Dunne & Raby. Not Here, Not Now, 2014
In a Z33 commissioned ‘Not Here, Not Now,’ Dunne & Raby present different interfaces for an alternative world. The interfaces belong to the digitarian world; one of the kingdoms of the United Micro Kingdoms project, characterized by neoliberalism and digital technology.
The titles of the large prints hint at the function and purpose of these interfaces in that given society. The interfaces act as portals to the digitarian world: the work as such is not so much about the interfaces themselves, nor about the actions one performs with them, but rather about the society of which they are an integral part, the world they evoke and the values and mores that make that world go round.
The United Micro Kingdoms (UmK) is divided into four super-shires inhabited by Digitarians, Bioliberals, Anarcho-evolutionists and Communo-nuclearists. Each county is an experimental zone, free to develop its own form of governance, economy and lifestyle. Digitarians depend on digital technology and all its implicit totalitarianism — tagging, metrics, total surveillance, tracking, data logging and 100% transparency. Their society is organised entirely by market forces; citizen and consumer are the same. For them, nature is there to be used up as necessary. They are governed by technocrats, or algorithms — no one is entirely sure, or even cares — as long as everything runs smoothly and people are presented with choices, even if illusionary.
Dunne & Raby are interested in how design languages used to visually represent futures can sometimes reduce and limit their potential to engage the viewer’s imagination by locating the values contained in these alternative future scenarios within very specific contemporary cultural frameworks. The images of Not Here, Not Now therefore experiment with estrangement, ambiguity and openness. They explore how different layers of realism are conceptualized, crafted, presented and perceived.