Under The Influence

with Ciril Trcek and Peik Greaker

InCon is a fictional product that anticipates a future in which internet addiction has become so prevalent that it is widely acknowledged as an equivalent to substance addiction.

With the rising number of internet addicts, new rehab clinics, therapy methods,
medical procedures, pharmaceuticals and self-monitoring devices emerge.

Dystopia? Or inevitable reality?

Judging by recent developments, we are brazenly ignoring our mental demise as a species.

The web offers a myriad of recreational opportunities designed specifically to activate
our brain’s pleasure center and offer immediate gratification, which we begin to crave
more and more – we develop a cycle comparable to a classic case of substance abuse.

Except – there’s no substance.

The individually varying pattern of dependency poses a great challenge in the development of standardized therapy – is it gambling?
Porn? Social media? Wikipedia? MMORPGs?  The only defining trait of this novel affliction is the portal enabling it – our devices.

How can we treat an addiction to a service we need to keep using in our day-to-day lives?

We created InCon, a company that prides itself on helping recovering internet addicts regain control of their lives.

The most popular product in their online shop:

InCon Ito, an undershirt which is connected to your smartphone, helping users
ease back into controlled internet use little by little, using different mechanisms.

Whether you are fresh out of rehab, or simply taking preventive measures, InCon Ito is there to protect and serve.

The app controls the parameters of different layers of restriction:

•  small vibration timers and medical stat transmission on the chest module
•  a wi-fi jammer on the lower band
•  a panic pad on the neck module and
•  bone induction time warning systems in the earpiece.

Depending on the severity of the addiction and the individual therapy plan, users can remove layers in time.

During the first project drafts and the initial research phase, we
suggested radical measures against addiction. We explored the
detox process, the psychology of addiction, and rehab hospitals.

But as the concept unfolded, we realized that the finality of needing constant supervision sparked discussion – what happens after rehab?

After all, people need to keep using the internet in everyday life (as opposed to drugs),
leading to a constant inner struggle with temptation – which is where it gets personal.

We combined the aesthetics of the pharmaindustry, sportswear and smart
technology to create the familiarity our project needed in order to feel “real“.

Now get off my website and go forth into nature!

(I’m kidding. I need work.)

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