A Future Without Retirement

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Molly Davies’ final project, which imagines a future without retirement, comes in two parts: The Future of Leisure (white) and Quantifying Retirement (black).

The Future of Leisure presents a narrative based on an increasingly emergent reality: a life with no retirement.

“In a post-industrial age, work is no longer labour intensive, and for this reason society is shifting. There has been a revival in crafts and ‘slow living’, with craft deeply rooted within leisure and argued by Ruskin and Morris that it is a form of counter-action opposing capitalist evil. Today, revival in making and physical production have become methods of connecting us with the material world, contributing towards our self-formation. It is this context which pushed the extreme imagination of what leisure may look like in the future within the realms of craft as an instrument of freedom from the workplace.

The project began with pattern-driven visual outcomes. A particular study has been the Excel spreadsheet. Richly associated with ‘work’ and devoid of compassion, found patterns were created from visual research. These printed textiles acted as entry points to begin exploring how work can manipulate leisure. Realised as domestic pieces, such as cushions or pillows, they evolved into a part of a domestic environment. The future workplace is an immersive experience: the individual faces no escape from work as the textile pieces subtly overtake the home or leisure space”.

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“Quantifying Retirement branched off the research conducted from The Future of Leisure. One study read that The New Economics Foundation is pushing for millennials to adopt a ‘slow retirement’ in the form of giving up one hour of work per week from the age of 35 until, presumably, death.

Timesheets were calculated to understand what ‘slow retirement’ would equate to, revealing it would only be 120 days [according to average life expectancy and average working days a year in the UK]. The time sheets were stacked to visualise this extreme idea. In order to create a conflict between traditional retirement and the new alternatives, I researched package holidays which target the over 60s group.

Wishing to screen print the stack, I created a custom jig for a screen that would print only on the height of the stack. After a long period of trial and error, the jig was perfected. The images exposed on the facades present an all too familiar, yet unobtainable, retirement”.

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