By Adam Peacock
‘Twerk’ was recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary, and the first Selfie-addicted man received clinical help. Observing the growing prominence of hedonism in popular culture, The Validation Junky project explores the drives and consequences resulting from the basic human need for love, validation and acceptance.
The Validation Junky is a cautionary tale of what the future might hold; where our lives and identities are continually guided by technology and where individualistic contentment becomes a focus within an increasingly competitive, over-populated social context.
The project looks at the Post Industrial Brain, and proposes a re-design of the human perception of genetic strength or attractiveness, an evolutionary pre-programmed perception that underpins many social dynamics. Whilst this perception has remained unchanged for the estimated 44,000 years that humans have been evolving, this future sees our perception matching the way we actually live in this post industrial democratised society. Athleticism and full body function might no longer necessary, particularly where the infrastructure and production of resources to maintain them are scarce.
The project also imagines the Genetics Gym, drawing from the paradigm of an urban gym; a facility that creates socially positive results with use over time to build up self esteem or manage socially inflicted anxieties. Using epigenetic technology to turn ‘on’ or ‘off’ select DNA for favourable characteristics through bespoke protein delivery systems, the Genetics Gym highlights the relationship between socially inflicted perceptions of self-worth and capitalist motivations. The project continues the ethical debate on human design, and is an example of emerging technology surfacing in urban culture.