Speculative Design - A Dream Of Body's Calling

Project Summary

In this speculative design project, my team member and I questioned the predestined metrics of time as well as the boundaries of body and society.
Inspired by menstruation's cyclical pattern, we noticed menstruation forms an alternative time perception for people with menstruation. For example, we often depend on menstruation cycle to recall past events or arrange future schedules. However, menstruation is not a universal physical phenomenon shared by all. We decided to use two other common "body events": 1. Eye Blinking and 2. Stomach Rumbling, to investigate how physical events can form another time metric.

Timeline: December 2019 - May 2020

My Role: Researcher, Designer

Team members: Tuan-Ting Huang, Chao-Min Wu

Eye blinking defines a smaller time unit, relative to stomach rumbles, which defines bigger units. As there are no longer a fixed metric to calculate time, time becomes subjective and individualized. With these two body events, we speculated a world where time units are re-defined.


There are two devices that work as "clocks" in the world, which are attached to eyelids and belly buttons respectively. They provide people with references for time via vibrations and sounds.
With this new definition of time, we discussed what changes might occur within individuals, relationships, and society through the project.

Scenario 1, Individuals: <Personal Recipe>

In this video, we record how K makes a pudding based on her own recipe. Recipes are often thought of a precise experiment of food, temperature, and time. However, when there are no longer a standard communal time metric, how can we abide by time? Recipes become a private ownership, changing from texts of instructions into body's memory. Every cuisine becomes unique and irreproducible.

Scenario 2, Relationships: <Sharing Time With You>

A black and white photo of two person holding hands, wearing a small device on their belly button, keeping their physical time in sync.

If time runs on each individual's physical events, standards of ideal spouses shift would shift as well. If each individual lives in a private time zone, parallel to others, then the idea of "soul mate" will cease to exist. Rather, "sharing body's time" will become a new way to connect with significant others, taking physical conditions into considerations. Conceptions of time will enter the realm of privacy, and attach to personal identity. If time is based on body, would love then, be more intimate than ever?

Media: Photography edited in Photoshop.

Scenario 3, Society: <Working Scene>

In this video, we discussed how this time metric affects a collective scene. As we now work in a world where time zone are meticulously calculated and regulated by institutions, working hours are fixed and often unnegotiable. However, in this alternative world, people follow their biological clock , working in their own time zones to match with biological needs. They desynchronize. All paces exist in every workspace.

Body and time are the two keywords that recapitulates our project.

In traditional Taiwanese culture, physical bodies are stigmatized continuously and considered as something that should be hidden. By displaying physiological phenomena publicly and making them the foundation of time, we bring human bodies into public discussion: How could we view biological bodies from a whole and healthier way?

By recognizing the norms and speculating an alternative way of thinking about our physical self, the body is no longer a site of shame and the Other, but testimony and celebration of our harmonic existence in the world.

As for “time,” we were forced to live in precision since the Industrial Revolution. The alienation between body, labor, and living has increasingly enlarged. In this fictional world, people live in fluid and personalized time. Although not entirely meticulous, the pros and cons caused by the new time definition are also worth discussion. For us, who are used to chasing time, would it be possible to bring some possibilities of “re-relaxation” of time by this new awareness? We want to invite the audience into the discussion of body and time, further discovering other possibilities.