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diagram, posters, physical models(ABS resin)
The Longevity Society is a speculative scenario study of a society where people can extend their lifespan and maintain their youth. This project examines two distinct social classes and lifestyles that may emerge in such a society. The "Life Peak" vaccine enables individuals to extend their lifespan, and those who opt to benefit from technological advancements are positioned in a higher social class. However, those who reject the vaccine are likely to face social alienation.
This is a collaborative work with Hyehyun Song, Yunhan Wang and Yutong Fu.
01 Context: Vaccine to Prolong Life
As a result of the rapidly growing aging population, society is confronted with numerous challenges such as a shortage of working-age individuals, rising healthcare expenses, and unsustainable pensions. Consequently, the government has implemented an urgent new population policy known as the "Life Peak Plan." To combat these issues, the government has developed a "life peak vaccine" that can decelerate the aging process. To ensure a high standard of living for adults in society, it is recommended that individuals receive the vaccine before the age of 40, prior to the decrease of nerve cells. The initial context was provided by another group.
02 Development: Division of Society
Initially, society appeared to be stable with a sizable labor force, but soon we were confronted with a new challenge: population explosion. Consequently, the government introduced a new policy. Although people could now live much longer, the addition of new family members(children) was heavily regulated. While most individuals chose to receive the "Life-peak" vaccine, there were some who refused, resulting in a division of society into two classes: "The Peaks" and "The Ephemerals".
03 The Peaks: Happy Death Day!
As society is full of people who live longer, the government is putting a lot of effort into mitigating the problem. The first measure is regulating pregnancy through the 'baby lottery,' which is a selective reproduction system designed to leave only a few individuals with superior genes in society. Therefore, most of the population are lottery losers who cannot have children of their own.
Another measure is 'honor suicide,' a strong propaganda campaign aimed at increasing the death rate. By encouraging senior citizens to die, society can save on social costs and eliminate the non-working population. If citizens sign up around the age of 60, they are allowed to have a child and live with their children for the rest of their lives. They also receive an 'honor ring,' which signifies that they have devoted their life to society. People look up to them with respect, as they would a veteran. However, according to the contract, on their 130th birthday, right after their retirement, they must rest in peace 'honorably.'
Inside the gem of the ring, there is glowing blue liquid containing 10g of pentobarbital for euthanasia. On their 130th birthday, friends, family, and neighbors gather for a "birthday" party to celebrate their life and impending death. The occasion is not somber but rather festive. The night after the party, a needle in the ring pops up and injects the liquid into their body, and the empty ring changes to transparent, symbolizing the honored family. Citizens who choose not to sign the contract can live longer and die naturally without having a child, but the government puts them under pressure with an annual birthday card. Although it may seem harmless, the government offers them special tours such as "heart-stopping adventures" that lead them to deadly and dangerous places.
04 The Ephemerals: Vaccine Refusal
The outcasts, also known as the ephemerals, chose to reject the vaccination and instead moved out of the city. Living without the resources, infrastructure, technology, or medical care of the longevity society, they are left to satisfy their basic needs through farming or fishing. The government seeks to avoid conflict and thus tries to entice them back with a 'working visa' for those aged 20-40 seeking better conditions and payment.
However, those with working visas must wear masks that weaken their individual identity. Without a recognizable face, No one remembers you. You are not yourself but just one of the ephemerals. It's difficult to form relationships, and they feel excluded from society regardless of how long they spend in the city. Through this, the government pressures people to vaccinate and become legitimate citizens. Although some may have voluntarily gone to the city, many cannot bear the isolation and either get Life-peak or abandon their dreams and leave the city.
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