encouraging rural modern life through the
use of 'slow' technologies
Costas Bissas, Tomoko Hayashi
Modern technology often seems out of place in
rural and remote areas, clashing with the natural surroundings and
local traditions. Inspired by the "slow food" movement, the
neuromantic project suggests that design can offer alternatives
that reinforce and encourage rural modern life through the use of new
technologies, without altering the authenticity of the environment,
local resources and uniqueness.
Like "slow food", "slow technology" isn't necessarily slow in
speed. Instead the term "slow" is meant as a reaction the type of
design that led to phenomena like "fast food", which emphasises the
speed, efficiency and global consistency of an experience that is
otherwise quite robotic and impersonal. "Slow" refers to a way of
designing experiences that focus on quality, locality, tradition, and
humanity. Distraction should be minimized, and immersion maximized.
The title of this project, neuromantic, alludes the goal of
enabling a "new romantic connectedness" to reinforce customs and
lifestyles in rural areas in these modern digital times through the
introduction of "slow" technologies. We are exploring this space
gradually by generating new ideas and frameworks, engaging in studies
and experiments in the field, and building working prototypes of new
technologies that could inspire new products and services.
The first stage of the project focusses on the experience of
dining, with the aim of connecting restaurant visitors to the place
of production of their locally grown and produced meals.
Working with John Grant of g.o. green farm shop, a local
organic vegetable producer, and Rinaldo Dematteis Collucia, chef and
owner of Amoroma Taverna who uses John's produce, we explored
how to provide information to restaurant visitors about the
environment and origin of the ingredients of their meals, as well as
the effort that was required for these ingredients to reach their
final state on the dining plate.
Binaural audio recordings of John gathering his crops and
interacting with visitors were played back through his own produce,
allowing the audience to immerse themselves into his shoes. Images of
his farm were projected under the dining plates. Turning the plates
allowed the diner to gain a sense for the direction and distance of
the places where the raw ingredients were gathered.
Both John and Rinaldo were interviewed for research purposes over
the course of the project. Click
here for a map describing the locations of John and Rinaldo's
businesses in relation to Distance Lab's studios in Forres, Scotland.
g.o. green farm shop
Middlefield Farm, Forres, IV36
+44 (0)7838 162648
Rinaldo Dematteis Collucia
98 High Street, Forres, IV36 1NX (Scotland)
+44 (0)1309 696920
Extending on the notion of immersion, we created Cow-Cam.tv to immerse city-dwelling viewers into the life of a cow in the Scottish countryside. The project offers an answer to the questions of what a cow does all day, how does it view its world and what really matters to it... Video was recorded with custom-built cameras mounted in two different positions, one on the head and the other on the back of a 14 year old Highland cow named Grace. A future version of Cow-Cam will offer live internet video streaming.
An earlier neuromantic experiment explored how to block out
the distraction of digital screens in urban environments. A pair of
goggles with special adjustable optical components allowed the images
projected from such screens to be filtered out of sight.
High resolution project images