Issue 22: Future Digital Screens, Apply Directly to Eyeballs
View this email in your browser

Issue 22: Future Digital Screens, Apply Directly to Eyeballs

As we hurtle forward into this new decade, the concept of 'digital detoxing' is a non-stop growing trend. Despite this, technological advancements that make us and society even more dependent on being plugged in hasn't slowed. In this issue of The Slow Scroll, we explore the future of digital screens as contact lenses, future biotechnology prisons, and chat with artist Eric Pickersgill.

The Display of the Future Might Be in Your Contact Lens

Imagine scrolling a screen or even playing music by simply moving your eyes back and forth. That's the intended future of Mojo Lens, a "smart contact lens" being worked on by a California-based company called Mojo Vision.

The possibilities of this technology are exciting: it could allow one to dictate notes by just speaking, pull up prompt points with no PowerPoint, and check the weather without even checking your phone. Mojo Vision was even given "Breakthrough Device Designation", which allows companies that could help people with debilitating conditions (in this case, blindness) for fast-track development and FDA-approval.

While it's a few years away from market, the consequences of having screens literally on our eyeballs also could be very problematic, and is a bit reminiscent of a technology predicted by Black Mirror's The Entire History of You.

Future Biotechnology Prisons To Serve '1,000 Year Sentences In 8.5 Hours' 

Some may already feel trapped by the addictive nature of technology—but for the imprisoned, future sentences may use biotechnology "to trick a prisoner's mind into thinking they have served a 1,000 year sentence." 

Philosophers and scholars have also looked into psychoactive drugs as a way to distort time and make life sentences longer. The benefits are practical, since a longer prison time served mentally means saving money and costs to house the prisoner. Another argument for this type of prison would give a person more time of their actual life for rehabilitation.

However, this concept is likewise frightening, and of course liable to abuse. 

Send this to a friend who needs to slow down. Invite them over for tea and turn both of your phones in airplane mode.

Interview: Artist Eric Pickersgill On His Series 'REMOVED'

Eric Pickersgill is is a full time artist, husband, and father working in North Carolina.

His viral series REMOVED features striking portraits of “individuals who appear to be holding personal devices although the devices have been physically removed from the sitter’s hand.”

We chat with him about his project and about keeping connected IRL. Read on for more! 

Photo Credit: Pierre Wetzel
Where’s your happy place?
Right now, sitting on the floor in my son’s room, playing with blocks. I know that they’ll grow up soon, and so I’m cherishing every moment and being very fully into it. 

What’s the artistic process like for REMOVED? 
When the project started, I was photographing family and friends— I wouldn’t give them too much information and they wouldn’t have time to overthink it. I’d spend an afternoon with them and say, ‘pretend I’m not here—what would you be doing right now?’

Then, I’d slide the phone from their hands. It’s more of a collaboration, since I’m asking them to hold that pose. I’m directing them, it’s not photoshopped. They have to lock into the posture; feel what it feels like to be in that position, and to think about that headspace; when you’re sucked in and you’re not thinking about where you are and how you look. 

What’s been most rewarding is approaching strangers and photographing them; afterwards we’ve established a relationship, which subverts the idea that the phone is isolating because in this case it’s created a continued connection.
Angie and Me, 2014. By Eric Pickersgill.
What’s next for the project, and how has it evolved? 
I hope to expand the demographic of those featured in the project. This is an international paradigm shift. I want to represent all different types of people, ages, geographies, and classes. There are just so many more people that need to be present within this kind of snapshot of the digital revolution. People have greater reactions to images that they see themselves in, if they don’t have that access point, the project falls flat.

Definitely. REMOVED has exhibited internationally—how do you see the responses in different cultures?  
It seems that in the States we’ve bent our expectations of each other to conform with our digital lifestyles. The expectation is that our digital life should be answered right now, and if someone pulls out their phone in front of you, the tendency is to grant them that freedom because we want that same freedom. It’s a very universal thing, and there are huge markets that are still untapped; expansion is still happening, 

Do you have a favorite photo from the series?
Angie and Me. It’s me and my wife in bed; it’s this specific intimate space. I think it’s the one that triggers people the most. Other than that, perhaps Lotus in a Flower Shop. It’s this man I photographed in Hanoi, amongst artificial flowers. I love his posture, the idea of him being surrounded by fake beauty. It’s beautiful but not real. 

What tips do you have for our audiences for living IRL?
To be honest, my wife and I still have our own struggles with it. I don’t want to come across as a boomer, but it’s a constant balancing act. My wife is a third year pediatrics resident and works 80 hours a week. We have a three year old, and at the end of the day she wants to scroll through to catch up. But I do think we have higher expectations of each other. It’s a moving target and the point is to stay aware of our use and support each other to be as present as possible. 

Thank you Eric! Look out for future projects and exhibitions of his work on the digital disconnect by keeping up with him on his website and Instagram (the irony, we know).
Thank you for reading The Slow Scroll. As always please e-mail us here with any feedback, thoughts, or tips. 

Why ‘The Slow Scroll’?

Social Isolation is Killing Us. Tech companies are failing us. And we’re all hopelessly addicted to our screens.

Living IRL has never been more important.

That’s why we created The Slow Scroll, a weekly newsletter by IRL Labs, sent directly to your inbox (oh the irony). The Slow Scroll curates the latest and most inspiring content and resources, empowering readers to untether and live slowly.

Brought to you by...

Ivan Cash, Editor-in-Chief
Cyrena Lee, Editor and Lead Writer
Erin Ellis, Illustrator

Kimberly Lewis, Producer

Mailing Address
IRL Labs
PO BOX 24213
Oakland, CA 94623
Copyright © 2020 IRL Labs, All rights reserved.
The Slow Scroll is a curated newsletter dedicated to helping you live IRL. 
IFNOT:ARCHIVE_PAGE|* You signed up for the IRL Newsletter or backed IRL Glasses on Kickstarter

Love the ethos of The Slow Scroll but want less emails in your life? We totally get it!
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp