Time to rethink the ridiculous neoliberal world we live in

Time travel has long been a common theme in science fiction and mythology. Putting any point of view and any social form in the coordinate system of time reveals a fluidity in all seemingly stable concepts. I am very interested in the impact of the concept of time on the evolution of society, so I chose Topic 1.

We are living in an era of chaos inherited from the neoliberal ideology of the 1970s and 1980s. Neoliberalism was so powerful that for the next half century people’s ideology and social form were firmly fixed within the framework of neoliberalism. The purpose of people’s existence became a shopping list, and all social structures were designed around this theme. But behind people’s massive consumption, the earth is gradually becoming a giant landfill. Along with the massive consumption of energy, various climate, and environmental pollution problems are becoming more and more serious.

Not surprisingly, such problems cannot be solved under the framework of neoliberalism. The group and I designed a simple design fiction to explore the social patterns that push energy and environmental issues to extremes, and to satirize the policy inaction of today’s governments while promoting the concept of “sustainable development”.

Inspired by the Matrix, I propose a future world where energy crystals are used as currency, as fossil energy is depleted and volcanic eruptions prevent sunlight from reaching the ground. In such a world, the government is strongly developing “sustainable energy”: the poor. By converting their physical strength into energy crystals, the poor are supplied to the rich for their extravagant energy-consuming activities. This concept was agreed upon and further developed by the group. Finally, we used simple materials to make a power generation device with human-machine interface and a device for using energy crystals.

I continued the theme of “sustainable energy” in the subsequent concept design. During the group discussion, I came up with two interesting projects:

The first project was a Monopoly game with an environmental theme. Different players get different character and social class cards at the beginning of the game and make money by buying and purchasing land and building factories on it. Unlike traditional Monopoly games, the factories built by players can pollute the adjacent land and water sources, devaluing other players’ land and property. Also, players can spend money to control the media. In total, I conceived more than ten rules to enrich the background of the Monopoly world.

The second project I conceived was a job fair organized by time travelers. An energy company from the future that is on the verge of bankruptcy wants to change the public perception of environmental protection by sending a group of employees back in time to organize a job fair to recruit a large number of employees to control the media and promote the advantages of traditional energy sources. In this way, the company hopes to change the world line.

Both of these projects are still in the conceptual stage. I think that through design fiction or speculative design, the audience can reflect on the consumerist world they live in. In this way, I want to make the audience think about the nature of today’s social structure and the long-term effects of this social structure on the future development of humanity.