Half a year after my first stay in the joystick factory in Shenzhen, I returned to it again this time with a proposal to help them keeping their factory community when joystick demands fade. I persuaded the factory owners to let me try out Farmification – using farming to keep the factory family together when work dwindles.

This year’s Christmas orders are even smaller than the previous year and the factory is already downsizing. I filmed the remains of this “making end of the gaming community” trying to prototype my new farming strategy. Many of the people in this film will probably not be there next year. I thank all the friends who wishes to remain nameless and whose help this project would not be done without.

Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma is a Speculative Designer & Researcher whose recent work is a kind of service design with a twist. Through an ethnographic research process she explores fringe groups that are largely ignored by society. Although finding insight in the extremes is a common approach within design, the research typically tends to focus on increasing mainstream utility in some way. Lisa’s projects uniquely emerge as services that look to create functional and mutually beneficial interactions between fringe groups and the mainstream populace. Her design methods become a platform for engagement, creating radical new kinds of relationships, a sort of Community to help us explore alternative futures. Her work has lead to the creation of some surprising services, including parasitic spa therapies by cat ladies, doorstep water filtration sessions from conspiracy theorists, and historical village tours for stranded passengers by Heathrow activists. In her latest field-trip, Lisa lived in a joystick factory in China, where she explored the idea of ‘Situational Fringes’ and the modern slums. Lisa holds a Masters Degree in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art, and a BA in Art, Design & Environment from Central St. Martins. She has worked professionally as a designer at Conran and Pentagram in London and most recently in service design for Deutsche Telekom T-Labs in Berlin. Lisa shares her adventures at fringejoyride.com, and is currently based in London.

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