Anthropomorphone - Design for the Displaced
WILSON celebrates the smartphone as a generator for digital belonging.
In our digital and nomadic lives, the sense of belonging became ephemeral and placeless. One can argue that ubiquitous social media and smartphones are part of the problem of eroding ‘the home’, but at the same time I see it as part of the solution. We should reevaluate our understanding of belonging. We are not dis-placed anymore, but rather hyper-placed.
The 'homo digitalis' organizes their social and professional lives around the internet, around their smartphones. For them a sense of home or belonging shifted from the physical to the virtual realm, connecting themselves to digital tribes of like-minded.
In our digitalized worlds we are still physical entities though, with the need of a physical sense of belonging. Wilson can be considered as a physical manifestation of this virtual belonging. The belonging to a digital tribe. Wilson functions as a modern totem pole, vertically stacked shapes symbolizing the cultural attitudes of a digital tribe. A physical anchor in a virtual space, a companion as a threshold between the physical and the digital.
Through an AI personal assistant (like an advanced Siri or Alexa) it connects you to your digital tribe, telling and sharing the tribes’ narratives. Stories of travel and meetings and stories of a shared future or past experiences. But Wilson also shares up-to-date news of the tribe and tells you ways to get involved in talking about the tribes' issues.
Commissioned by FRAME Magazine and published in issue #120 (Jan 2018)