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Lost Values


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.

John Grant
g.o. green farm shop

Middlefield Farm, Forres, IV36 3TN (Scotland)
+44 (0)7838 162648

Rinaldo Dematteis Collucia
Amoroma Taverna

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