Leon Brown




Edinburgh College of Arts



March, 2019


Leon Brown

Stories #006

A vision of the future

Dear System

'Dear System is a study into our increasingly amorphous relationships with appliances within the home, envisioning the object as service, and the user as product. In the connected home, objects are market-driven to cannibalise attention and work in increasingly complex ways to keep it.

As Dear System produces toast, it also listens - to user feedback, emotion, and reception; becoming yet more alien as it attempts to become human. Learning, it attempts to exploit the complexities of our connected future and produce a vision of the future home; with the toaster as metaphor. The device burns targeted advertising onto toast as a means of paying for itself; while gathering seemingly useless data to build a worryingly comprehensive portrait of its owner, to be sold back to advertisers.

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Presented with the device, you are given options that teach the machine further about your behaviour around it. As you decide to view advertising, it begins to build a comprehensive image of its owner; slowly seeding preferences until the power of what bread to eat, which adverts to see, what type of spread to use, and how brown to toast, are entirely relinquished to the toaster.


Through visual design and research, this project formulated itself around the toaster as a powerful symbol of object culture.


My work is produced to manufacture discourse around technology and the built environment - and attempts to echo a wider shift within our modes of consumption - as much as the mechanisation of work has separated most individuals from the experience of witnessing making, new digital media from the internet to film-making have continued to separate us from direct contact with the information we consume.

So as the post-modern world arranges itself in increasingly complex and nuanced ways, we must work to simplify and rationalise this information to decipher in it a reality—be this the reality of technology, mass manufacture, or design—above all, Dear System hoping to teach us to scrutinise more carefully the material world.'


Dear System is also featured on the StudentDesign Youtube channel.

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