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Born 1983 in Macclesfield, England. Austin is a researcher at the Royal College of Art, Design Interactions department and co-founder of the FOM design awards.

His work takes an experimental approach towards design; often leading to the development of new methodologies that generate alternative perspectives and challenge the status quo.

A monetary system designed within the cultural context of George Orwell’s’ ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’.

Beyond the paternalistic control of big brother and between the super states of Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, lie the disputed territories. Due to the continual change of ruler over these areas, no trusted financial institution has ever been established. Rather the people living within these areas have developed a payment system, which serves as both personal protection and a medium of exchange. This payment method embodies two ideas of value; on the one hand wealth and on the other life. The trader’s greed for gold is often tempered by the penultimate meaning of loss.

'‘Wealth beyond big brother,’ is the latest practical project from my Phd research. The focus of which is the development of a new design method called ‘Counterfictional design’. This method shifts contemporary design constraints, by using social science fiction novels as a framework to design alternative socially dependent technologies.

Initially presented at the Royal Geographical Society Conference:

RCA biennial: Why would I lie :

People within the disputed territory mostly trade with people they know. Thereby employing a type of gift economy. However, when a resource is needed from another area, trade with strangers is inevitable.

Historically these trades have often ended in blood shed. The sellers want to get the best price and the buyers hate to be exploited. These issues could be regulated through legislation within a state controlled culture. However within this context, the factions have decided to cast their currency into the form of bullets. Creating a payment system, which acts as security and therefore helps contextualise the meaning of value.

‘All of the disputed territories contain valuable minerals, and some of them yield important vegetable products such as rubber.’ 1984 George Orwell, Page 195

Through continual war and invasion, the disputed territory regions have been depleted of most natural resources. Scarcity of even semi precious metals like copper has led to a high demand for such materials. Therefore gold, silver and copper act as a standard ‘store of value’ and ‘medium of exchange.’