…is uncertain. Though, we love thinking about it as either utopian or dystopian, the same way tomorrow always turns into today the minute it comes, the minute future approaches it becomes fluid. We wanted to look at the frictions we see now and amplify them to explore.
Our governments have decided that the best way to move forward is to completely rethink systems from the past, and deemed technology as the best solution. Objects have become as efficient and refined as progress allows them to, simplifying life and solving problems that we did not even know we had.
Space is maximised through furniture and layouts that merge multiple living spaces into one. A respectable household should be polished and functional to remind us of the ideals that push us forward. Every user experience is optimised to be as seamless as possible. If action requires more than one touch - the design is considered ancient.
We focus on sustaining our existence. Everything old and dysfunctional is recycled so brave new things can be birthed into the lifetimes of usage. Genetically optimised for oxygen production, trees grow all around skyscrapers and capsule-housing, wild ivy follows the metal grid of buildings, though there are no wild plants for decades. We scare our children with stories about dark woods. They are not scared, we cultured and tamed everything.
If you follow the rules, your life has no friction. The rules are simple: basic income and the money that you may earn yourself are divided into different categories. The biggest part is there to spend on your rent or mortgage, food and healthcare. The rest of the money flows into self improvement and happiness categories such as studying, changing your appearance, exercising or consuming content.
You don’t need a new haircut if you can barely afford rent! You don’t need to get higher education yet, if it will put you in debt! The government knows very well what’s best for us. By monitoring everything they allow us to live lives to the fullest potential.
But in a world where everything has become mechanised and monitored, it is predictable that some seek the safety of the past. Nostalgia is something familiar, unlike the future. These people say that all the characteristics that make humans human, have been replaced with perfection. There is no longer any mess, any disorder, or any one thing that shows the trace of mankind. We have created a world where machines serve us and erase us all at the same time… they say.
Separated from each other in capsule apartment blocks and cubicles of working zones, they dream of the early 2010s, where the fragility of humankind was blatantly ignored, where people fended for themselves, died in debt and burned their salaries in bars. Those dreamers don’t want the ugliness and wilderness of the past, but they desperately seek the mess.
There are exhibitions held, where you can smell the cold beer spilled over the streets near bars, piles of unsorted garbage left around bins to rot or smooth wooden tables, which are a rarity nowadays.
If you are one of those dreamers, there are ways to experience the mess. There are ways to follow the mess, but how far are you ready to go? Loading extensions from shady sites looking for illegal web-graffiti? Disappearing into the rare dark alleys to find vintage paper advertisements and stickers on the walls? Getting invitations to private group chats where messages disappear as soon as they are sent?
If so, if you are lucky and determined enough, mess might let you inside, consume you and allow you to enjoy short breath of dry air, not purified and humidified by the streets.
It is an underground trade of objects that remind us of the older times, when times were simple and dysfunctional. Vintage clothes that were not recycled, old lamps and furniture not optimizable for our smart homes, tattoo booths, where actual people do the job and not the machines. All the relics of the past capable of giving us the unmatchable feeling that reminds of the times led by trials and errors.
It also allows us to spend money on whatever we want to. The Market is fully offline, chaotic in shape, but organised really well in practice, is moving from one place to another, constantly changing products and services they provide. No one knows who started it, but everyone agrees that It is the essence of our rebellious existence.
Unpolished, random, entangled with everyone and everything, easily seduced humans don't really work well for absolute maximisation of experience. All human-machine interaction is a point of friction. We fail, misuse and sometimes find joy in complete lack of functionality. And the more power the slickness has to enforce itself, the more creative mess gets - the faster Market flees.
People want nostalgia. We are tired of spending money wisely and seamlessly. The makers of The Market remade a coin system. I suppose, deriving idea from the old-fashioned cash money. You can upload your money on the coins and pay using them in the stores. The coins can be seen by your bank as whatever category you want, and in this way you are able to go outside the grid. Transactions an also be made via paper money, that allow you to experience the messiness of carrying a banknote around instead of your chipped finger tips. We even buy wallets here!
And, though, sooner or later we need to come back to the present, time never truly breaks into separate blocks. And we keep thinking - what the past could bring in a present that looks only forward?