Design, death and energy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press (MIT Press)
© 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Reason for embargo
Under embargo until 3 July 2018 in compliance with publisher policy
The paper examines two works by the design partnership Augur-Loizeau, the ‘Afterlife’ project and ‘Carniverous Domestic Entertainment Robots’. Understood as critical and speculative designs, these are used to throw light onto some of the prevailing differences in western conceptions of human and nonhuman death. On the one hand, these designs, taken separately, allow us to ask ‘interesting questions’ about, for example, the relationship between energy scarcity and entertainment, or the difference between human organ versus human energy donation, and the institutional, regulatory and ethical issues that might arise around this distinction. On the other hand, taken together, these designs reproduce and reinforce western understandings of the differences between human subjects and animal objects. However, the paper also develops an argument that the comparison between – and especially the ‘crossing-over of elements of’ the ‘Afterlife’ project and ‘Carniverous Domestic Entertainment Robots’ can heuristically facilitate speculation on the blurring and transformation of human/animal divides. In the process a number of speculations are put forward which draw upon, link into, and affect, social scientific accounts of, for instance, posthumanism and neoliberalism.
Vol. 34 (1), pp. 15-28