In a time of technological ubiquity how do we relate to our most personal and secret information?

Can our personal data infuse meaning into a piece of hardware?

In an over-exposed society isn't our privacy, our intimacy and our secrets the most cherished belongings?

BLACKWARE'S PROJECT STATEMENT

Blackware is a design fiction about a micro-device that stores the encrypted affective data of its owner. It works as a black hole for the self, a content capsule that is at the opposite pole of the social-network logic. You use it to un-share, to un-publish. It blackens your data, it encrypts beyond decryption, it's an input only device.

The market offers an array of small mobile devices in which we can also carry our personal information, but for our secrets we need another kind of personal device, one that can be camouflaged, something that goes beyond the mere carrying of our personal information, something more meaningful.

Blackware explores the ways in which this sensitive data can be worn and in what fashion it can relate to our body, through an inconspicuous container device.

Julian Bleecker speaks of Design Fiction as an approach to design that speculates about new ideas through prototyping and storytelling. Blackware's narrative uses text, images and objects to propose a possible universe about a specific object and the probability of its existence as a real product in a social setting.

BLACKWARE'S IMAGES

BLACKWARE Panel A

BLACKWARE prop

BLACKWARE Panel B

BLACKWARE Panel C

BLACKWARE Panel D

BLACKWARE book A Cryptology diagram

BLACKWARE book B Kircher's Arca Steganographica

BLACKWARE peep curtain

Blackware acknowledgments: Concept and creative direction by Colönia.

Special thanks to Sam Baron and Mariana Lages. Mariana Lages photographed by Luís Espinheira with Make-up by Nelson Vieira. Book pages from Siegfried Zielinski's Deep Time of the Media photographed by Luís Espinheira. Peep-Curtain photographed by Joana Machado ⁄ Colönia.

Thank you Gonçalo Campos and Marta and Mariana at Fabrica and Fabrica Features. Thank you Luís Buchinho.

BLACKWARE'S SHORT STORY

I woke up that morning and thought that it should be early. It was a marvelous feeling waking up in that room, it was totally isolated and silent. It felt like a bank vault, I loved it.
I loved the contrast between the absence of sound and the comfort of the white sheets, the giant pillows, the spacious bed.

I opened the curtains, which were double, and let the whitish strong light in.

I laid in bed again and thought about the black object that I had acquired yesterday. I got up and pick it up. It brought a small book of instructions.

I held the small black pill and contemplated it. There were no palpable outlines, it didn't had angles or edges. I looked closer. There was a tiny B sculpted on the object and nothing more. It was so simple and simultaneously difficult to understand! I felt so excited.

The phone rang. It was room service asking about breakfast.

There was a small piece of furniture with a mirror near the curtains. It was simple and elegant resembling a contemporary version of a dressing table. I preferred sitting there on my laptop that on the secretary at the end of the room.

I sat down and opened the laptop and decided to activate the software. It was fast. It was all black with gray shades. The moment had arrived and I was sure that I wanted to do it! With confidence, I dragged the folders with all the information I wanted to keep forever in the small black object and smiled to the mirror. A warning popped up: “Are you sure that you want to proceed with the •••••?” All the data will be encrypted and will be no longer accessible.”

I stood still for a few seconds that seemed like hours, looking at the warning that I've had read over and over. I hesitated for a moment. I thought if it would be safe, what would happen if someone found it, if it were possible to access the information by deciphering the code.
I cleared these thoughts away, I knew that the encryption system was the most advanced and sophisticated that existed. "And if the black object was found many years from now?" - I thought again.
By then surely it would be possible to access information by breaking the code, cryptology is rapidly evolving, and what seems safe and inaccessible, soon becomes vulnerable.

Someone knocked on the door. Breakfast had arrived. I laid in bed again. The breakfast was standard and just right. Everything was good. I did not mind that things were different than my usual breakfast. The croissant was not part of my daily diet, but it tasted specially well when I was away from home.

The light began to intensify gradually filling the room. I was curious to feel it. I opened the door and went out to the small balcony. I began to wonder what to do during the day, I felt like walking. I thought how it would be like if I took the Blackwarewith me.

I went inside and noticed that the warning was still there, quietly waiting for me. I sat in the small dressing table and pressed OK. "It's done!". I felt relieved and thought that I should not be afraid. I felt the goose bumps but felt it was due to the excitement!

I took a quick shower and rushed to dress a pair of worn blue jeans and a white cotton t-shirt. I pulled on some black leather shoes and chose the blazer with the black satin strap. I was ready, I took a last sip of the roasted coffee, closed the laptop and got the Blackware. I placed it carefully in the inner pocket of the the blazer and went out.

It was late September, but was still hot, the sun was warm and tender. Good! I loved walking in big cities that I didn't know, I loved not knowing what to expect around the next corner. I walked and walked a lot without being able to stop. I had this feeling of freedom and as I walked more, I felt more happy, and slowly forgetting about myself.



◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Acordei nessa manhã e pensei que ainda devia ser cedo. Era um sentimento maravilhoso acordar naquele quarto, era totalmente isolado e não se ouvia um único som. Parecia uma caixa forte, eu adorava. Adorava o contraste entre a ausência de som e o conforto dos lençóis brancos, das almofadas enormes, da cama cheia de espaço.

Abri as cortinas, que eram duplas, e deixei entrar a luz esbranquiçada e forte.

Deitei-me novamente na cama e fiquei a pensar no objecto que tinha adquirido ontem. Levantei-me e fui buscá-lo. Trazia um pequeno livro de instruções.

Peguei na pequena pílula preta e contemplei-a. Não tinha contornos palpáveis, não tinha ângulos nem arestas. Aproximei-a de mim. Havia um minúsculo B esculpido no objecto e nada mais. Era tão simples e simultaneamente difícil de compreender! Sentia-me muito entusiasmada.

Tocou o telefone. Era o serviço de quartos a perguntar como queria o pequeno-almoço.

Junto das cortinas havia um pequeno móvel com um espelho. Era muito simples e elegante e parecia uma versão contemporânea de um toucador. Gostava de estar ali ao computador, mais do que na secretária que estava ao fundo do quarto.

Sentei-me e abri o computador e ganhei coragem para activar o software. Foi rápido. Era todo preto com pequenas nuances cinza. Tinha chegado o momento e tinha a certeza que queria fazê-lo! Arrastei com confiança as pastas com toda a informação que queria guardar para sempre no pequeno objecto preto e sorri ao espelho.
Surgiu um aviso: “Are you sure that you want to proceed with the •••••?” All the data will be encrypted and will be no longer accessible.”

Fiquei alguns segundos parada, que me pareceram horas, a olhar para o aviso que já tinha lido vezes sem conta. Hesitei por instantes. Pensei se seria seguro, o que aconteceria se alguém o encontrasse, se fosse possível aceder à informação decifrando o código.
Logo afastei estes pensamentos, sabia que o sistema de encriptação era o mais avançado e sofisticado que existia. “E se o objecto preto fosse encontrado daqui a muitos anos?” - pensei eu novamente.
Nessa altura com certeza já seria possível aceder à informação e quebrar o código, a criptologia evolui rapidamente, e o que nos parece seguro e inacessível, torna-se vulnerável.

Tocaram à porta. Tinha chegado o pequeno-almoço. Deitei-me na cama novamente. O pequeno-almoço era muito clássico e nas medidas certas. Estava tudo bom. Não me importava que fossem coisas diferentes do meu dia-a-dia. O croissant não fazia parte da minha dieta diária, mas sabia-me especialmente bem quando estava fora de casa.

A luz começava a intensificar-se e a preencher gradualmente o quarto. Tive curiosidade de senti-la. Abri a porta e saì para o pequeno balcão que havia. Comecei a imaginar o que poderia fazer durante o dia, apetecia-me andar a pé. Pensei como seria se já levasse o Blackware comigo.

Fui-me arranjar e reparei que o aviso ainda se encontrava ali, à minha espera calmamente. Sentei-me no pequeno móvel e premi o ok. “Pronto, já está!”. Senti-me aliviada e pensei que não devia ter medo. Sentia um frio na barriga mas era da excitação!

Tomei um duche rápido e apressado, vesti uns jeans azuis muito gastos e uma t-shirt branca de algodão. Calcei uns sapatos de pala pretos de verniz e escolhi o blazer preto com uma tira de cetim. Estava pronta, dei um último gole no café torrado, fechei o computador e peguei no Blackware. Coloquei-o cuidadosamente no bolso interior do blazer e saí.

Era final de Setembro, mas ainda estava calor, o sol estava terno e morno. Que bom! Adorava caminhar em cidades grandes e que não conhecia, adorava não saber o que me esperava na próxima esquina. Caminhei e caminhei imenso sem conseguir parar. Tinha este sentimento de liberdade e à medida que caminhava mais, mais me sentia feliz e pouco a pouco ia-me esquecendo de mim própria.

BLACKWARE SPONSOR LOGOS