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James Sunderland

MA work

Slipping the Net

Slipping the Net proposes a range of networked objects that enable an individual to perceive their dependency on the immaterial online services around them and introduce rituals around the act of network disconnection.

The first device, The Network Gauge, monitors the user's reliance on different aspects of the wireless services around them; from reliance on the physical infrastructure of the internet, to dependence on it as a support to memory, to the extent that the user's personality is captured and commoditised. Based on these variables the machine slowly dispenses a powder into a figure-shaped cavity. This powder is formed into wearable amulets, which serve as a reminder to the individual of their dependence on networked systems and services.

The second machine, The Data Emitter, supports a ritual of digital deletion. Digital files that the user considers a burden, such as emails, or the archive files for a social networking account, can be transferred to the machine. The machine erases these files and generates a smoke pattern based upon their content.


  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Design Interactions, 2015

  • I am a designer and researcher concerned with the ideologies that lurk behind the slick surface of modern digital products. More broadly I am interested in the unseen forces which shape contemporary culture, be they networked finance, electronic communication or applications of psychoanalysis.

    In my work I attempt to make visible, deconstruct and question some of these forces. I want to challenge the notion that early twenty-first century culture is post-ideological, and that the digital tools we live with are enabling us to become happy self-actualised, productive beings.

  • Degrees

  • BA Design for Industry, University of Northumbria, 2006