Theme of 2021

Why a theme? 
We primarily want to put forward a yearly theme to set the tone, a general message we’re after. This theme can be pulled through various events and eventually set the scene for the yearly ThingsCon RIOT publication we will launch in December again.

2021: EVERY____

The COVID pandemic cut short what we once called ‘regular’ life. Everyone and everything moved online or was somehow pushed into the digital realm. Our physical and digital realities are blurring more than ever. For the coming year, it will be interesting to see how this sudden change impacts our work and day-to-day lives.
What will stick? What will fade away?
Will connected technology have a new place in society, or are we all fed up with our screens and longing for a more tangible world again?
To capture these questions, this year’s Thingscon theme is EVERY_____. Throughout the coming months, we want to facilitate debate and reflection on how the world around us has rapidly ‘upgraded’ or ‘iterated’ upon itself to support novel ways of living, working, and learning.

Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic. Individuals, societies, organizations. For some of these, the impact was positive, for others it posed a large challenge. The world is in constant flux and ongoing change, but what will be the lasting impact of this sudden change?

Social relationships have been impacted quite substantially, which also opened up new spaces for design to flourish. For example, digital interactions between age groups were pushed ahead – often neglecting ethical concerns. Perhaps this stimulated awareness regarding personal agency in the digital space, but at the same time, it caused a novel appreciation of that same space.

Connected things are everywhere, but we should be aware of difference between different contexts. The pandemic has for sure redefined how we interact and use public space, but we should remain critical if this hasn’t led to technological opportunism. At the same time, the boundaries between home, learning, work, and social ‘spaces’ are blurring which should make us wonder how the relationship between physical space and performed activity has changed.

Our home environments have changed quite substantially. Homeschooling, working from home, consuming culture from home … these new activities in the home called for new things in the home as well. Think about webcams, greenscreens, projectors, tablets, notification systems. Will these new ‘things’ remain, or will we see a spike in ring light sales on the second-hand market soon? Or will we even get more things we use connected which define our new identity?

We would love to get your feedback and critical thoughts on the theme, or ideas for which activities we should be organising. Get in touch via e-mailtwitter, or via our slack community (join our Slack) – we look forward to discussing further!