National ZhuaZhou Baby Referendum

Speculative Design, Poster Zine


A speculative design project that remixes the current western referendum voting process with ZhuaZhou and many other Taiwanese traditions.

Special thanks to Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby and everyone at “Utrans Lab: Designed Realities”.

Taiwan hosted its fifth national referendum on 18 December 2021. All four questions were popular initiatives. Questions ranged from engineering questions about the reconstruction of a nuclear power plant to relocating a third liquid natural gas.

Questions that whether they are adopted or not will affect the future of a nation for many generations. Questions that will be decided by people who might not fully understand the topics or do not have access to professional domain knowledge to foresee the consequences.

After that, I began on a journey of visualizing what an alternate value system can be? What are values, logics, beliefs, and superstitions? What kind of world is different from the current western logical democratic procedures we live in?

Many Taiwanese believe one-year-old babies can predict their future. The ritual called ZhuaZhou is performed by putting a baby in front of objects that each represent a different future.

Drawing inspiration from this, I designed a zine, ‘National Baby ZhuaZhou Referendum’, that remixes the current western referendum based voting process with ZhuaZhou and other Taiwanese traditions, such as Auspicious Ruler, Poe Divination, and Enlightenment Gong to ask:

Who gets to decide the future of a nation? How are the procedures and rules in different systems defined? And why are they the way they are?
I created an unreasonably large baby blue zine that explains all the procedures in detail. It's so big that you feel like a baby when you're holding it.

It challenges the fine line between logic and superstition and serves as a satire of our default and often stiff democratic system.

I wish this work will spark more open-ended discussions around alternate possibilities of democracies, rules, citizenships, and traditions through an almost native, extreme scenario.


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