What is a person's cultural identity when s/he can identify with two contradicting cultures?
UNITY is an app dedicated to new adults with conflicting multicultural identities. It unites dominant cultural values they identify with and helps them resolve undecided ones through active listening to the UNITY podcast.
MFA Products of Design | SVA
Affirming Artefacts with Allan Chochinov
At a Glance
"Trying to fit into the existing mould is a total disaster."
The growing complexity in personal identities is evident in today's increasingly globalised world. Children who were born in one place, grew up in another and became new adults in yet a different place tend to adopt all cultures they have experienced. However, some of these cultures may hold complete opposite values in life. When the emphasis on individuality overpowers the call for community, the life choices these new adults come across transformed into an oversized hurdle that can alter their social and familial relationships.
Through many product iterations and reframings, the project zoomed into a single lense—Understanding through reflection.
The app steps the user through a sequence of questions that prompts users to reflect on their own values—choosing from a series of visuals depicting different ways of life.
These value choices are saved in an album-like collection, where users can return to view them anytime they want.
Once a set of profiles is created, the user can move on to the UNITY podcast—a curated collection of stories of those who are struggling, or have overcome, cultural or racial issues in their lives. Podcast episodes cover a range of shared challenges—from the cultural struggle of being in an interracial marriage, to advancing one’s career on an H-1B visa. In each, the UNITY podcast hopes to inform and validate the user’s experiences with real stories from real people.
Finally, "What Is Your Future?" is an advertising campaign for UNITY that speaks directly to the uncomfortable truth around the reality of having more than one cultural identity or race. UNITY also has a physical extension tying back to the podcast: A pencil set imprinted with provoking prompts displayed at cultural exhibitions such as Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.