Reward.Center©
— Performative Instalation
* This project is being uploaded

2019

The Reward.Center© project is an installation performing a speculative dystopia. Through a booth, it sells a room capsule hideaway as the prime solution to relief from social media stress while adding strategies to replace the yearning for it.


The Product

Enjoy 2 days alone in our Room Capsule without the stress of missing Social Media!

Having a break and leaving social media behind can itself create more stress than having it. At the Reward.Center©, stress is not an issue. Our Room Capsule is fully equipped to provide you with just the right amount of Reward feeling; the joyful rush of Dopamine you get from Social Media. You don’t have to miss it!

Notes on the research:

The Reward.Center© project is part of a research on Social Acceleration taking in consideration the different aspects of modernisation as defined by Hartmut Rosa such as the "shrinking of the present.”

Considering this premiss, this chapter looks at Social Media dependency. It showcases a product that makes use of what are often called the new Social Media diseases, particularly the Phantom Vibration Syndrome and Nomophobia to create its new commercial hit.


Social Media has proved to be one of the biggest causes of social anxiety in the present. Such platforms have been using gambling methods to create psychological cravings, wiring the same brain mechanisms of drugs such as cocaine.


The product is pitched through the Reward Patterns, a self proclaimed design by the Reward.Center©. It is sold as a way to compensate the stress of missing the rush of dopamine caused by Social Media. That way, “you don’t have to miss it!”
This was developed from the idea of the “ludic loops” such as slot machines and systems designed to lock users into a cycle of addiction. As a parallel, the Reward.Center© proclaims to believe in what it says to be “older more emancipatory kinds of media”. It draws its techniques from older games that are said to be less addictive but cause the same reward, such the Where’s Waldo.



The self-assured discourse contrasts with the absurd product. Repetitive and overwhelming patterns that are said to “obliterate the yearning for Social Media, and allow to enjoy 2 days alone.”


Design is put in motion to create a discourse to sustain an absurd product that refers to this systemic use of the discipline. It aims at opening for discussion on the role of design and a discussion on Social Media dependency, rather than feeding the cyclic production of yet another obsolete commercial attempt.

*The project was discussed with the L. Lopes Lab team from the Neurobiology Department of the Molecular Institute of Lisbon.
Tutor: Maarten Gielen
HEAD - Genève
Photography by
Baptiste Coulon & Michel Giesbrecht
Isabel Cordovil & Vera Ramires