Plants sprout from coolers and plastic pots. There is reflective silver mylar everywhere, and animal skins. On the kitchen shelf cookbooks offer instructions on foraging and recipes call for cockroaches. This is the Singaporean apartment of the future as imagined by the U.K. design studio Superflux.
Mitigation of Shock, which is currently on display in the exhibition 2219: Futures Imagined at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum shows possible climate futures at a human scale. By using the domestic interior, Superflux defamiliarizes the every day to show us just how foreign—or not—our new normal might be. “We use narrative and speculation as a means of exploring complex problems that are often discussed in terms of data and abstract projections,” Superflux partners Jon Ardern and Anab Jain explained over email.
The apartment takes the shape of a Singaporean HDB—or public housing—flat. “In the installation, visitors experience the themes we were thinking about through tangible evidence, artifacts, tools, growing systems, window views, and so on.” There is a circular farming system, an upgrade from the “fogponics” system in previous versions of the project in London and Barcelona. While those apartments had been outfitted with hacked IKEA furniture—a sort of post-crisis version of reclaimed heritage wood—in this version.
Superflux used less pre-fab objects and integrated more and raw materials in order to explore a future where “seemingly abundant and cheap stuff” had become scarce. Even Arduino chipboards that had served as regulators for the grow environments in previous versions have in Singapore been sliced up to make for spears of sorts, a de-digitalization using high-tech artifacts as the basis for a new hunter-gatherer society.
“We want people to consider how they might begin to live in a world where climate change is one of the dominant influences on our lives,” Ardern and Jain said of Mitigation of Shock. Perhaps that means a new social order, one in which “people start to value our interdependent natural systems and want to find paths to return to a non-anthropocentric way of life—one that recognizes the bigger picture.”
Header image: Window view (Sebastian Tiew)