Peter Martin

 Night Screen, 2018

Peter Martin and Jon Canon

LED screens and digital video

In the early 20th century, the Bauhaus shaped a new understanding of society by deconstructing and reevaluating the materials that were born through the industrial revolution. This lineage of materials in globalised industrialisation has lead to manufacture and production of smartphones and digital devices.
The emergence of social media and smartphones impact our culture and economy today just as industrialisation did in the 1800s

“The major advances in civilisation are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur” A N Whitehead

(Medium is the Massage, Mcluhan/Fiore 1967)

Just as the Bauhaus created modes of understanding Modernism and the effects of design on our lives, we want to use the methods of the Bauhaus as a starting point to create modes of understanding for interpreting our now digitally immersed lives.

Night Screen is a concept proposition for the three major social media services to shut down their websites every evening between the hours of 11pm and 7am and release their collective 2.6 billion users from their platforms.

These platforms employ a range of persuasive design elements and design mechanics to keep users eternally online and connected. Notifications, likes, messages and the variable reward mechanism of our Newsfeed are all designed to make users continually checking and engaging with their phones. As of 2017, the average american checks their phone 150 times a day.

In the 1980s, the BBC would have a sign off routine every evening and would shut down after last evening programme. A holding slide of a graphic or a clock would be displayed until programming resumed the next day. In a era before 24 hour news cycles and constant connectivity through the internet and our mobile phones, the sign off screens gave viewers a sense of finality to their day and by not seeking to engage your attention any longer gave you the impetus to rest.

Despite social media companies starting to implement small features within their platforms to address social media addiction Night Screens offer an alternate solution. When a user accesses these platforms after 11pm, they will be met with a holding page advising them to return in the morning. Also on the page will be a video, in the style of slow television. In opposition to the fragmented and reactionary nature of social media content, these films will be durational shots designed for the opposite user experience; to relax the viewer.