Stimulating work

21.06.2016 CSM : Nicky Vu : Sin-thetic Superpowers
Sin-Thetic Superpowers by Nicky Vu, London Sin-Thetic Superpowers by Nicky Vu, London
Sin-Thetic Superpowers by Nicky Vu, London Sin-Thetic Superpowers by Nicky Vu, London
Sin-Thetic Superpowers by Nicky Vu, London Sin-Thetic Superpowers by Nicky Vu, London

London – For his final project, Central Saint Martins (CSM) graduate Nicky Vu imagined how societal acceptance of cognitive enhancers will affect our lifestyles.

  • Sin-Thetic Superpowers is a speculative project imagining a society that runs on stimulants
  • Vu uses a kitsch 1950s aesthetic to evoke the era in which the modern pharmaceutical industry was born

Recent research cited by Vu shows that one in five British students has already taken cognitive enhancement drugs including Modafinil, Ritalin and Adderall to keep them focused for longer in the hope of performing better in their studies.

‘Nowadays there is an undeniable competitive nature in our society, and it is pushing us to work and exceed our natural limit,’ explains Vu. ‘In order to cope with these new pressures, we are turning to drugs and stimulants to get ahead of the game.’

For his final project on CSM’s Material Futures Master’s course, Vu has created prototypes for products designed to fit this society in which cognitive enhancers are widely accepted and tiredness is taboo. Vu created products including the Lappy Carry, a laptop harness that lets people work on the go, and a series of skincare products and applicators to fight the rashes caused by Modafinil abuse.

The Big Picture

Created for Silicon Valley hackers, nootropics are food-based products that boost specific cognitive functions, including memory and resilience to stress, and are finding their way into the mainstream. Find out more in The Optimised Self macrotrend.