Sensory Tattoo Project


The Innovative Conceptual Design Project That Begins The Discussion On The Future Of Urban Life – da:lab & CNCREATE

I need to go through them everyday.
Roughness, destruction, control,
Who designed me for this?
Imagine, you could navigate like a bat.
Totally free, floating through the mass,
Guided by a sixth sense.
That way I would remain myself.

Urban centers in developing and emerging economies have been pursuing initiatives to transform into ‘Smart Cities’. The fundamental driver for this change is fast-growing urbanization. Today 54% of the world’s population is currently living in urban areas, up from 30% in the 1950s. At this rate, 66% of the world’s population is forecast to live in urban areas by 2050.

This has led municipal leaders to attempt to reconstruct megacities by leveraging digital technologies. These ambitious plans include integrating 3rd Platform Technologies – a combination of mobility, cloud, analytics, and social media – into the current city framework to reach their ultimate objectives.

This led da:lab – a debate driven design laboratory, founded to create innovative conceptual design projects – to conceive a project that would visualize some of these ideas. Together with REED Photographic they formed a creative collaboration and produced a series of stunning artistic visuals to initiate this discussion.

The project set out to look at current and future scenarios about the state of society in the not too distant future. The results were the Sensory Tattoo Project: An exploration of an extra-sensory conceptual tattoo that integrates directly into our bodies natural senses, helping the city become a living, breathing part of us.

The explosion of the sharing economy, i.e. apps such as Mobike, has created an abundance of data about how humans actually travel within our urban environment. All the information collected can help urban planners to construct pedestrian-friendly cities, with this data being fed into our personal devices to help us traverse the cityscape without even thinking.

TV shows such as Black Mirror have already looked into a near future world, where people have devices embedded inside them that connects into an overarching network, helping us to remember information, and leading us to abdicate responsibility for things a computer can do better.

The final piece is how will this all link together? Will we go beyond Google Glass AR technology and have a tattoo imprinted onto us, connecting directly to our major senses, and using this as a ‘device’ to tap into a wider network of services to help us communicate and travel around?

The Sensory Tattoo Project feeds into a number of related technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), connectivity platforms, robotics, industry applications, edge computing technology, and advanced security. How will individuals manage in ever-growing megacities such as Shanghai, where the level of sensory overload can become more confusing and less related to the traditional human experience?

CNCREATE in collaboration with da:lab is inviting the public to explore these future scenarios in a discussion about interdisciplinary design concepts, aimed at generating comment and debate around some major issues that could affect us all. Together with 5:IT Events we are giving the public a chance to come together and participate in an open discussion about the future of urban life.

On Sunday, March 12th starting at 4pm you are invited to join a panel of experts to discuss the influence technology will have on our cities in future. A selection of the photographs from this project will be exhibited, as well as a chance for you to have a photo taken with the sensory tattoo mapped on your body.

Speakers will include:

  • Robert Lamb, from designaffairs, discussing the ideas behind the Sensory Tattoo Project
  • Anthony Reed, from REED Photographic, discussing the creative process that led to the photography
  • Miao Mengna, co-founder of Bumie Technology, and a former architect discussing the future of AR & architecture.
Photography credits: REED Photographic

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