Different views on well-being
︎︎︎ HILLA PELTOLA & JOELLE SLOOTJES / SOCIETY
For a greater good
A fairytale with a remote control“For people and country, for a greater good,” she parroted while watching the king’s speech frombackstage. She knew exactly what he would say, after all, she had written the speech herself. Despiteher nerves for the day, she was proud of what they had achieved and that everything went exactly asplanned. Many people experienced the king as a myth, a fairytale that is both one of the people butalso radiates monarchy. She knew better, it was a fairytale that would explode if the government didnot have the remote control in hands.
As a creative freelancer, she was asked to write his speeches a year ago. An opportunity that sheseized with both hands to support the current policy. After the outbreak of the pandemic 10 yearsago, work in the creative market increasingly came to a standstill. The government did not see theusefulness of the creative sector as its top priority and cut back the entire creative market (2). Themoney was needed more for health care and education. Something she recognized herself, it was agood policy. The talents of creatives are now used for a bigger purpose than art or entertainment.They are used to make policy and convey it correctly. What a honor that she could support thegovernment with her talents.
Psychological reliability is a mustThe royal speeches she writes, are mainly about cutting back on technological innovations andinvesting in a circular way of doing business. Most of the technological innovations focus on aninsatiable hunger for growth, today’s high tech is tomorrow’s low tech. These innovations also usedyour psychology against you which lead to loneliness, polarization and individualism. Thegovernment intervened, and new innovations were checked on psychological reliability. New rulesfor maintaining your digital privacy were also imposed and companies had to open up to thegovernment about the data they collect. She didn’t mind that the government controlled technologyto focus more on the well-being of the people. It did cause more problems before then that it solved.This was also something she experienced herself.
Five years ago the growing technology and media gave her enormous pressure to perform, for whichshe was even prescribed drugs. These drugs also turned out to be high-tech developed and were
polluting the environment. By now it was the saddest thing she could think of. Affluent techcountries polluting the earth by making high tech medicines because the increasing technologymakes the people so unhappy. It is therefore a good thing that the government has put a stop to this.
Climate change and its consequences still seem difficult to solve. Many companies are aiming forshort-term profit, making a lot of money, instead of long-term profit, more well-being for people. Toguide companies to long-term profit, the government is setting up a national institute of nature.Positive change for mother earth needs to come from above to improve societal change for theenvironment. She also felt that this was the only way to comply with the climate agreement made inParis.
the long-term profit of well-being
As a citizen, she also feels the responsibility to strive for change. Next week, the birth strike wastaking place in the city and she was thinking about participating. She had her doubts about havingchildren for years now. You don’t want your children to grow up in a world full of environmentalissues and more children on the earth don’t do any good to climate change. She would discuss it withher book club tonight. Every first Monday of the month, she and her friends meet up to discuss abook. This way we keep each other informed about our search for what is important to bemeaningful in life. It’s nice to be able to share information, get inspired and discuss how to give focusto the right things. The vulnerability makes her feel more connected to others than what she everexperienced before and it made her conscious about her direction in life.
Waving her colleagues goodbye she looks forward to what the evening will bring her. Closing thedoor of her office she walks into an inspiring evening.
ConclusionThe strength of AFW lies in its flexibility to be innovative and therefore groundbreaking compared tothe established fashion system. AFW wants to redefine the definition of fashion by not only showingfashion but also exhibiting art, music and design. This redefining of what is important, seems like aperfect fit for this scenario as well. People are looking for what is important to them to bringdirection and focus into their lives. This makes them constantly redefine what is valuable in theireyes. Thanks to the innovative perspective that AFW has on fashion, it can contribute to this searchfor meaning. By using technology such as ‘Human Design’ that takes human psychology into account,you as an organization can create a personal blueprint of a visitor. This way you can offerpersonalized information to recommend interesting spots and eye-openers that are valuable to thepersonal search of this person. To avoid mistrust AFW must be transparent in what they do with thedata they collect.
Sustainability and circularity are central in this scenario. People find it important to strive forprogress for both and AFW must move along with that. It is an opportunity that AFW should seize toset an example for the entire Dutch fashion industry. By communicating openly about how to movingstep by step towards a more sustainable fashion system and event, AFW shows vulnerability whatcreates more connection between people.
SYMBIOSISSara took off her HTC Vive 5 and disengaged from VR. Nice, she thought, the interaction was startingto feel intuitive. She stamped the prototype with her code to prevent unauthorised alterations, sentit to her colleague in Argentina and logged out from Phoenix, a virtual workspace for creativefreelancers. She had been working long today but the microdose of psilocybin, the active ingredientof magic mushrooms, had made her feel more energetic than usual and her creativity had been just flowing out.
It was getting dark outside of her studio and the biodynamic lighting in her apartment hadstarted to brighten up, making her day longer by imitating the natural circadian rhythm ofhumans. It was difficult for her still to imagine how she had ever managed the dark wintermonths without this. Hmm, the light is adjusted a bit lower today, she noticed, I guess the chipin my hand is reading that I need extra rest today.
She loved her chip, it was her gateway connection to the space around her. It’s like her apartmentwas a tiny bubble, her own ecosystem and she was a natural part of an automated symbiosis. Shedreamed about affording a brain implant one day that could heighten her senses, so that she could have an enhanced human experience and feel truly alive. But for now, the chip was herunique identification method, stored her medical records but more importantly told her how she was feeling even before she did and the AI encodedapartment responded accordingly. And now, apparently, she needed tea.
CONNECTED AND EMPOWERED She picked up her tea from the kitchen counter, waved her hand to reveal a screen on the wall andchecked the energy status. She grimaced. The solar panels assigned to her studio hadn’t producedenough energy to cover her today’s work streak but more had been distributed from her neighboursand deducted from her energy account. Could be worse, she thought and waved her hand again tochange the screen to show the latest thought-piece from her favourite columnist. Oh, so this is reallybecoming a thing, she thought looking at the screen and decided to save the clip for later. It wasabout whether or not Amsterdam should become an autonomous district of the Netherlands.
Usually, Sara felt empowered to live in this city. After the pandemic, the citizens had feltoppressed by their government and had demanded a bigger reform that served truly theirdemocratic needs, a movement that had become prevalent across EU.
Political reform had accelerated the city’s growth in both public and private sector andinfrastructure, making it even more appealing to internationals. Start-up scene had exploded withnew services making the city greener and the opinions of the citizens were collected through a micro voting app Elect. She had been all for more power to the people but lately she had noticed anemerging divide in the country because of the highly international status of Amsterdam. As anexpat, she wasn’t sure what to think of this. Like she wasn’t sure how to feel about the drones anymore.
SAFE IN THE BUBBLE For Sara, the outside world had started to feel ominous after the humming sound of drones hadbecome a part of the city’s soundscape. She had voted “yes” for the aerial surveillance, thinking itwould make the city safer. But she wasn’t sure about it anymore, why there need to be so many? She had started to doubt how qualified she was making these far reaching decisions and last timeshe had even decided not to exercise her right to vote, fearing she would get it wrong.
Luckily, she didn’t need to go out much. She sipped her tea, sat down in the corner amidst her plantsand closed her eyes. She started to feel the air around her getting warmer and a faint smell oflavender starting to spread to her apartment from her diffuser. I have everything I need here, she mumbled, connected within me and outside of me.
CONCLUSION AFW is smaller and newer than several other fashion weeks, so it’s flexible and capable ofembracing new approaches quickly. Right now they’re not embracing technological innovation thatmuch, but they have a big opportunity here to lead the way and create a new automated,ecosystem based concept that brings together designers, retailers and consumers in a fullytransparent way. They need to be careful how the data is being used, and I would see thatimplementing blockchain technology (a time-stamped series of unchangeable data that is managedby a cluster of computers, not owned by any single entity) is a natural answer for this. This can beexpensive but collaborating with a start-up to create a-proof of-concept could be a start.
Divide in the political climate can bring instability and they need to make a decision how theywant to position themselves. AFW now is a platform for mainly Dutch designers, but in thisscenario, because of the changing nature of Amsterdam, they would need to start focusing a diverse set of Amsterdam-based designers or change their name to Dutch Fashion Week to avoidconfusion or even backslash.