GRASIAS — Designing the Dawn of Society, Digital Catalogue

What if a modern society, certain of its imminent demise, decided to unite and voluntarily disappear?
8 Nov 2021
Fundación Telefonica
In Collaboration With
Raphaël Stevens
concept, design of speculative artifacts, 3D modeling, scenography, graphic design, video prototyping, sound design
For The Event
La Gran Imaginación. Historias del Futuro.
Espacio Fundación Telefonica in Madrid, Spain
On Show
Nov 2021 — Apr 2022
MAR 2021 — NOV 2021
Madrid, ES

What if a modern society, certain of its imminent demise, decided to unite and voluntarily disappear?

‘Grasias – The Good Collapse’ is a call to mobilization, showcasing the radical civilization shift taken by the fictional state of Pyria. Confronted with multiple events foreboding a brutal collapse of systems and following a landslide outcome to a referendum, Pyria opts to proudly take itself out. Fueled by the love of its people and the general sense of urgency, the Pyrian government sets out to shift its entire economy toward a true war effort directed at itself, securing a stateless, one-of-a-kind, desperate, yet livable future for all its citizens.

To prepare Pyria for the inevitable collapse of systems, the nation’s arable land is divided into equal units, distributed to citizens as plots to ward and live off. All citizens, regardless of wealth or status, receive a declaration of collapse together with a questionnaire asking for their choices in terms of resettlement, and the collective results become the basis for the relocation plan.

This is the story of a nation preparing to overthrow itself for the greater good, but it is also the story of citizens planning ahead for their own happiness.


Pyr­i­ans of all ages and trades are called to par­tic­i­pate in the mobi­liza­tion for the nation's renew­al, and to that end the gov­ern­ment of col­laps­ing Pyr­ia has worked on a rad­i­cal solu­tion to sup­port its peo­ple in the chal­leng­ing task of relo­cat­ing to their allo­cat­ed plot and build­ing a sus­tain­able settlement.

Citizen Kits

The final hand­out from the Pyr­i­an gov­ern­ment to its cit­i­zens, this kit pro­vides every­one with some essen­tials to start exploit­ing their own acre of land and pro­vide a sus­tain­able and enjoy­able future for them­selves. It features:

Map of the Subdivided Nation

A map rep­re­sent­ing the neigh­bour­ing plots of land, togeth­er with the names of those they have been assigned to. It has offi­cial val­ue as a proof of occu­pan­cy, and shows the local­i­sa­tion of var­i­ous sur­plus stor­age units, as well as ener­gy sources from the Pyr­i­an Col­lapse Prepa­ra­tion Programme.

Coms Hub

A per­son­al oper­a­tor board designed for com­mu­ni­cat­ing between allo­cat­ed plots, each mate­ri­al­ized by a plug on the local map. This sys­tem reuses pre-exist­ing wire net­works to build a sim­ple and ener­gy effi­cient inter­face, to which any old land­line phone or recorder/​speaker com­bi­na­tion may be plugged.

DIY Healthcare

Var­i­ous bags con­tain­ing acti­vat­ed car­bon pel­lets for water purifi­ca­tion, sodi­um hydrox­ide for ster­il­iz­ing pur­pos­es, and a selec­tion of yeasts and bac­te­ria usable for food and med­i­cine pro­duc­tion (Levu­ra 17 used to brew opi­oids, Caulobac­ter cres­cen­tus aka 'bac­te­r­i­al super­glue', and the nat­ur­al Microteru­ar fer­ment respon­si­ble for the renowned Pyr­i­an flavor).

Reproducible Solid State Batteries

Sim­ple, ver­sa­tile sol­id-state bat­ter­ies that can be recharged at any col­lec­tive out­let, or by replac­ing the min­er­als that com­pose them.

Parting Gifts

A selec­tion of con­tent from Pyria’s cul­tur­al pat­ri­mo­ny, as dig­i­tized by the Nation­al Library. It pre­dom­i­nant­ly includes all 49 sea­sons of clas­sic slap­stick soap opera ‘Un, Du, Tre!’ in durable 2Tb SD cards.

A bot­tle of state-spon­sored cham­pagne using the last remain­ing grapes to say a big ‘Grasias’ to all cit­i­zens for their coop­er­a­tion, and enter the new age in a cel­e­bra­to­ry fashion.

Personal Assistant of the Collapse

The sur­vival assis­tant (‘Aidador Per­son­al per Sur­vive’) which pro­vides prac­ti­cal tips, infor­ma­tion about avail­able resources, and moral sup­port in a vari­ety of sit­u­a­tions, using a sim­ple XOXO inter­face for inputting answers to the machine’s prompts. APSU can help iden­ti­fy edi­ble plants, build fur­ni­ture from dis­card­ed sleds, or resolve neigh­bor­hood con­flicts all the same.

Hero Kit

When apply­ing for their plot of land, Pyr­i­an cit­i­zens have the option to opt out of the pro­gram and apply instead for the sta­tus of Hero, which grants them very spe­cial priv­i­leges. Not only do they not take part in the col­lec­tive effort, but the com­mu­ni­ty ensures they enjoy the high­est lev­el of com­fort from the old world dur­ing the mobi­liza­tion. As such the Hero Kit does not con­tain resources for sur­vival, fea­tur­ing instead sym­bols of their courage and sacred duty, for all to see and respect.

The bracelet func­tions as an elec­tron­ic ID cer­ti­fy­ing their right to 'free-every­thing'. As the moment for the hero's sac­ri­fice comes to a close, it starts beep­ing at con­stant­ly reduc­ing inter­vals, with a con­tin­u­ous sound sig­nalling the turn­ing point. It is impos­si­ble to remove, and any hero break­ing their oath can be locat­ed by the increas­ing­ly loud beeping.

A mark­er of social sta­tus, the medal con­tains a neu­ro­tox­in pill to ensure an easy and pleas­ant pass­ing for the nation's heroes.


A col­lec­tion of fic­tion­al dig­i­tal ser­vices for preparedness


While Pyr­ia has tak­en a dras­tic step towards recon­vert­ing its social sys­tem, most coun­tries in the world pur­sue busi­ness as usu­al. The world news allows cit­i­zens to keep up with both their nation’s efforts and the state of things abroad.


To Pyr­i­ans, this is the ide­al plat­form to emp­ty their bank accounts and pur­chase use­ful sup­plies for their future sub­sis­tence and com­fort, while for­eign com­pa­nies can enjoy prof­it­ing from the col­lapse. Per­haps the last win-win of sorts.


The new world will require new jobs, and Pyr­i­ans are invit­ed to plan ahead by recon­vert­ing their busi­ness­es and train­ing the work­force with new skills. The offi­cial Pyr­i­an Work Agency has updat­ed its por­tal to accom­pa­ny the shift, offer­ing more space for self-organ­i­sa­tion — from med­ical per­son­nel team­ing up with agron­o­mists to devel­op super-effi­cient home reme­dies, to groups of ath­letes pro­mot­ing them­selves as mechan­i­cal pow­er units.


The first dat­ing web­site ded­i­cat­ed to find­ing like-mind­ed cit­i­zens to relo­cate with. Once a match hap­pens, both par­ties are put in touch so that they can meet and, if they decide to take the next step, exchange IDs so that the sys­tem may pair them in the new plot redis­tri­b­u­tion plan.


A series of gov­ern­men­tal ini­tia­tives has been ini­ti­at­ed to pro­vide durable and
decen­tral­ized infra­struc­ture, but also the resources to sup­port Pyr­i­an cit­i­zens
dur­ing the first year of the collapse.

Surplus Vaults

Large indus­tri­al con­tain­ers dis­sem­i­nat­ed across the coun­try pro­vide cit­i­zens with tools and resources for a full year after the government's res­ig­na­tion. Designed to remain air­tight, they pre­vent their con­tent from degrad­ing before they are opened at the start of the new month. Resources and tools adapt­ed to the sea­son may then be accessed by the local com­mu­ni­ty, among which can be found food tins, water cans, vac­u­um-sealed clothes, salt, con­struc­tion mate­ri­als, bio­mass bri­quettes, seeds, or caus­tic soda. Items which can­not be eas­i­ly pro­duced with­out indus­tri­al facil­i­ties, such as light­bulbs or cig­a­rettes, as well as art­works com­ing from muse­ums which couldn't be pre­served (not all his­tor­i­cal build­ings could be vac­u­um-sealed in time), are also stored in the containers.

Depend­ing on the month, each stor­age unit may con­tain a vari­able amount of the following:

  • vac­u­um sealed dried foods
  • food tins
  • cloth­ing surplus
  • bio­mass bricks
  • water cans
  • extra bat­ter­ies
  • cig­a­rettes
  • seed packs
  • alco­hol
  • cop­per wire
  • flat­pack con­struc­tion tetraminos
  • DIN for­mat boards of steel, com­pos­ite wood, and recy­cled plastic
  • caus­tic soda
  • basic drilling and cut­ting tools
Upcycled Wind Power

In order to pro­vide as much renew­able ener­gy as local­ly as pos­si­ble, a great mobi­liza­tion for wind pow­er has accel­er­at­ed the imple­men­ta­tion of inland tur­bines, close­ly fol­low­ing the acre grid in which the nation is sub­di­vid­ed. Pyria’s aero­nau­tic indus­try has bifur­cat­ed toward the pro­duc­tion of makeshift wind gen­er­a­tors, and trained an elite team of ascend­ing paraglid­ers in charge of their main­te­nance, (the top dream job among chil­dren of the col­lapse). Some tur­bines even dou­ble as panoram­ic restau­rants serv­ing rein­vent­ed cab­in meals for air trav­el nostalgics.

Genetically Tamed Organisms

The Pyr­i­an wilder­ness is also under­go­ing excit­ing struc­tur­al changes, with the intro­duc­tion of new spec­i­mens bred for their rel­a­tive harm­less­ness, like the soft-antler deer. The pride of Pyr­i­an geneti­cists, the soft antler char­ac­ter is not only sup­port­ed by a dom­i­nant gene that may spread species-wide, it also pro­vides deers the abil­i­ty to enter denser forests, mak­ing it less like­ly for their habi­tat to over­lap with inhab­it­ed land. The new squeaky cush­ion paw design deals with the com­plex top­ic of cat­tle hunt­ing in a humane way: now unable to approach graz­ing sheep unno­ticed, wolves must focus their atten­tion on car­cass­es, turn­ing them from a feared and hunt­ed ene­my into an ally for nat­ur­al for­est stewardship.

To rapid­ly imple­ment long-dis­tance com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­works, a pro­gram for train­ing trav­el­er pigeons is cur­rent­ly at work. It makes use of an autonomous device guid­ing the mes­sen­ger towards its des­ti­na­tion through hap­tic feed­back on each leg. Mak­ing use of GPS tech­nol­o­gy dur­ing the ini­tial phase, the sys­tem is rein­forced by a train­ing pro­gram that will allow pigeon-man­agers to keep the lines open when satel­lite net­works stop functioning.


Anoth­er top­ic of impor­tance the Gov­ern­ment of Col­laps­ing Pyr­ia has had to tack­le is that of the country's lega­cy: the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of its pop­u­la­tion over sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions being one thing, the preser­va­tion of its cul­tur­al and sci­en­tif­ic pat­ri­mo­ny is an equal­ly cru­cial focus. A 'Min­istry of Future Gen­er­a­tions' has been prompt­ly cre­at­ed to this end, and has pro­posed a rad­i­cal take on the matter.


The Pyr­i­an Col­lapse Space Pro­gram has been tasked to pre­serve as much human knowl­edge as pos­si­ble; mul­ti­ple back-up units con­tain­ing a major­i­ty of exist­ing tech­no­log­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal data, as well as the nation’s entire cul­tur­al pro­duc­tion, have been launched to low orbit. The swarm of geo­sta­tion­ary satel­lites now forms the first ever arti­fi­cial con­stel­la­tions, each rep­re­sent­ing the knowl­edge they hold.

Each device per­forms a dai­ly scan of Pyria’s high­est peak, with instruc­tions to autonomous­ly return to the ground if it detects a retrieval sig­nal; the sequence of which is kept secret by a coun­cil of elders with­in the min­istry of collapse.

Until then, the satel­lites dis­play their con­tent in a bina­ry light pulse detectable from earth, albeit with extreme­ly low res­o­lu­tion and band­width. Transcoders are cur­rent­ly being devel­oped to read their con­tent from the ground, with the facil­i­ty of Mount Mar­tu cur­rent­ly able to read the entire Pyr­i­an con­sti­tu­tion in under three hours.

Hand-powered Cooling Underwear

In order to counter the decrease in male fer­til­i­ty due to ris­ing tem­per­a­tures, Pyr­i­an engi­neers have devel­oped the espera: a piece of man­u­al­ly-cool­ing under­wear, that must be worn for three months pri­or to a desired preg­nan­cy in order to ensure a sus­tained sper­mato­ge­n­e­sis and pre­vent DNA alteration.

While an elec­tric ver­sion of this device exists, the high ener­gy costs of cool­ing process­es has prompt­ed med­ical pro­fes­sion­als to request the devel­op­ment of a ful­ly-mechan­i­cal mod­el. Here the cas­ing is designed to iso­late the testes from any con­tact with the body, and the man­u­al­ly-oper­at­ed fan increas­es the air­flow while the pump cir­cu­lates a ther­mal liq­uid to con­duct excess heat from the testes out­wards, effec­tive­ly bal­anc­ing tem­per­a­tures in the scro­tal region.


Prod­ded by the impend­ing col­lapse of indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion and the imple­men­ta­tion of strict reg­u­la­tions against non-resilient prod­ucts, Pyr­i­an man­u­fac­tures have shift­ed their focus from planned obso­les­cence and towards the pro­duc­tion of eas­i­ly repairable, ver­sa­tile goods. While some com­pa­nies refused to abide by fear of mak­ing their entire prof­it sys­tem obso­lete, oth­ers have tak­en two steps at once by relo­cat­ing their entire pro­duc­tion in the close vicin­i­ty of their mar­ket, by invest­ing in pas­sive ener­gy tech­niques includ­ing ceram­ics or medi­um-den­si­ty recy­cled poly­eth­yl­ene com­mon­ly known as 'solarmelt.'


Pre­sent­ed as 'the last wash­ing machine you will ever need', this mul­ti­func­tion device dou­bles as a cement mix­er and but­ter churn thanks to its mod­u­lar pan­el design and inter­change­able bar­rels. Com­fort­able and racy, Max­i­na Ultim sports three gears for the best spin­ning cycle any pas­sive appli­ance can pro­vide, but also a direc­tion revers­er, a con­trol­lable liq­uid out­let, and a fire pit to boil the tough­est stains away.

Commissioned by

Fun­dación Telefónica

In Collaboration With

Rapahël Stevens

Curated by

Jorge Cama­cho

Project Management
& Exhibition Design

Mar­ta Banach Gorina

Maria Brancós Barti

Ale­jan­dro Sánchez Menéndez

& Model Production

Manuel Cuquerel­la

Matias Fer­rero Barreda