Otium Radio -
A fictional state, which relies on unthinkable resources and operated a technocratic form of governance.
Otium Radio is the only source of civic communication in state which operates on a sytem of hard and soft leisure time. This design fiction aims to highlight systems of control, the power of the media and a character study, to examine an exaggerated world of extremes, referencing the situationists, public relation techniqies and todays social boundaries.
Outline of exhibited installation, character study and project.
Felix Hoenikker Jr lives in Otium, and he's not so sure about staying.Regular trips to the spa's and fitness centres have eloped his waistline, and his engineering expertise has been playfully entertained. Life is good, he has all he needs but for some reason he's feeling trapped.
After the break up of the United Kingdom and the formation of the UmK, the county of surrey became the largest acquisition of Exxon Mobil in the companies history. The company used its existing headquarters in Leatherhead and in collaboration with Technocracy Inc, the American Miscellaneous society and consultants from disney developments, a plan was devised to create an industrial and social utopia.
The aim was to create the worlds first magma power station facilities, and to provide those who worked and inhabited the state with a life of fulfilment, whilst maintaining total productivity. Exxon renamed the county OTIUM, and used pioneering research to make magma power stations, drilling miles into the earths core and using lava to generate electricity. Multiple volcanic power stations were tested and created, and proved to be a phenomenal success.
Soon Otium was able to produce cheaper energy than its rivals with more conventional resources, and swiftly became a supplier for much of the UmK and parts of europe. The inhabitants of Otium all worked for Otium, at the power stations and within the new areas of research developed by Exxon Mobil, and were considered participants, having to sign a contract keeping them within the state for a minimum of 10 years. These were named "lifestyles A, B or C" Otium prided itself on its own version of the good life making health, fitness, leisure and psychological wellness a priority, contributing to a highly productive and motivated society of employees.
Employees all enjoyed the profits of Otium, although under contract they could not leave or save any money, simply spend and enjoy it. Money ceased to exist except as a ritualism, everything was in abundance, and similar to the proposed energy certificates of Technocracy Inc, the inhabitants of Otium were provided with Otium Blanks (paper and electronic), which were in endless supply, and could be exchanged for goods and services. The work for Otium was presented as a pastime rather than toil, and participants spend half the year working in the power facility, (hard Leisure) and had half the year not working (soft leisure), a new social order was conceived, and the technocratic calendar was implemented with numbers taking the place of the usual days of the week.
The social order however presented leisure activities for those not working, that in fact fed back into the research and development of Otium, for example, Technological Folly competitions were created, where teams were challenged to make, design or build specific components supposedly for fun, which were infact prototype parts for new power plants. The state was run by a consortium of scientists, engineers and social psychologists, with an emphasis on participants health and fitness. In order to maintain a constant form of control and to persuade a specific way of life, a single radio station was devised.
Radio Otium became a source of social order, broadcast constantly and providing the inhabitants with a perpetual narrative, by day the broadcast included regular updates on productivity, economic rates and new developments within Otium. Regular exercise routines were broadcast, promoting a sense of wellness, and motivational or sleep learning exercises took over at night, forming an unavoidable cognitive education.