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March 2019 · Speculative Design · For: Design Investigations

Credit Criminals

→ What if our lifestyle was judged and scored according to a point system based on our sustainability? This video essay tells the story of Tom Grolan, an oil multinational who wants to bypass the Social Credit System in Austria 2030.

Social Credit Systems

Austria, 2030. The State acknowledges the environmental crisis. Every citizen’s smallest social activity is recorded, nudging the population into ‘well behaved’ citizens in order to achieve the goal of a zero carbon society. It is under such conditions that we encounter Tom Grolan, a brazen, successful businessman who has made millions working in the oil industry. While such systems are still unthinkable and downright dystopian for us, they have long been a reality in other countries. Mainly because of online behavior, people are systematically evaluated socially. This social assessment, which begins with the well-known star rating, then also affects real life and interpersonal relationships. With this short film, we tried to visualize such a scenario for Austria in 2030 in order to give the viewer the opportunity to think about the topic at an early stage.

tom grolan in car
Tom Grolan in a car
tom grolan at home
Tom Grolan at home
elena platon
The agent

Vienna Design Week

After we had exhibited the project at the 2019 Angewandte Festival, we had the opportunity to exhibit it again at the Vienna Design Week 2019. In order to present our project, a poster was designed and an interactive extra was installed. To involve the visitor in our narrative, I coded a small Electronjs app that runs on a Raspberry Pi that we installed on Location. The visitor can print out his or her own social credit score. The randomly generated social credit statement lets the visitor experience what it means to be socially judged, rewarded or even punished simply by making (invented) lifestyle choices.

Vienna Design Week 2019
Exhibition at Vienna Design Week 2019
social-credit-score printer
Social credit score printer


Starring Max Kure and Elena Platon. Created by Carmen Farr, Lucy Li and Me. This Project would not have been possible without the help of Bernhard Riedl, Can Denzer and DI Team.