendencies to control and dominate and provides an alternative vision of our future in which we collaborate with plants and relinquish some of our power to other species. Unbiased by social stigmas, perhaps leaving it to the plants is the best way to insure democratic access to clean land and water.

Floracence

Lily Consuelo Saporta Tagiuri

This project is designed to question how we might contend with the material consequences of production and pollution. It calls into question anthropocentric tendencies to control and dominate and provides an alternative vision of our future in which we collaborate with plants and relinquish some of our power to other species. Unbiased by social stigmas, perhaps leaving it to the plants is the best way to insure democratic access to clean land and water.

LOOPTOPIA: LET'S PLAY AGAIN   Tsung Hsuan, Hsieh / Chia Yin, Wu  Stereotypic behaviors means some mechanistic rituals repeated by animals in captivity. We observed that many players would do something like stereotypic behaviors when waiting for the loading of a game.

LOOPTOPIA: LET'S PLAY AGAIN

Tsung Hsuan, Hsieh / Chia Yin, Wu

Stereotypic behaviors means some mechanistic rituals repeated by animals in captivity. We observed that many players would do something like stereotypic behaviors when waiting for the loading of a game.

Expur - Total Clean Skin Cream   Giuseppe Lorrai  Expur is a speculative personal care brand which markets a product that cleans the skin without the need for baths or showers. In fact, it creates a second skin that absorbs all the impurities and can be easily removed, similarly to a snake shedding its skin. It tries to make people reflect on their usage of water imagining a future where clean water has been limited to drinking and a definite number of selected activities. It also imagines a future where skin care products take advantage of digital tools to recognize the properties of the skin and make information more accessible thanks to touch screen interactions.

Expur - Total Clean Skin Cream

Giuseppe Lorrai

Expur is a speculative personal care brand which markets a product that cleans the skin without the need for baths or showers. In fact, it creates a second skin that absorbs all the impurities and can be easily removed, similarly to a snake shedding its skin. It tries to make people reflect on their usage of water imagining a future where clean water has been limited to drinking and a definite number of selected activities. It also imagines a future where skin care products take advantage of digital tools to recognize the properties of the skin and make information more accessible thanks to touch screen interactions.

Data Cuddles   Jarret Lin, Maxwell Chen  Data Cuddles is a speculative exploration into a world where we find comfort through digital cuddle cafes. It’s the idea of receiving digital affection by live-streaming through green screening and data collection. The videos recorded of people lying down act as an artificial cuddle buddy when in reality, it's a collection of private data. What does it mean to give away your data in a platform and to what extent is it considered “fine"? What are the ways in which we find entertainment through the things people do to each other? Do we really know our data value?

Data Cuddles

Jarret Lin, Maxwell Chen

Data Cuddles is a speculative exploration into a world where we find comfort through digital cuddle cafes. It’s the idea of receiving digital affection by live-streaming through green screening and data collection. The videos recorded of people lying down act as an artificial cuddle buddy when in reality, it's a collection of private data. What does it mean to give away your data in a platform and to what extent is it considered “fine"? What are the ways in which we find entertainment through the things people do to each other? Do we really know our data value?

The Elective Family Program   Gabrielle Stichweh  This project speculates a future in which family structure has been even further redefined. The American government institutes the Elective Family Program. Under this system, adults may choose to commission a child who would be grown for them in electronic wombs.

The Elective Family Program

Gabrielle Stichweh

This project speculates a future in which family structure has been even further redefined. The American government institutes the Elective Family Program. Under this system, adults may choose to commission a child who would be grown for them in electronic wombs.

StreetSauce: Edible Storytelling with Homeless Chefs   Marketa Dolejsova  StreetSauce is a collaborative experiment in edible interfaces supporting empathy with homeless women over the human sense of taste. Presented in the form of street food bistro, the project involves nine homeless women serving carrot hot dogs with data-driven sauces made from their personal life stories.

StreetSauce: Edible Storytelling with Homeless Chefs

Marketa Dolejsova

StreetSauce is a collaborative experiment in edible interfaces supporting empathy with homeless women over the human sense of taste. Presented in the form of street food bistro, the project involves nine homeless women serving carrot hot dogs with data-driven sauces made from their personal life stories.

Empathic Medication   Jutta Roth, Rasmus Bengtsson  Empathic medication is a futuristic design project, exploring the potential of Synthetic biology in the context of medication. Biotechnology is one of the fastest growing technology sectors and has the potential power to revolutionize medicine, to replace our fossil fuels and to touch any aspect of our daily lives. The possibilities of this new technology are endless; so is the human imagination.

Empathic Medication

Jutta Roth, Rasmus Bengtsson

Empathic medication is a futuristic design project, exploring the potential of Synthetic biology in the context of medication. Biotechnology is one of the fastest growing technology sectors and has the potential power to revolutionize medicine, to replace our fossil fuels and to touch any aspect of our daily lives. The possibilities of this new technology are endless; so is the human imagination.

Black Box: The Fortune-Telling Machine   Diqing Wu, Mingke Yu, Qian Zeng  "Black Box" is a machine sent back by time-traveling alien scientists that answers a question about one’s future in an edible cube—they can only receive the message by eating it. Through this experience of a fictional reality, we pose questions about the existence of fortune-telling, and the implications of fortune-telling at a time when we have a constantly strengthening power to make predictions about almost anything. The team produced the Black Box and created a participatory, performative experience to bring this fictional scenario to life.

Black Box: The Fortune-Telling Machine

Diqing Wu, Mingke Yu, Qian Zeng

"Black Box" is a machine sent back by time-traveling alien scientists that answers a question about one’s future in an edible cube—they can only receive the message by eating it. Through this experience of a fictional reality, we pose questions about the existence of fortune-telling, and the implications of fortune-telling at a time when we have a constantly strengthening power to make predictions about almost anything. The team produced the Black Box and created a participatory, performative experience to bring this fictional scenario to life.

Kindness Credit Microchip   Patrick Gilson, and Jack Ryan  The peace machine that we have designed is a kindness credit microchip. At birth, the microchip is implanted between a baby’s thumb and pointer finger. The microchip detects the person’s kind deeds and dispenses kindness credits.

Kindness Credit Microchip

Patrick Gilson, and Jack Ryan

The peace machine that we have designed is a kindness credit microchip. At birth, the microchip is implanted between a baby’s thumb and pointer finger. The microchip detects the person’s kind deeds and dispenses kindness credits.