Research Portfolio Emma Dorsett

Experiment 1: Nostalgia

Experiment 1 explored the concept of nostalgia and our obsession with the past. The themes of Brexit and independence were heavily involved in this experiment. I made the decision to base my exhibition around the idea of independence, and how it’s easy to think the grass is always greener on the other side.

In the first seminar, we were split into groups to discuss the readings and the first experiment. To start with, my group were a little unsure of what was expected of us, as the format seemed alien to us. Once we wrapped our heads around the basic concept, we started coming up with some ideas, and decided to work together on this project.

After leaving the seminar, our group split up and we each worked on our own. This was the easier option, as we had no time to meet up again and develop our ideas.

My first blog post played on this idea and set the scene for what my exhibition would be about.


Blog Post from 20th September:


It is indisputable that the idea of independence is a reason why many voted in favour of Brexit. The concept of ridding ourselves of the influence of other countries and trying to make it on our own was a prevalent argument throughout the debate.

This led me to speculate over what Britain would actually be like if it was totally independent, and had always been independent. Where would we be now?

Items that seem to be quintessentially British, suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

How about Jack Wills? A brand that states on its own website that it produces

‘British heritage-inspired wares of the highest quality to the wardrobes of a spirited and inspired youth, epitomising what it is to be British, irreverent and carefree.’ (Jack Wills)

A brand that is, in fact, produced in China. So, does that make it less British?

What about our humble cup of tea? Although it may seem like a very British thing to drink, it originated Asia many years ago. Does that make tea less British?

I am aware that leaving the EU will not mean we stop drinking tea! But I want to explore how the world works together and that, maybe, complete independence leaves a potential for missed opportunity.

So, how to put all of this into an exhibition…

My initial idea would be to provide the audience/guests with a variety of hotchpotch nostalgic reminders – things that bring them comfort and remind them of a simpler time. Some of these items would be shown to them or given to them, TV clips and music would be played, sounds and smells may also be included to evoke an emotional response.

Once the guests are suitably content, things would begin to change. Items that have any influences outside of Britain would be taken away, broken, or turned off etc. The cycle would occur over, and over; just as soon as one item is offered, it might be taken away again, thus creating a confused state.

The idea would aim to lull the audience into a false sense of security, only to later make them feel a sense of loss and discomfort; make them question what it actually means to be British. Make them think.

This is a very sketchy idea for the minute, and I haven’t yet worked out how each element of the exhibition might work. This is, however, an overall feeling that has the potential to mirror that of Ballard’s work.


I receive a couple of comments in response to my first post. They are as follows:

Comment - 05043105 - October 2, 2016 AT 11:55 AM

One point about Brexit is that many people voted by emotion and taking a leap (backwards?) into the unknown. Isolationism helped both the US and Japan regain and rebuild their countries – Japan for example has an incredible heritage that is solid today.

Love the idea of nostalgic reminders (perhaps enter through the gift shop!). What makes us British is that we queue… even in the rain if the bus stop/shelter is half empty. There must be a queue somewhere!

Reply - Emma Dorsett - October 2, 2016 AT 5:53 PM

I agree! It’s very much a leap of faith, and I guess only time will tell whether that leap is, indeed, backwards.

I love the idea of a queue! Perhaps the queue could lead nowhere; it could simply be an empty request for people to wait for nothing. This may add to the confusion and unrest among the audience.

Comment - Rob Coley - October 1, 2016 AT 9:37 AM

Hi Emma,

This is a good start. You intimate that your exhibition might arrange material that maps an expanded ‘Britain’ as brand, found something in the relation between its imperialist history and globalized present. One way to develop this further would be to think about what ‘structure of feeling’ is evoked by brands that trade on imagined Britishness and cultural cliches (take a look at the Hatherley piece again: The radically different structure of feeling in Ballard’s writing might offer ways to explode, intensify, or otherwise rework what is supposedly ‘quintessentially British’ about this material.

Reply - Emma Dorsett - October 2, 2016 AT 5:55 PM

Thanks Rob. I’ll have another read and see where it takes me.

I took both of these comments on board and used them to help develop my idea. This lead me to speculate some more and post my final ideas in another blog post.


Blog Post from 4th October:


Owen Hatherley refers to Britain feeling ‘as if parts of the country began to resemble a strange, dreamlike reconstruction of the 1940s and 1950s, reassembled in the wrong order’ (Hatherley, 2015, 4). Hatherley points out that we are attempting to draw parallels with a post-war era. This resulted in an unnerving feeling of not fully living in the present, and an important point which I would like the exhibition to use to its advantage.

Firstly, the era of the 1940s and 1950s, as it marked a time of austerity for Britain, seems to be a significant time in which the public feel they can relate to. For this reason, I would like to include 1940s and 1950s photographs and videos throughout the exhibition. There will be no order or structure to these; as Hatherley states, it will be as though it’s been ‘reassembled in the wrong order’ (Hatherley, 2015, 4). The black and white form these photos and videos will take, will act as a stark contrast to everything else in the room. The aim of this would be to show the relationship between the two austerity periods, but also to evoke a nostalgic response that, for the majority, is ‘not based on lived experience’ (Hatherley, 2015, 18).

Secondly, Hatherley describes this imagery as ‘dreamlike’ (2016, 4) and I think this could play an important role in the exhibition. The whole exhibition could feel like a dream or a nightmare. The exhibition would create an imaginary world; although the items come from the real world, the way they are put together would feel like a disjointed dream. Just as in Ballard’s Atrocity Exhibition (1970), the exhibition would lack a linear structure and the audience might ‘find themselves daunted by the unfamiliar narrative structure’ (Ballard, 1970, vi). This would create a slightly uncomfortable feeling among the audience.

On my last post, which outlined the aim of my exhibition drawing on what is quintessentially British, someone suggested the idea of a queue as part of the exhibition. This stereotypically British concept of queuing and having to remain patient is reflective of what Hatherley suggests, as a ‘yearning for an actual or imaginary English patrician attitude of stiff upper lips and middling through’ (Hatherley, 2015, 21). To put this idea into reality, I propose that between each room there is a sign that says “Please wait”. It will be a test to see just how patient we can be. Who will wait and who will just walk into the next room? Again, the frustration of being asked to wait, but no sign of an end would add to the confusion.

In Ballard’s interview about the Atrocity Exhibition (1970) he stated that ‘everything to Traven, the world, seemed coded, everything had to be sort of decrypted on the psychological plane’ (2006). This idea of creating underlying meanings and messages will be used in the exhibition, to make the audience think there is more than first meets the eye. In reference to my past post, the audience would not be told why non-British items are taken away, they would gradually gather that understanding for themselves by looking for hints and clues; creating an interactive exhibition.

Experiment 2: The Future

Experiment 2 was about the disappearance of our future, and an overwhelming feeling of a lack of progression. It asked us to diagnose the symptoms of ‘a present infected by a moribund future’ (see Experiment 2 brief). We reflected on times when the possibilities of the future seemed endless.

Take the architectural photographs of Julius Shulman, for example. His involvement in the Case Study House program in the 1940s presented a dramatic alternative for the American people. And although the project failed, it could be said to represent a time of experimentation within the architectural community; a time when they were trying to develop a future. (Pardo and Redstone, 2014, 70).

This experimentation within architecture, as well as many other areas, seems to have lost its momentum. As in the previous experiment, we seem content with not moving forward and fixated on the past. We have lost our ambition for the future.

At the very beginning of this experiment, we were split into groups and given a text to read. My group contained Sam Dos Santos, Stuart Armsworth, Jacob Green and me, and we were given Normal: Book 1 (2016) by Warren Ellis to read.

The text is a fictional piece that follows the story of a man called Adam Dearden, as he is admitted to a medical institution for a technology related addiction. I found the text a very interesting read and could see parallels with our own reality.

Please see my original blog post, below, for my initial thoughts on the text.


Blog Post from 9th October:


Warren Ellis’ book Normal (2016) has been released in four parts and are, initially, only available to read digitally. The releases are accompanied by engagement over twitter and the option of a virtual book club (Locke, 2016).

‘by engaging on a digital devise, readers are relying on the very technologies that prompted the characters’ mental breakdowns – a juxtaposition that Ellis intended.’ (Locke, 2016)

This very poignant quote suggests that Ellis didn’t want his reader to escape from technology. Though this format presents many benefits for interaction and engagement with his audience, it is also a clever comment on how much technology has infiltrated our everyday lives.

The protagonist, Adam, suffers from a case of ‘abyss gaze’ (Ellis, 2016, 10). An illness that appears to affect people who work with technology, trying to develop and predict the future. The illness manifests itself once a person realises the the abysmal state of the future, ultimately resulting in depression-like symptoms.

Once Adam has a nervous breakdown, he is taken to Normal Head, a place that acts as a rehabilitation centre for people, like Adam, who have developed an addiction to technology (a concept that isn’t that unimaginable in our own reality).

On page one, a woman brandishes a toothbrush at a nurse, demanding that she “hand[s] over the entire internet now” (Ellis, 2016, 1) and makes accusation that she’s being kept in terrible conditions, simply because she hasn’t “seen a picture of a cat in six weeks” (Ellis, 2016, 1). At first, this appears to be an attempt at humour, but I think what Ellis is actually trying to do is comment on just how much we rely on technology, and actually, how lost we all might feel without those extensions of ourselves.

There are references to technology throughout the excerpt. What Adam sees and thinks is often interpreted in relation to technology. He views the clothing of another person in terms of its interaction with technology, he is constantly looking for network points, and he uses terms to describe himself that would be more appropriate for describing a computer. Adam is addicted and he cannot escape, but neither can we.

Adam’s room contains very little and, due to its lack of tech, and he describes it as being ‘as close to sensory deprivation as he’d experienced since…when? Childhood?’ (Ellis, 2016, 20). This is not the first time Adam thinks back to his childhood, and it’s clear that he remembers it as a simpler time that’s not infected with thoughts of the future.

The Experiment 2 brief states that we should explore a ‘present infected by a moribund future’ (see Experiment 2 brief). Ellis perfectly encapsulates this idea within his work. Ellis’ novel revolves around the concept of people being unable to cope with what the future looks like, and having to be sectioned.

Adam describes a friend who ran away, leaving a note that stated “I’m returning to the cycle of nature while I still can. I don’t want to see the end of the future” (Ellis, 2016, 4). His friend couldn’t cope with what he knew and was hyperaware of the fact time is running out.

A significant parallel can be drawn with our own situation; one where global warming, the running out of fossil fuels and the threat of terrorism seems to threaten our very own future. If we don’t find an answer and try to make some progress, then it won’t be long until we’re running out of time ourselves.


The following week the groups were mixed up to discuss the different text we had read, with the aim of gaining a clear overview of all the apparatus. After this, I was still a little cloudy on some of the apparatus, so chose to read through them all over the course of the next week.

My group then decided to meet up to discuss things the direction we wanted to take with this experiment. Unfortunately, only Stuart and I could make it, but we still decided to meet up and develop some ideas anyway. We then posted our discussion on the blog so that the rest of our group could see.

We decided that we wanted to make the report sound as much like a traditional medical report as possible. We researched what kind of information a traditional medical report would contain, and then went from there.


Blog Post from 19th October:


Initial thoughts on the content of our report:

• Personal Details

• Information such as, name, D.O.B.

• Observation Checklist

• Examples:

• Do you feel self-conscious about your online activities?

• Do you fear that robots will take over the world?

• Are you attached to technology too much?

• etc.

• Outline of condition

• Brief description of subject’s condition.

• Admission Notes

• I.e. where the subject was found, how did they get her etc

• Symptoms and Observations

• List of symptoms

• Recommendations

This needs more padding out as a team.

Blog Post from 19th October:


Plan for Ellis group:

• Emma – Put together initial report wording (but we still need everyone’s input)

• Stuart – Set up the report format

• Sam – Create buzzfeed-style video content for report and extract audio

• Jacob – Selection of imagery to be included throughout the report (Tumblr-esque???)

Stuart requires all the content to him by 10am on Sunday, so he is able to put it all together. We can still make amendments, but as long as all the main content has been gathered by then.

Stuart will aim to get a draft out on Sunday afternoon for us to review. Any amendments can then be made the following day.

Let us know your thoughts on the above. Everything’s flexible.


It was at this point that I began putting together the initial report outline, with the intention of developing it further with help from the rest of my group. I took a lot of inspiration from Ellis’ Normal: Book 1 (2016), and decided to use the protagonist as a basis for our report.

I uploaded the initial report to the blog and asked for some feedback from my group.


Initial Report

This first page was created with the intention of looking like a traditional medical report. The questions were based around technology and the loss of the future. My aim was to write it in line with the Ellis text, and I included direct quotes to back this up.
Towards the end of the report, I wanted to draw parallels between Adam and the rest of society. I aimed to show this condition as a growing problem that was a direct result of the present.
We chose to purposefully leave the 'recommendations' section blank, in order to allude to the fact that we are lost and unsure what to do; there is no cure.

After writing the medical report, we discussed our progress as a group. Some of the feedback received from the rest of the group, was that the medical report needed the be in line with what Fuller and Goffey would describe as 'gray media'. The group thought that using a digital magazine style would not fit in this bracket.

It was also at this point that we decided to work on our own, due to uncertainty on what we should create collaboratively.

As it was close to the deadline Stuart and I decided to continue working together. This was due to the fact I had already written part of the experiment. We discussed the concept of 'gray media' in depth, and agreed that the design needed to be toned down a lot.

Unfortunately, as our group split up, this meant that the content of the report did not get collaboratively developed as much as I would have liked, and remained in its first draft format.



In one of our seminars, we listened to a mixtape titled ‘After the Future’. The mixtape was as follows:

Side A:

Freeze! Don’t Move! (1970s-1980s)

1. Ice Age Joy Division (1979)

2. Six Six Sixties Throbbing Gristle (1979)

3. War of Nerves Cabaret Voltaire (1982)

4. Hell is Empty Mark Stewart (1987)

Side B:

Haunted Ballroom (The Twenty-First Century)

5. Disintegration Loop 2.1 William Basinski (2001)

6. The New Mobility Belbury Poly (2006)

7. Long Term (Remote) The Caretaker (2008)

1. From compilation album, Still (1981)

2. From 20 Jazz Funk Greats (1979)

3. From 2 x 45 (1982)

4. From Mark Stewart (1987)

5. From The Disintegration Loops (2002)

6. From The Owl’s Map (2006)

7. From Persistent Repetition of Phrases (2008)

The difference between the two eras was staggering. The Hauntology tracks from the 21st Century represented a present that was not making any progress. The tracks were long and grating. I almost found them distressing. It was this distress and lack sense of crisis that we wanted to try and create in our report.

We chose to use the Disintegration Loop 2.1 (2001) as the track for the report. We felt that it reflected the feelings of despair we were trying to create.


Stuart used the text I had written in his design template. Please click below to see the final report.


Blog Post 25th October:


On week one of this experiment, we began looking into Ellis’ Normal: Book 1 (2016) – a fictional piece that followed the protagonist, Adam Dearden, as he was taken to a psychiatric hospital for ‘Abyss Gaze’ (Ellis, 2016, 10). It struck me how, although fictional, the text has similarities to our own reality. Our growing addiction and reliance on technology is a prevalent issue in 2016. There are areas of our lives in which technology assists us, but there is a growing need to be constantly logged in; constantly checking for notifications and updates; ‘a switched on universe for which no off-switch exists’ (Crary, 2013, 30).

Surely this constant use of technology is not sustainable? In our report, Adam’s situation reflects this lack of sustainability, and draws parallels between the fictional world in Ellis’ Normal: Book 1(2016) and our own society.

Could this mean that in a few decades we might also be treating patients for similar reasons to the patients in Normal: Book 1 (Ellis, 2016)?

We decided to explore the concepts and themes in the form of a medical report, written about Adam Dearden, from Ellis’ Normal: Book 1 (2016). This was partly because the text was set in a medical setting, but also because the themes of technology and a dystopian future were very interesting. Although the medical report focuses on an individual, it also explores the symptoms of a ‘present infected by a moribund future’ (Experiment 2 Brief).

We chose to overlay one of the Hauntology tracks that were given as apparatus, in order to reflect the feeling of repetition and lack of progression that the present makes us feel. Hauntology is described as reflecting ‘a time which is seriously “out of joint”‘ (Gallix, 2011) and a time which is ‘haunted by a nostalgia for all our lost futures’ (Gallix, 2011). The Hauntology track perfectly encompasses these overarching feelings of the present.

In 2016 we live in a world that never stops. In this capitalist society, we are constantly bombarded with new products that we, supposedly, need in our lives. These new products are usually just a slight variation on something that already exists, adding to our ‘non-stop consumption, social isolation, and political powerlessness’ (Crary, 2013, 40). We’re becoming more and more consumed by our technology, and gradually feeling more and more lost in reality. In a world that is awake 24/7, we’ve stopped moving forwards.

‘What happens to political thought, practice, and imagination when it loses hold on “the future”? It goes into crisis.’ (Berardi, 2011, 3). Is Berardi right? If he is then shouldn’t we do something about it? It seems that people are blind to it; happy to just plod along, yet increasingly becoming affected by the symptoms of the present. Symptoms such as those we discussed in our report.

There is an overall negative theme throughout the apparatus, and a lack of faith in the future. While Shulman’s photography around the 1940s shows a definite optimism for the future, it now appears that we have almost given up and have a very negative view of our own future.

After reading the apparatus and carrying out my own further research, I have been looking at the things around me differently, and it has left me with a lot of unanswered questions. I don’t feel that our present advocates for a particularly positive future; so, why aren’t we doing anything to change it?

Experiment 3: Acceleration

Experiment 3 was all about accelerationism, its irrelevance as a political movement, and the potential possibilities of its aesthetical form.

Stuart, Sam, Jon and I decided to work together for this project. We started off by looking at the #Accelerate Manifesto (Danchev, 2011).


Blog Post from 1st November:


Here’s a few key points from the Manifesto:

While the world’s catastrophes are accelerating and only getting worse (think climate change and mass starvation) politics is at a standstill. Frozen in a time of capitalism, where we’re not progressing forwards.

Neoliberalism has left us stuck in the past where imaginations are restricted and progress has faltered.

So far, capitalism is the most advanced economic system we have developed, so it is thought that the only way for us to move forward is to accelerate through capitalism to see what develops from it. The manifesto reiterates that accelarationism isn’t about destroying capitalism, but about accelerating off the end of it.

Capitalism limits our technological potential to regurgitated consumer gadgets, rather than making progress into the future.

The manifesto urges that the keys to success will be experimentation, the building of an intellectual infrastructure, media reform, and reconstruction of power and the classes. The key to modernisation of the future.


Comments on Stuart's blog post:

Stuart posted on the blog his initial ideas, and I responded with the following comment.

5th November

I’ve been reading through all the other materials in order to get a better sense of what this project is about.

The following are points, I have understood, that we need to be hitting:

‘using design to explore social or political issues’ (Dune and Raby, 2014, 18) – I guess that the ‘Troll Bomb’ does tap into a current social issue. Trolling is present in every area of online media.

Speculative design can be ‘concerned with changing reality rather than simply describing or maintaining it.’ (Dune and Raby, 2014, 3) – Not sure if the current concept hits this point. What do you think? I guess the ‘Troll bomb’ could be seen as pushing an existing problem further, so that it can be brought to light and something can be done about it?

The design ‘should be scientifically possibly, and second, there should be a path from where we are today to where we are in the scenario.’ (Dune and Raby, 2014, 4) – The current concept is definitely within the realms of possibility.

The design should be considered accelerationist. This is the bit where I’m unsure how a design can be classed as accelerationist. Perhaps it could be argued both ways?

Overall, I think the concept is a really good!

I’ve been trying to think how we could develop it further/pull it together a bit more…

Perhaps it could be an augmented reality app, where you can quite literally flick the troll bomb at someone within your vicinity? The troll bomb could attach itself to that person’s phone and take over their accounts?

Another thought I had is that, before you can pass the troll bomb onto someone else, the app requires you to complete a kind act or delete any mean tweets on your feed (something like that). This way the ultimate aim of the app would be to eliminate bad people and vibes from the online world (making us think before we say things etc).

Just a couple of thoughts, though! Let me know what you think?

On this post, I received feedback from Rob. Rob suggested that I should be critically studying Dunne and Raby's piece in relation to Shaviro.

At this point I chose to re-read through the apparatus to gain a clearer understanding of accelerationist aesthetics. I then applied my new understanding to the rest of the experiment.


The political form of accelerationism that we were looking at has proven to be redundant. It has posed no real possibilities or usefulness, and Shaviro makes it clear in Accelerationist Aesthetics (2013) that he feels this way.

It was at this point that we began discussing our speculative design idea, as a group. Stuart initially came up with the idea of TrollBomb: an app which can infect people’s social media and, essentially, destroy their lives.

Once we had the initial idea, we all met up to discuss its development as a group. In the few hours together, we successfully developed TrollBomb’s concept into something we could all fully understand.

Below is a collaborative blog post from our meeting:

The Troll Bomb is the catchall app that allows you to avenge social media disagreements, pass on cruel judgement anonymously; and, ruin peoples lives by being thoroughly antisocial.

Because of its advanced geotagging functionality you can randomly and indiscriminately flick vicious trolls at people in the street; in the car; and, at home.

Destroy relationships; ruin marriages; all with a flick of the wrist.

In app purchases are available to extend the vitriol and spite that you can flick at people, for example, our new range of EMP based disable-a-con which disable all electronic devices in range.

Optional extras: Disable-a-con – Hardware extension/power supply for EMP blast.

Merchandise: Stickers, T-Shirts, Caps, Desktop Backgrounds, Ringtones, Trainers, watches, step counters, dried pasta range, pasta sauce, toys, keyframes, pens, pencils.

“This thing will go tribal. You form clans and strategies to take down your enemies; whole businesses; and, small business start ups.”


Once we had developed a solid idea, we created a list of items each of us could complete at home. The list was as follows:

3D Renders of EMP module ‘Disable-a-con’- Jon (Speculative Design Aesthetic with Accelerationist Decals)

Advert created in Spark Video/Premiere/After Effects (Optional Extra) Jon and Stuart

App functionality/Mock up – Along Slide Projections and Forecasts (Impact Data and Swarm/infection rates) Sam and Emma

Merchandise Designs/Mock Up – Sam and Emma

Logo – Stuart

Presentation – Prezi (Due to its dynamic, accelerationist aesthetics and form) Emma –


TrollBomb Logo

The first thing that was completed was the logo. We discussed, as a group, how we would have liked the logo to look. We decided that green and grey colours would be appropriate for our designs. Stuart then went home and created the following logo options.

Option 1: TrollBomb No Hair
Option 2: TrollBomb with Hair

We discussed the logos and decided that we felt the logo with the hair was the better option. This was the logo we decided to use in our final version.


Merchandise Designs

Upon finalising the logo designs, Sam and I began discussing ways we could incorporate them into merchandise.

It was at this point I it would be useful to have a version of the TrollBomb logo that only contained the Troll. I discussed this with the group, and they were all in agreement that this would be useful. Stuart then created a version of the logo containing only the troll.

Logo that only contained the Troll

Sam and I worked together creating the merchandise options. Sam created a variety of merchandise options using Photoshop, while I suggested ideas and gave feedback at each point in the process. See below for the merchandise.


One of the optional extras that can be purchased with the TrollBomb app, is the Disable-a-Con. This fits around your smartphone, allowing you to disable electronic devices within your vicinity, while protecting your own device from attacks.

Jon created the 3D renders of the product prototype. They can be seen below:


App Designs

The TrollBomb app was based on the popular app Pokemon Go. It uses augmented reality to locate potential targets (people) within your vicinity. The targets are represented by the red markers on the screen.

Sam developed the app design. There are night time or day time modes available.

Following some group feedback I put together two possible examples of how the app could manifest itself within a person’s social media accounts. We decided that using current topics would provide relatability to a consumer. It would be possible to speculate over many, many more ideas, but to get the concept across I created two samples.

The TrollBombs would effect all areas of a person's social media accounts, and twitter is just one example.

The BeleiberBomb and the TrumpBomb can be seen below.

The BelieberBomb - This bomb hacks into the victims social media accounts and turns them into a lover of Justin Bieber.
The TrumpBomb - This bomb hacks into the victims social media accounts and turns them into a lover of Donald Trump.

I designed both of the examples of Trollbombs, with continued feedback and suggestions from the rest of my group.


Trollbomb Advert

Jon and Stuart worked together in creating the Trollbomb advert. It uses fast paced, accelerationist movements to create a satirical and cheesy advert that outlines the key concepts of Trollbomb clearly.

The advert is created in Spark Video, as we felt this would help to create the style we were looking for.


TrollBomb Pitch

Once all the aspects of TrollBomb were completed, it was then my role to pull them all together into a presentation.

As a group, we decided the most appropriate aesthetic for our presentation would be to use Prezi. Prezi would allow us a lot of freedom with the design of the presentation, and would create a fast-paced aesthetic, in keeping with the accelerationist theme.

Please click the button below to view the final presentation.

We discussed the presentation and decided which sections we should each talk about.

Here is our final pitch:


Blog Post from 15th November:


‘Accelerationism in philosophy or political economy offers us, at best, an exacerbated awareness of how we are trapped.’ (Shaviro, 2013, 7)

It is clear that in Shaviro’s eyes, accelerationism as a political movement has no real use and only ‘work[s] to promote and advance capitalism’ (Shaviro, 2013, 7) rather than working towards overcoming it. Shaviro believes that there is merit to be had in using accelerationism as an aesthetical movement that…

‘intensi[fies] the horrors of contemporary capitalism…offer[ing] us a kind of satisfaction and relief, by telling us that we have finally hit bottom, finally realised the worst.’ (Shaviro, 2013, 9)

The concept of the TrollBomb presents an ‘enlightened cynicism’ (Shaviro, 2013, 9) that is often found in accelerationist aesthetics. Following Shaviro’s ideas, the TrollBomb does not have any political or social agenda. It highlights a current topic and takes it to the extreme; it offers a sense of escapism.

The TrollBomb is a concept that fits easily within the realms of possibility. In a scenario where the TrollBomb exists, ‘a path from where we are today to where we are in the scenario’ (Dunne and Raby, 2014, 4) is definitely plausible.

The TrollBomb app itself is similar in functionality to Pokemon Go and comes with a range of extra merchandise available for purchase. The Trollbomb ‘does not deny that its own intensities serve the aim of extracting surplus value and accumulating profit'(Shaviro, 2013, 9) and refuses ‘to sustain outrage or claim the moral high ground’ (Shaviro, 2013, 9).

The TrollBomb draws on the concepts and themes that have been explored throughout this experiment. By analysing, critically, what accelerationist aesthetics are, I now understand them to intensify capitalism, but provide no cure; to present modern aesthetics, often showing speed, and offer escapism, but highlight a negative view of the world. The TrollBomb appears to encapsulates these concepts and themes well

Experiment 4: Media Manifesto

Experiment 4 asked us to review the themes of the previous experiments in order to explore the potential for a media manifesto.

Experiment 4 presented us with many more challenges than any of the previous experiments. It required us to collaboratively and creatively explore lines of flight.


On the first week, we were each given a different manifesto to look at. My manifesto was Dogme 95.

Blog post from November 25th:


This is simply a very brief overview of the structure of the manifesto.

It begins by diagnosing a problem and explaining how Dogme 95 can fix it.

The manifesto uses a lot of emotive language to draw the reader in and engage them, instead of bore them.

Dogme 95 markets itself as a ‘rescue action!’ And it’s constant use of exclamation marks attempts to drive this point home to the reader.

The introduction also poses a lot of rhetorical questions to the reader, making them immediately question their own thoughts on the matter.

The main focus of the Dogme 95 manifesto is ‘THE VOW OF CHASTITY’, which consists of 10 rules that a Dogma 95 member must abide by. These rules attempt to strip back film production to its basics and discourage the use of anything remotely fancy.

Overall, the manifesto does not overcomplicate things. It is written simply, and in a way that appeals to the majority.


As a group, we discussed what we had understood from the apparatus using an online chat. We used online messaging as our chosen method of communication at this point, due to our group being in different locations.

Jon and Sam had a brainstorming meeting during their university trip abroad, while Stuart and I had a brainstorming meeting in Lincoln. The four of us then fed back details of our discussions. Stuart rounded up our discussion and posted them on the blog. See below:

Stuart's blog post from December 2nd:


From an online team huddle with Jon, Emma, Sam and Stu (Team-JESS) conversation..

The main structure and thoughts discussed are provided below..

Stu Arms

Our thoughts so far:

Format: Adobe Spark Video

Genre: Essay Film

Structure: Manifesto

• Context (The “Now”/Problem/Diagnoses the illness)

• Rules (Cure the illness)

• What the future might be

Subject Matter/Theme: An accelerationist, Speculative design of a future Time Machine that can go back into the past to then change the future so that it doesn’t die.


Sam's time travelling device design

Taking that we need a “change” manifesto, we could structure the narrative like Ballard and each through suggesting like a instead of a Ballard “I Believe” to “Our Future will be………….” Etc Thoughts

Stu A / Emma

Thought of Structure???????

[narrative and narration] Our Future will be…..: eg..will be all inclusive –

[aesthetics] the stills maybe the opposite to provoke the thought and the theories of the experiment aims?

So maybe all of us do 4 each.. with a paragraph narrative Intro and conclusion Thoughts??????

Stu A / Emma


The following week we met up as a whole group and discussed where we had got to. We then began building a script for our manifesto.

Blog post from 7th December:



We are sitting at a stark white table, contemplating the meaningless lives we lead. Cables of our devices intertwine like a nest of vipers threatening to strike at the very core of our being. The glowing LEDs of the disco tortoise that is our charging blocks, precede the onset of a moribund, sick, diseased, inoperable future.

As we seek to diagnose the present in order to offer a cure for our ailing future, we have had an apiphinany. The aim is to rally the troops; to march upon the barricades of the capitalist, neo-liberalist, apathy that envelops us all.

Here is our rallying cry; our strategy; our MANIFESTO:

1. We will build a time machine to go backwards in time to accelerate the death of our current.

2. We will pick a pivotal moment in our history and tweak it to change the outcome of our present. We will accelerate the death of capitalism.

3. We need soldiers of fortune who are willing to sacrifice their present selves for the sake of all humanity, and go back in time to rectify our neo-liberalist mistakes.

4. We want to go back when modern was modern and make sure that those dreams become reality. We will fund the building of modernist dreams.

5. We will go back in time and get Machiavelli.

6. We need you to be decisive and buy as much meaningless crap as possible.

7. We need acclerationists in the following fields: engineers, scientists, child care, catering, we need capitol to fund our mission…we need you!

Our future will be…inclusive

Our future will be…happier

Our future will be…green

Our future will be…decisive

Our future will be………………”


Group Discussion and Change of Plans

Later that afternoon we went to the 21st Century workshop to discuss the progression of our idea. It was at this point we realised that our project had been heading in the wrong direction. We needed to drastically rethink our concept, so we held an emergency meeting. Below are the results of our discussion.

It was disheartening to realise that we basically needed to start again, but we were determined to succeed.

Collaborative blog post from 7th December:


Following the discussions in the workshop, we have decided to re-address our ideas in a newer context:

Instead of a manifesto that promotes a possible future change, we are going look back from the future.

The formal style of the video will be more in keeping with the Journey motif of the essay film – see ‘Sans Soleil’ (Chris Marker); of an outsider observing the present in a non-prescriptive, poetic manner. This person could be from the future, sent back though time to observe the incubation period of the social disease.

An omniscient someone sent from the future to observe the infection that was to destroy the future; the symptoms that caused the death; to observe their own death.

The images used in the spark will all be distant or framed by other things to suggest that society is being observed by this enigmatic narrator.

The structure and tone of the narration will be somewhat cold, distant and abstract. It will contain musings on possible reasons, conclusions, hypothesese from abstract fragments of observations.

To Do List:

Audio recording using Text to Speech to create a detached, omniscient narrator (Male) or someone’s voice – (JH) To complete by Saturday 10.12.16. At 23:59.

Source Royalty free music – Vimeo (JH) To complete by Saturday 10.12.16. At 23:59

Script (based on a report -like observation ) akin to ‘Sans Soleil’ (ED & SDS) To complete by Friday 09.12.16. At 23:59.

Sourcing Royalty free images and SFX (SA) Sunday 11.12.16. At 23:59.

Mixing SFX and Music by Monday 12.12.16. 23:59. (JH and SA)


By collaboratively using Microsoft OneNote to bounce ideas back and forth, Sam and I began working on the script.

We also used Facebook Messenger to discuss ideas. A snap shot of our conversation can be seen below.

Just as each paragraph in Ballard's The Atrocity Exhibition (1970) could stand alone, we aimed to create a similar effect in our essay film.

To start with, we number observations 1-18. We then began noting down points of interest, against each number, ensuring to include current themes and topics, but also ordinary observations.

Once we had 18 ideas, we developed them further, trying to reflect the poetic language found in other essay film examples.

Once the script was complete, we mixed each observation around to build the final order; creating a disordered view of the worlds.

Once the script had been completed, I sent it to the rest of the group to get their opinions. It was later uploaded to the Blog.

See below for our final script:

Blog Post from December 9th:


Taking our inspiration from Sans Soleil (Marker, 1983) and The Atrocity Exhibition (Ballard, 1970), Sam and I collaboratively put together the following script.


(The titles will not be included in the spoken narrative, they are purely for our reference and understanding.)

Introduction : My name is Julia Hegenbert, I’m 23 years old and I come from the year 2086. It is the year 2016. I have come back to observe this specific year in human history, to find out what caused our downfall. The following are my observations.

Observation 6: bees dying

The 6 o’clock news reported that the bee is becoming extinct. Flowers and trees, fruit and vegetables, are all slowly dying because the bee’s sensitive ecosystem has been disturbed by humans.

Observation 11: Bustling streets

Every day the streets are busy. Men, women and children hurriedly weave around each other, creating a temporary tapestry of life.

Observation 1: Brexit

A once powerful Britain stands divided as they vote on whether to leave the European Union. A simple election gives nationalists and far right movements the opportunity to rise up and live out their inhumane fantasies; atrocities that are seen by children, too young to understand, and the elderly, who have already been through this before.

Observation 5: Polluted air

I have seen the people of China having to cover their mouths in order to survive, avoiding the avalanches made of metal, rubber and liquidised fossils. The smog lies on the cities like an ominous layer of black fog, as thick and opaque as tar.

Observation 12: The sea

The sea lightly laps on the shore line, bringing with it the fresh salt smell that reminds me of my childhood. The blue colours move in gentle waves, creating a feeling of serenity for miles around.

Observation 14: War

This planet is far from achieving world peace. Inhumane wars are raging on, fuelled by hatred, greed and profit.

Observation 18: A car

Like a species of ant, much inferior to the actual insect, cars roam and obstruct the streets. They spout chemicals into the air, and burn fossil fuels that have been violently stolen from mother earth’s soil.

Observation 2: Trump

2016 is the year of radical leaders. Great Britain’s teenage rebellion of June 23rd seems almost forgotten now that Trump has been elected. America has chosen to follow the example of the British, with its neo nationalism and bigotry, by electing a man that has controversially spoken out about minorities.

Observation 4: A flower

Today, I observed a flower opening its petals for the first time and reaching itself towards the sun; flourishing in its new life. It was beautiful.

Observation 7: Polluted water/ fish dying

The once clear blue waters of earth have turned brown and black. Polluted with plastic and chemicals, it kills the fish within and all of nature outside the waters.

Observation 16: The countryside

The carefully manipulated land stretches for miles around. Hedge rows and fields, bright green in colour, provide a place to connect with nature.

Observation 3: Global warming

Today, I witnessed people denying the existence of global warming. People of this century fail to believe the extent to which they are destroying the Earth. Global warming is very present, the news inform citizens about it, but most of the populace of earth does not seem to care that the poles are melting, or that the oceans are heating up. They don’t recognise the death and destruction that is brought with it.

Observation 9: Deforestation – extinction of animal species/endangering orangoutangs

Trees, the lungs of earth, get chopped down on a large scale every day. Robbing animals of their homes, the soil from its nutrition, and the air from the oxygen it needs.

Observation 15: Unwelcome refugees

I’m afraid that today I watched hundreds of people turned away from Britain’s borders. A sense of despair, and a loss of hope filtered through the crowds. No one was willing to help.

Observation 10: A mother’s love

A child skipped through the streets. Clumsily stepping. Falling. And then followed by tears. The mother calmly enveloped the child with her sheer divine graciousness: A Gesture of Love.

Observation 17: A phone

As I looked around at the people of 2016, I noticed that they carry a smartphone with them at all times. They seem more interested in the screens of these phones than anything going on around them.

Observation 13: frequent killing sprees in the US

The constitutional rights in the United States seem to cause problems among its citizens. The right to own a fire arm has cost many innocent people’s lives as lost souls have descended into insanity.

Observation 8: so called 3rd world countries – people dying from malnutrition

There are still countries that suffer from malnutrition. Humans let their own kind die from starvation, while countless amounts of food gets disposed of every day, just because it does not look picture perfect.


The script then had to be translated into German, for Sam to narrate. We chose to use another language in order to create a new depth to our film and reflect the style of Chris Marker.

We used group discussions throughout the process to give constant feedback to each other, until our film was finally complete.

A fairly long discussion we had as a group, was when Jon was trying to choose some music to use. We were trying to find a piece of music that resonated well with our themes, and contained the right balance between classical and electronic music.

We finally settled on the track Good Night, Day, from a composition called Orphée by Jóhann Jóhannsson (2016). A beautiful track that we felt added to the intensity of our film.

Orphée (2016) was loosely based on the story of Orpheus and the themes of travel and transgression (Deutsche Grammophon, undated). Themes that are appropriate for this project .


Final Film

We were all very proud of the final results. We collaboratively created an evocative piece in a short space of time.


Blog post from 13th December:


The demanding nature of experiment 4 has challenged me more than any of the previous experiments.

We spent the first three weeks of the experiment misinterpreting the brief, and designing a very traditional manifesto (in film form). However, after a class discussion last week, we developed a clearer understanding of what was expected of us and went back to the drawing board to reconceptualise an idea.

Through understanding the redundant nature of a traditional manifesto, and the potential for the essay film as an aesthetic form, we were able to completely turn our manifesto on its head.

Where a traditional manifesto would aim to motivate and instil optimism, our film does the opposite. Our film predicts the death of the future.

It is obvious that the typical manifesto format has no relevance in today’s society, but this experiment asks us explore an alternative for the 21st century.

Berman describes the manifesto as being:

‘remarkable for its imaginative power, its expression and grasp of the luminous and dreadful possibilities that pervade modern life. Along with everything else that it is, it is the first great modernist work of art.’ (Berman, 1982, 102)

Despite significantly reworking the traditional form of a manifesto, we have managed to retain what, according to Berman, is so significant about a manifesto.

The Experiment 4 brief asks us to consider the manifesto in relation to the essay film:

‘a type of authored documentary, which draw also on experimental and fictional film practices.’ (Lory Kay, 2010, 235)

Rascaroli argues that:

‘ an essay is the expression of a personal, critical reflection on a problem or set of problems. Such reflection does not propose itself as anonymous or collective, but as originating from a singular authorial voice.’ (2008, 35)

Our film succeeds in building, what Rascaroli suggests is, the framework for an typical essay film. Passenger from a Moribund Future provides critical reflection on the problems associated with the present, narrated by a single author.

Our final film is a perfect illustration of the pessimisms that are affiliated with the present. It represents the culmination of, not just experiment 4, but the whole of this module, by drawing on key themes and issues that have been discussed over the last few weeks.

From experiment 1, we drew on the themes of nostalgia, using images that are easily recognisable, while also using The Atrocity Exhibition (Ballard, 1970) as a key influence on the style and format of our film.

When talking about the seemingly random narrative of The Atrocity Exhibition (Ballard, 1970), Ballard suggests that ‘reality is already reordered…The world is discontinuous’ (2006, 4).

It was intended that our narrative would follow a similar dynamic to Ballard’s. To do this, we had to ensure that each entry could stand alone, and was not reliant on another to make sense. We numbered each observation entry, and then mixed them around so that they were no longer in numerical order. Thus creating a disorder similar to The Atrocity Exhibition (Ballard, 1970).

From experiment 2, we drew on the themes of ‘ a present infected by a moribund future’ (see Experiment 2 brief). We wanted to express a loss in the future.

Our narrator, Julia Hegenbert, has come back in time to study the moment the end began. The moment at which all hope of a possible future began to slowly drift away. Julia’s observations are given as a report on the present; reviving the concept of a ‘gray’ media report in a contemporary manner.

From experiment 3, we took the idea of accelerationist aesthetics and explored how they could be applied to our film.

One way we chose to portray accelerationism was in the way we put together our film. The use of Spark video as our main way of editing created a dramatic and accelerationist aesthetic.

Passenger from a Moribund Future offers the aesthetic inefficiency described by Shaviro. It ‘do[es] not offer us false hope’ (Shaviro, 2013, 8), and it ‘does not claim any efficiency for its own operations’ (Shaviro, 2013, 8). It accepts our cultural downfalls and puts them on display, making no attempt to change anything. Simply a product of accelerationist aesthetics.

Our essay film focuses on the theme of travel, and is influence by Sans Soleil (Marker, 1983). Our narrator, similarly to the narrator in Sans Soleil (Marker, 1983), is reporting on the observations she has made while traveling. The main difference being that while Sans Soleil (Marker, 1983) depicts a travelling of distance, our film portrays a travelling of time. Also similarly to Sans Soleil (Marker, 1983), we have chosen not to narrate our film in English, but to exploit the mysterious nature of foreign language. We felt that using a German speaking narrator and accompanying subtitles offered a greater depth to our film than English could.

Overall, I feel that this experiment has challenged us all to explore lines of flight that we wouldn’t have even considered a few weeks ago. I believe that our final concept meets the brief and, as a team, we have successfully taken a tentacular approach to exploring this experiment.

What is Time?

Final Musings


This whole module, to me, seems to reflect back to time. It makes us question what time is. If the future is dead and the past keeps following us, then what does time actually mean to us?

In experiment 1, we looked at nostalgia and rewound time. In experiment 2, we asked what happened to the future and why we had stopped moving forwards in time. In experiment 3, we accelerated time. And in experiment 4, we attempted to travel through time.

If we constantly reflect back on the past, destroy the future, hate the present, and accelerate in every direction possible, then perhaps we can't be trusted with the dimension of time.

Maybe we don't deserve to have time on our side.

Created By
Emma Dorsett


Created with images by nile - "hourglass time hours" • InspiredImages - "vcr video tapes" • InspiredImages - "vcr video tapes" • InspiredImages - "vcr video tapes" • nile - "hourglass time hours" • Qfamily - "Stop!" • Qfamily - "Stop!" • Qfamily - "Stop!" • Qfamily - "Stop!" • Qfamily - "Stop!" • Qfamily - "Stop!" • Qfamily - "Stop!" • Qfamily - "Stop!" • Qfamily - "Stop!" • nile - "hourglass time hours" • Ozzy Delaney - "Speeding" • Ozzy Delaney - "Speeding" • Ozzy Delaney - "Speeding" • Ozzy Delaney - "Speeding" • Ozzy Delaney - "Speeding" • Ozzy Delaney - "Speeding" • Ozzy Delaney - "Speeding" • Ozzy Delaney - "Speeding" • Ozzy Delaney - "Speeding" • Ozzy Delaney - "Speeding" • nile - "hourglass time hours" • skeeze - "clock concourse grand central station" • skeeze - "clock concourse grand central station" • skeeze - "clock concourse grand central station" • skeeze - "clock concourse grand central station" • skeeze - "clock concourse grand central station" • skeeze - "clock concourse grand central station" • skeeze - "clock concourse grand central station" • skeeze - "clock concourse grand central station" • nile - "hourglass time hours"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.