We live like Robinson Crusoe in Michel Tournier’s satire Friday, the Other Island. After being washed ashore on an empty island, Robinson Crusoe rebuilt the socio-technical system he belonged to. As he strengthened that system, he came to find the pressure of maintaining it so burdensome that when it was destroyed, he felt freedom for the first time. The pressure to maintain our systems is so powerful that the physiological impact of that pressure lowers life expectancy for people different than Crusoe. Every method we use to study our systems adds pressure. Every design adds to that pressure. We wait, much like Crusoe, over-burdened and desperate; waiting to be rescued from ourselves. With rescue impossible, do we simply keep building pressure until Friday (thankfully) blows it all up? Perhaps we can learn Friday’s lesson without all that violence.
In this talk, I will detonate the system created when playing a board game. In doing so, I will show the mysterious agony of objects. How interdependence and association between all manner of objects constructs and maintains bounded spaces, one association at a time. How allowing non-human objects the same reverence as humans can provide new ways to think about design. Ways that - like Robinson Crusoe - feel free for the first time.