Smellicious: What is the control that you’re willing to let go of?

Utopia with the Design Nerds

Gathering around the theme of utopia, our group is meandering between seemingly nonsensical expressions of imaginary realities of the future. We have decided to take 2064 - fifty years from now - as our destination in time. For a few moments I was really about to just pack everything and leave. However, sticking with the guidelines of the Design Nerds, I made an effort to accommodate the process. It turned out to be an intriguing event with valuable points for thought. 

Utopian story proposes a vision that allows a moment of reflection. Among other ideas, we've come up with such: no one is required to work for a living; free transportation is available for all; animal-and-vegetation rights have been integrated into the social structures in human society. As our discussion had progressed our story has become a little more coherent just before we had to stand in front of the crowd.

Here is a short recap of our story as I remember it. I might have introduced some of my own interpretations in an effort to make sense of some issues. However, the credit goes to all who participated in the evening at the Hive. Over there the Design Nerds are responsible for inspiring valuable discussions that all aim at positive change to our life on earth.


The year is 2064. Global ecosystems have fallen out of balance in the late twenty teens. This collapse was followed by a wholesome voiding of economic structures. Without much notice, a quick change in humans’ sense of smell (olfaction) ensued. After millennia of loosing our olfactory communication skills, human society suddenly regained its connection to animals and plants. With new social realizations, vegetation and animal rights became central in policy making and enforcement through the judiciary system.

With a newly found use for odours of all kinds, animals and plants are now consulted in issues that until not long ago have been the sole manifestation of human interests and needs. Extraction of resources is directed by insights that are generated through quick smelling exchanges between humans, animals and machines. Fabrication of any new product, be it electronic devices or massive infrastructure developments is monitored through an elaborate network of sensors, plant material, animals and humans. Anything manufactured in the world maintains a capacity to retract so that it can be re-used or returned to nature without harm to its environment.

Atrocities of the past such as formal possession of pets, experiments conducted on animals, and much more, have come to an absolute end. The plant and animal world has been relieved from an immense source of hardship. These systemic human-centric abuses have been recognized as crimes against nature. However, no trace of stench related to memories of past oppressions could be detected coming out of non-human organisms' glands.

Paradise Lost

In a pretty short exchange among mostly unfamiliar people, some ideas shared around the table find a thread to weave a story. The process has been a hit and miss affair in my experience with the Design Nerds. When I had first seen the announcement for the Utopia evening I was intrigued. Although the experience challenged my patience, it was a worthwhile challenge. One member of another group has provided an interesting insight: for her, utopia is probably a reality that we've lost. The Utopian story can be seen as an effort to reclaim what could be right about our world. 

The gathering this week provided me with an opportunity to explore my own process of engagement. I keep coming back to a question that relates to my expectations from society and from myself. What is the control that you’re willing to let go of? If nothing else, I will check that out in the next session of the Design Nerds on January 25th, less than a week from now.

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