Theoretical background

The World of Futureface

As I already have a presence in traditional galleries I am ultimately seeking to display my work and communicate the associated ideas primarily through digital media. To this end I will dedicated my website exclusively to presenting this project. The importance of being able to explore and discuss our unpredictable technological future is of vital importance, as our current predicament illustrates.

The original goals of the FutureFace project were to explore how modern technology and world events could lead to an alteration in Human appearance and, secondly, to contrast and integrate a number of materials and techniques in a single object with each material serving a specific function.
Based on an imaginary scenario of environmental degradation and Humankind’s subsequent retreat to an existence underground, I wished to illustrate the possible stages of evolution Humanity could
achieve. I became aware of CRISPR genetic technology whilst researching my thesis and realized that altered Human forms could be achieved by genetic manipulation as opposed to evolutionary processes. Therefore the new Human forms are arrived at by the processes of design and these
functional and aesthetic choices come into the arena of the artist and designer. My decision to use mixed materials to create a hybrid object further references the idea of genetic manipulation. The materials are imposed upon each other in a spirit of experimentation. The outcome is not entirely predictable and this is reflected in the processes employed for each material.

In the third semester I completed a course on Co-Ability studies where we were introduced to concepts such as Critical Design, Speculative Design and Design Fiction. I came to realize that the „FutureFace” project was falling clearly into the area of Design Fiction. Design Fiction involves the
creation of prototypes to illustrate possible scenarios of the near future. The term was first used in 2005 by Bruce Sterling and the concept was enlarged and elaborated on by Julian Bleecker. To Quote Bleecker „Design Fiction objects are totems through which a larger story can be told or imagined or expressed. They are like artifacts from someplace else, telling stories about other worlds”. This expresses perfectly my intention with the „FutureFace” project. I wish in, in a primitive way, to
create objects which explore technologically advanced future scenarios involving the genetic manipulation of the Human Form. Design Fiction is recognized as a valuable tool in many areas of society from Public policy-making, innovative technologies through to ethical decision making.

My working processes are very circular as opposed to linear. Research involves looking at ways artists have altered the Human form historically alongside investigating animal evolution in subterranean environments. Subsequently ideas are resolved on paper and transported into
maquettes. From these images a model is created. This model is used to create a mold from which a number of various ceramic forms can be generated. Glass and ceramic elements are then worked
into these ceramic forms. The maquettes form further information for additional drawings and digitally manipulated photographic images. These new images are then fed back into the creative process. The Raku process is being used for the ceramic component. Raku provides rough and unpredictable results with metallic colourful finishes. It creates a vision that is both earthly and futuristic. Having to withdraw from college and work at home has placed a number of constrictions on my project. I can no longer work freely with 3D printed plastic. The size and number of the objects has been reduced. However the core concepts will still be able to be communicated fully.

James Carcass

Masterwork Supervisor: Renata Dezső
Supervisors of the thesis for the master’s degree: Ákos Schneider, Renata Dezső

Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest
Design Institute 2020

IMAGE SOURCE: NASA image of Mars
photo credit : James Carcass of Noszvaj caves
Credit: SVISIO