For centuries, humans from all around the world have tried to use different objects as currency. Some forms, which most people are familiar with today, have been effective catalysts for trade over thousands of years. Other currencies, from squirrel pelts to parmesan cheese, have had their time or place in human history but were ultimately unsuccessful or were made obsolete. Today, the new gold is data. By 2022, it is expected to be the world’s most valuable resource.
This imaginary scenario proposes a new monetary system - data as currency. In this future, information becomes the way to pay for goods and services. DataBank is a conceptual online banking system. Citizens give DataBank access to their emails in return for currency. When logging into the system with an email account, DataBank analyses every email for minable data. Each email is evaluated based on its total score of specific keywords and is sorted into one of three categories: + / ++ / +++. These keywords are defined by the ruling body. Users can put their most valuable emails into the savings section and lend data to or borrow data from other people. Since data can only be shared once, this would ensure that citizens stay constantly productive if they are to continue consuming.
Currently, people who refuse to share their data have limited access to the services they need. In this fictional world, refusing to share your data will lead you to a loss of access to basic needs such as food, water, health care and housing. And while this scenario slowly drifts us towards a tectonic shift, we can ponder and decide for ourselves: what personal information would we be ready to pay with and what would we refuse to reveal for any commodity? Would people be more protective of their data if it were as important as money is today? Could this system promise a more open society and lead us to global welfare?
By 2020, China plans to implement the Social Credit System. Every citizen will be given a score that, as a matter of public record, will be available for all to see. This citizen score comes from monitoring an individual’s social behaviour — from their spending habits and how regularly they pay bills to their social interactions — and it will become the basis of that person’s trustworthiness which will also be publicly ranked. Across the world, the view by governments of data is changing. They are seeing its inherent value and are creating legislation to both protect their citizens and monopolise it.
Meanwhile in Europe, General Data Protection Regulation will allow people to have more power over their own data. Companies that are currently gathering information about us will be able to neither use nor profit from it as they do now. The price of individual data will increase as it will be even more difficult to obtain. If people were to protect their own data and not let anyone use it for any purpose, governments and markets would be incapable of mining information and controlling the population. We need an ethical and/or a legislative shift; the whole of society needs to change, along with the ways in which personal data is perceived and managed.
In contemporary society we rush to live, work and earn. This makes it harder for us to focus and relax. Our productivity is suffering. Cotton Laboratory honours the tradition of spinning cotton yarn by hand. Cotton spinning is a soothing process that requires time and concentration. Just like in meditation, repetitive, rhythmic actions and different materials and weights work in a relaxing way, giving you a variety of sensations. This ritual encourages us to slow down, enjoy the process and the growth of cotton in our own homes as it becomes a tiny celebration.
The word cotton comes from the Arabic word kutun, which means high-quality fibre. Of course this is the purest truth because cotton is one of the oldest and most common of materials known to humans for almost 7,000 years. In ancient South America, dark brown dyed cotton was used as currency; in Peru, cotton thread was used for netting; and in ancient Greece and Italy, cotton fabric was used for sails.
As it is such a unique and highly versatile material, more than 30 million hectares of land have been planted with cotton, equivalent to an area larger than Italy and all its islands. This plant culture produces 20 million tonnes of material annually. It is estimated that globally each person consumes an average of 10 kg of cotton per year and these numbers are constantly increasing. Huge and disastrous quantities of forests, water and soil are used in both cultivation and processing. One cotton t-shirt requires 2600 litres of water. Industrialised regions consume about 2/3rds of the world's freshwater. Irreversible damage to nature is caused by dehydrating wetlands, rivers and lakes to provide enough water for irrigation whilst expanding the area of cotton plantations. One of the biggest ecological catastrophes occurred in Uzbekistan where the Aral Sea, its swamps and surrounding bodies of water were drained. Today the area of the Aral Sea has fallen by more than half and 95% of the surrounding swamps have been turned into an uninhabitable desert. For those countries where the cotton industry and the rice industry are adjacent to one another, there is a real danger of water scarcity in the near future. One of these countries, with 17% of the world’s population, is India.
Materials: ceramics, brass, oak.
The project was made for the organization Vyrų Fondas (Men Fund) which gives money to children with disabilities and encourages men to donate to charity, an act traditionally considered to be done more by women. The task was challenging - to design a souvenir that would be given to those who donate, which had to be made in the cheapest way possible and which would help to promote the fund. Good Things For Good Hands is a unisex set of hand care products, for hands that help others. With a contribution from different Lithuanian companies, the project was created without any budget and completed solely through donated products and services. Good Things For Good Hands was chosen as the winning project.
The set includes a linen hand towel, sheabutter hand cream and soap. All materials are 100% natural.
In collaboration with:
Vyrų Fondas Linen Tales Nimfė Supakuota.lt Kvapų Namai Greita Reklama
Indrė Srebaliūtė is a Lithuanian designer and art director researching alternative futures, constructing cultural architectures and developing social infrastructures. She is currently available for collaboration and work opportunities.
+44 7988 765423
London(Coded with love by ed lewis)