Bompas & Parr, the experience design studio you might know from awesome food experiments during event workshops and explosions on the WDCD mainstage, forecasts the future of creativity in a mid-virus and post-virus world. In Fluid Landscapes, their latest trend report, Bompas & Parr look at the behavioral change in humans in times of the pandemic, identifying trends that invite us to take a fresh perspective of the ‘new normal’ we’re heading for.
We selected a few of their predictions, which offer a view as to what might happen as we travel through the pandemic, and what might happen further into the future when the pandemic ceases and people are allowed back into the world. From Isolated Eating to New Taboos and Continued Hygiene. Each of the predictions is presented with potential creative solutions.
Let’s have a look at some of their ideas – an encouragement to start thinking about shaping the future once the biggest impact of the virus is behind us.
‘As we travel through the pandemic, it is becoming clear that brands are needing to change the way that they interact with customers. We have seen brewers like Beavertown offer virtual pub quizzes, streaming services like Netflix offer virtual parties, and fashion houses like Bottega Veneta launch creative residencies.’
But what will really last in this rapidly changing world?
The New Normal: ASMR Healing
Normal has a new face mask. As we adjust to life indoors and at distance, we look for new ways to continue life as best we can, whilst incorporating new and restrictive measures into our daily routines.
We want to thrive, not just survive. Cue creative ways of living this new normal.
Many people are currently living in a restless state of fear and uncertainty. Now due to new protective instructions, we are living at distance from one another, further amplifying the desire for comfort and contact. On a ‘normal’ day we would have the option to book a treatment at a spa to relax and unwind, but such a thing is not possible anymore. So, how can we bring calm and comfort to those in need without touch?
A virtual spa could be the answer. Imagine ASMR ‘treatments’ among other alternative healing therapies such as distance Reiki and slime videos available for download from an interactive microsite with all the cues of a spa. Recent studies have reported that ASMR may provide temporary relief of chronic pain, stress, and depression. feelings of well-being, improved mood, stress and anxiety relief, and relaxation. It helps our brains release Oxytocin which causes a deep sense of trust and comfort.
Isolated Eating: MindTasting
As the pandemic forces us to stay at home, we are gaining less access to foods than in the world pre-virus. A trip down to the local shop is becoming less inspiring, as stock runs low. So what if we could make the food that you can eat, more exciting?
This idea stemmed from an experiment that Chef Heston Blumenthal did in 2018, who found a link between gut and memory by experimenting with the taste of wine. He found that by sipping wine whilst ‘picturing someone you loved dearly’, and then sipping wine imagining someone you disliked, resulted in a much bitter taste in the latter. Later experiments of this proved that the same foods can taste different just by changing what you are thinking about when you eat or drink them. Imagine, you have one bar of chocolate left in the cupboards, but by tapping into your memory bank, you can make the same piece of chocolate taste like vanilla with one bite and then like tobacco with the second.
As the pandemic ceases across the world and the virus stops its spread, we look at what impact this might have. It is currently unknown as to how long the world will have to continue to practice these unprecedented levels of hygiene, but new habits will be formed, and interactions will change.
New Taboos: Haptics Museum Refreshed Indulgence
Following the stringent guidelines during the pandemic to not touch any part of the face, stay at a 2m distance from those outside the household, and the advice to wear gloves whilst out shopping for essential items, we explore post- virus taboos, as we begin to engage the senses again.
After the pandemic has petered out, will the human race develop cravings to play with food again? Whilst the Haptics Museum helps those who have developed a fear of touch, Refreshed Indulgence explores the opposite behaviour of touch desires. Imagine a filthy all-in food extravaganza with one rule: no cutlery. A haptic, delicious pleasure, wrapped in beautiful mess and chaos. Certainly a contrast to pandemic rationing and sanitised surfaces.
Continued Hygiene: Microscopic Menagerie
With a global population drilled on enhanced hygiene by governments, creatives and the world’s news outlets, a heightened awareness of microbial flora and fauna will inform how we navigate the world. Better hygiene brings many benefits. On the flip-side, overzealous use of cleaning agents can potentially have negative effects. The hygiene hypothesis states that early childhood exposure to particular microorganisms (such as the gut flora and helminth parasites) protects against allergic diseases by contributing to the development of the immune system. New strategies, installations, and exhibitions can help us walk this line of danger in a thought-provoking, playful and socially acceptable style.
Though in a post-COVID19 world we will continue to be obsessed with sanitisation and hand washing, germs are essential to good health. Research published by microbiologists and bioinformaticians from Harvard Medical School and Joslin Diabetes Centre in 2019 suggested there were more genes in the human microbiome than stars in the observable universe.
For this project, a travelling microscopic menagerie sets out to celebrate the strange, disgusting and amazing ways germs help our bodies, from fecal transplants to the importance of aligning microbes in finding your partner.
Download the Fluid Landscapes report here.