The Adrenalizer™ series consists of sports equimpent developed to enhance performance
for athletes. They specifi cally aim to boost the natural energy levels and production of adrenaline to heighten your senses. Using only the adrenaline naturally produced in the body, these products provide legal means to enhance sports performance.
All of the products have the ability to add extra power when it’s needed to reach the top and
win that gold. With their high quality materials and simple but effi cient technology, the Adrenalizer series are the latest in performance enhancing products.
The series consists of the Smell-Ya-Later Backpack™, the Sting Adrenalizer™, the Time Trapper™ and the E-Teazer™. The four products uses diff erent senses to generate irritation, fear, disgust leading to anger. They provide a range of intensity and time span, targeting a breadth of sports. Both the Sting Adrenalizer™ and the Smell-Ya-Later Backpack™ come with a selection of addatives to provide a wider spectre of possibilities.
Everyone has been angry. Irritated. Frustrated. It’s human! You know that tingling sensation in the body, and the irritation building up inside. That sensation, a rush of energy, that’s adrenaline. It’s an empowering chemical that is naturally released as a reaction to high amount of stress, anger or fear, and that in extreme cases can provide us with superhuman strength. This reaction, this natural boost of energy, is the basis for my master thesis.
Anger. Empowerment. Adrenaline.
I have used this human quality, and designed a series of devices that uses the idea of provokation from torture, to trigger anger for athletes to use as a form of natural doping.That is the result. In the beginning, it was just anger. This topic came from my own frustration of not being able to show or manage my own anger.
Being Scandinavian, I have an ambivalent relationship to this emotion, which by social norms in this part of the world is labelled as a taboo. I find it interesting that a deeply rooted emotion can be something that many of us never learn to control or handle, because we do not express it, or even talk about it as a consequence of its negative connotations. The positive sides of anger are not so much spoken of, as the inner drive for change that come from anger, or that frustration from failure is what triggers motivation to succeed. My aim was to take this emotion, break it apart and highlight the positive side in a design that generate reflections in the mind of the observer.
The intention of this project is not to be moralistic or propose a solution, but to generate new questions through design.
So what is anger? It’s the most powerful emotion we have and it has the ability to both build and break social connections. The cause for becoming angry is individual and subjective. It originate in other common feelings such as fear, envy, stress or disappointment. If an outside force, provoke you by doing something you do not want or like, the brain starts sending signals that starts production of chemicals to prepare the body for fight or flight.
Among these we find the adrenaline Epinephrine, which has the ability to release a hidden form of energy in your muscles called ATP.
From this, i found my working definition of anger. Anger is an internal emotion driven by chemicals that lead to aggression, which is the response and outlet of the emotion. The inclination can be instant or slow, and the strength goes from mild irritation to frustration, anger and rage.
Studies show that the physical reactions and expressions of emotions are non culture specific, but generic. We learn how to interpret those reactions in order to make a judgement and decide an appropriate response. This social learning is culture specific and is called social norms. In both the Norwegian and Swedish societies there are strong normative values to emotional expressions, especially in public space.
But at the same time, it still exists. We get angry. The way many of us handle anger is by pushing it down and pretend everything is ok. The effect is not that the anger disappears, but it transforms the way you think and behave and is expressed in other forms, usually through passive aggressive behaviours. Many of us see anger as a negative emotion that doesn’t serve any purpose. This create a fear of becoming angry, even when it might be necessary. Anger empowers us to correct wrongdoings against us and it pushes us to try again when we fail.
Emotions and competition are strongly connected, and anger from failure drive you to try harder. By breaking it down into
cause - chemical reaction - aggressive outlet
we find the chemical Adrenaline as one of the active ingredients of this emotion. Within sports, this substance is labelled as doping because of its performance enhancing qualities. This allow me to use the empowering qualities of anger to create tools that can be used as natural doping within sports.
Being a professional athlete requires extremely hard work, and there is a great amount of pressure on you. It is tempting to take short cuts. There are hundreds of substances and steroids that are not allowed to use as an active athlete, because of their performance enhancing character.
Among these we find Epinephrine, that as my research shows, can be naturally produced by the body. It has intense physical effects such as a sudden boost of energy, increased strength, heightened pain tolerance, increased breathing and heightened senses, that can prove valuable in situations of explosive sports performance.
Anger and fear of harm are closely connected, it triggers anger as a mean to escape a threatening situation. By using inspiration from torture, I could create tools that uses the idea of pain to provoke aggression, to force the body to produce adrenaline.
This gave me a research question:
Would adrenaline produced in your own body still be doping?
Most forms of doping are substances that are added to the body. The list of what is not allowed grow constantly as new ways to enhance performance are discovered. To create some kind of rules as to what is allowed or not, the international doping committee of WADA has three criteria that they use, where a substance or method that meets two of these criteria becomes prohibited.
1) It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance
2) It represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete
3) It violates the spirit of sport
Balancing on a fine line between allowed and forbidden, in the territory of the ambiguous, I developed scenarios and ideas of different tools. They are called the Adrenalizer series.
The colours I have chosen are aposomatic, referencing both nature’s way of warning for a potential danger. Sports equipment often use these strong contrasting colors, making it perfect for me to use.
Given the potential hazard of using the tools, the most natural combination is the one we have learnt to represent danger, black and yellow.
It is quite obvious that there are a few ethical issues with this project. As a designer I believe in the ethical rules of human rights. But as an artist, I also have the right to raise questions by crossing those boundaries. ”Ethics investigates ”What actions are right or wrong in particular circumstances?” In practice, ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong”. I do not wish to give an answer to what is right or wrong, that reflection is left for the observer.
I have in this project, had the opportunity to cross into a territory of ambiguity where it could take shape and where I could design with artistic freedom to push beyond the edge of what is accepted. This in its turn, opened up a space for reflection, where new questions could arise.
These questions revolve around pressure and demands on athletes, ethics, values and human rights in a perspective larger than this project. What is torture? If it is self inflicted, is it still torture? How far are you willing to go as an athlete? How sick is the system around top athletes? Are athletes not humans?
What is human, if some of the properties of our own nature is not allowed to feel or express? How can I even be able to make this kind of project and should it really be necessary to have a tool to entitle you to be angry?