My subjunctive final project is a website advertising a fake phone application named “X-Ray Applications”. My idea for the application came to me as I was searching online for what applications were already present; I saw that there was a market for X-Ray cameras applications that only worked with specific material that had the X-Ray interiors built into them; so I took it a step forward in order to make a website designed for a hypothetical X-Ray camera that people could use on themselves. Although an impossible invention, its speculative design encourages us to look to the future of normative society. How things should be.
The subjunctive angle for the project is to expose the irony that comes with having a device that you could analyze your self with; we live in a world where we can’t self diagnose ourselves effectively because we don’t have the tools, nor the knowledge to do so. With an application such as the “X-Ray Camera” and its add-on, “X-Ray Reader”, individuals would be able to be more self reliant on themselves for analyzing their own injuries. However, there are hurdles that become apparent with radiation that could also affect peoples’ livelihood. The radiation, although an irony, is a mere obstacle that comes with the early stages of the speculative design.
In many ways the website I designed targets many areas of Dunne and Raby’s approach to A/B design. Instead of looking at what the conventional Design of what the “X-Ray Camera Application” is designed to fix, it exposes the problems of how as non-doctors, we are at the mercy of the medical industry for telling us our fate. We don’t have anything to help us do it ourselves, and we don’t have the equipment required to do so. Instead, healthcare is unaffordable for the vast majority of people in the United States, and those who can’t pay for it our out of luck. Even after finding out that you have a fracture; you still have to call the ambulance to get care.
The impossible application also asks questions of the user and of the medical field; is there a way for non-experienced people with regards to the medical industry to know how to take care of their own bodies without the assistance of someone else who they have to pay to do so. Is money the reason why the medical field is greedy? How have we come to this? Is there any way to change this?
The speculative design for the “X-Ray Application” lends itself to a normative answer to medicine and what it means to take care of one and also asks questions of the values of our everyday society. For example, the idea of money being a source of evil and greed is a system that has been put into play ever since the dawn of civilization. Money has been a driving force for education, specialization, and ultimately being dependent as consumers. But if we were to switch the narrative to looking at our consumers as citizens, we can then see the problems that money creates, and possibly a reason to change how society can operate without money. We need to realize the ethics that comes with the change from the consumer to the citizen, although the only reason a consumer exists is because the citizen exists.
The implications on my website and all of “X-Ray Applications” is for a self-reliant normative assessment of society. Although we see that the “X-Ray Camera” can’t exist, in at least today’s times, the questions that arise from my project offer new meaning to how an idealist society is; the assumptions made from the “X-Ray Camera” are impossible from a pragmatic perspective today, but makes us wonder, what if we could diagnose ourselves? How bad would it be if people could do things on their own so that they need not be reliant on someone else?
The discussion about doing things yourself, like X-Rays, reminds me of our conversation about fixing computers and how we as consumers have become complacent with the way that we can’t fix our own technology anymore. Whether it is the Macintosh Computer, iPhone, or any other device that is modern, we have unlearned how to fix things, if we ever learned them in the first place.
Everything I talked about also can be put up for debate as well as make us thinks about the way our society works as well as what society could be. Moving from the conventional to the speculative allows us to do this because of how the speculative allows us to think idealistically.
Although the website is a bit ironic and humorous, the humor and the irony is what make us think about the reasons why society is the way it is. Maybe as society progresses alongside technology we can start to make technology work for our citizens instead of making the consumers work for the technology.