Given the extreme developments in the fields of drones, transhumanism and experiencing life, the theme for Design Column #8 is 'Beyond the Senses'. The exhibition gave an overview on how design can make us sense things we couldn't sense before. Meanwhile the theme was explored and discussed further on www.designcolumn.nl.
We use technology to extend our influence at a distance by the use of cameras, Google Earth and drones. We also try to make technology part of our bodies as much as we can. Google has applied for a patent for a contact lens with an inbuilt photo function. A growing number of people are having chips implanted under the skin and the next step after the internet looks like being a ‘brain net’ which everyone will be plugged into. The bionic man and the cyborg are no longer futuristic concepts but present reality.
And even though technology is getting under our skin, for many people it remains an intangible phenomenon. Fewer and fewer people understand how our devices work and the feeling that we have lost control is growing. Each innovation means a new search for balance, an adjustment to our moral compass, a redefining of our humanity. Political columnist Marc Chavannes fears that in this ‘tyrannical technocracy’ in which technology is the answer to everything, standards of decency and the human scale are being overlooked. By contrast Professor Peter Paul Verbeek believes that morality and technology progress hand in hand. He argues that technology ensures that we are forced to take more responsibility, not less.
Ideas that make a difference
Every three months the Design Column focuses on a news item in the form of a small exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and subsequently at the Droog Gallery in Amsterdam. The column is a place where new ideas are made visible, where the power of imagination is given expression. Designers and artists are especially interested in experimental imagination. With their idiosyncratic vision, they see things differently and are capable of bringing about change. The Design Column creates a space for these innovative concepts.