As the pace of our time becomes further assimilated into the 24/7 rhythm of the digital economy, a dizzying array of apps and gadgets are designed to optimise our intimate self according to the demands of the market. From therapeutic tools for sleep, and attention- and anxiety-management, to personalised behavioural coaching; from the soothing aesthetics of ‘digital detox’ retreats, to tedious meditation reminders — design is continuously mobilised to influence our day-to-day existence.
You Will Not Be explores the destructive, as well as the restorative and therapeutic, capacities of these technologies promoted as helpful regulators of physical and mental health. Taking the directives of the digital marketplace to their extreme, the project maps onto human bodies the repetitive commands, gestures, and anxieties locked within the promises of happiness and self-fulfilment.
This performative research shows how these narratives of self-optimisation and hyper-productivity shape design practice today, and questions the notions of happiness, awareness, choice, will, and freedom that its products convey.