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Provocation Design: Everyday life shuffle machine

Provocation Design: Everyday life shuffle machine

Randomisation mechanisms are a successful way to make the incomprehensible amount of digital content consumable. Every time we scroll in the news feed or press a shuffle function we gamble with what content receives our attention. Although it is not transparent how algorithms influence this randomisation and how much of it is actually still random, the mechanism works and holds our attention. The installation deals with the question whether this mechanism can also be used to consume less digital contents. Press the button and find out.


Everyday life shuffle machine:

Through global digitalisation we have access to almost all music, videos, movies, digital tools, products, knowledge and even people that exist with just a few clicks at any time. This digital availability is exponentially increasing.

To get an idea there are more videos added daily to YouTube than someone could watch in their entire lifetime. 500 hours of video content per minute are added to the platform. Facebook still the largest social media platform has 2.85 billion monthly active users today. That is more than one fourth of the world population. Netflix has almost 5500 movies and 2400 series available in Germany and is changing the offers frequently. There are 5.6 Million Apps available and daily more than 3800 apps are added on a daily bases. Spotify hosts now over 80 Million songs in total and daily 60.000 new songs daily.

With the rising digital abundance the opportunity costs, the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen, grows rapidly too. In other words the weight of things we are not doing, gets heavier every day. This has an influence in our experience and behaviour. It shapes the way we consume. For instance today we rather skip music than listing attentively to the full album. That affects also the length of music today. The average length of a song went from 04:13 in 1980 to 03:13 in 2020. This fast paced consumption amplifies the demand for more content and further accelerates the consumption.

Randomisation is one mechanism that tries to deal with the vast amount of digital material in order to make it better consumable. Passively in form of news feeds driven by algorithms and data or actively as digital shuffle function that chooses for you.

The exhibition piece “Everyday life shuffle machine” takes the randomisation aspect out of the digital context and puts it into an analog context to evoke new perspectives to its seductive mechanisms. The machine gives randomised incentives to spend more time away from the virtual world and uses the gambling aspect to rise excitement for little quests that are chosen randomly for you. When pressing the button the machine prints out a activity for you.


Ein Projekt von


Design Master

Art des Projekts

Studienarbeit im Masterstudium


foto: Marek Tuszynski foto: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Meier foto: Stephanie Hankey

Zugehöriger Workspace

Provocation Design


Wintersemester 2022 / 2023