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Emptying Out

Project details

Critical Studies

Gamification and self-tracking will not make consumers find more value in long-term behaviour and thinking, it only encourages to seek for short-term rewards. As the capitalist system is pushing towards ever growth, even alternatives like minimalism and mindfulness become part of the system they are trying to oppose. Now that sustainability is safe to be consumed, does buying more sustainable products actually change the way your brain is wired to consume? Now that you have installed an application to practice mindfulness on the daily, does that take away the source of stress?

Emptying Out is a mobile app embodying the idea of void, adding value to slowing down and putting a halt to obsessive behaviour, even when that behaviour has good intentions. It criticizes the idea that through self-tracking and using mobile applications to improve on certain habits, consumers will find more value in long-term thinking.

The app concludes that the opposite is true: using methods of self-tracking, gamification and quantifying of the self will only encourage seeking for short-term rewards, as all of these ‘solutions’ are geared towards the ever growth and development that the capitalist system is after. Personal development, mindfulness, minimalism or trying to battle shopping addiction is not a competition where in the end a winner will be crowned. It needs time and space but maybe most of all: a moment where letting go, living without a specific end goal that has to be met, simply being able to reflect on why you, as the consumer, are so eager to give in.

These ideas are visualized in an app that wants to make the user aware of their obsessive behaviour. The user might want more out of the app than it is willing to give. The application makes use of questions and thoughts, creating space for reflection and hesitation. Using these questions is important to hit the notion of uncertainty that the user might feel when trying to change habits: Is it possible to ever do it right? Can I make an exception? Am I a bad person? It also touches upon the concept of not wanting to give a laid out answer or solution to its user, encouraging them to think about the value of usability.

Emptying Out is accompanied by a website, containing a link to open up the app, more information about the concept and where you can find details about the project and the maker. 

Visit Emptying Out here

Supporting Emptying Out is the thesis, Running on Empty in which
the relationship between consumerism, insatiability and mobile applications
is explored.

Visit Running on Empty here

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