Design fiction created by Kay Rogage and Mary Barreto
Persephone is a cantankerous 75 year old woman who is impatient and insensitive to others. Persephone lives in a council block and is frequently disturbed by the other neighbours. She lives next to a young family who’s children are always playing football in the corridors and another young couple who have wild parties and play loud music until the early hours of the morning. Persephone has lodged complaints with the police on several occasions, she has even chased the children out of the corridor with her walking stick but they still persist to play in the corridor and seem to think it is a game to make noise and get a chase.
Persephone lost her husband to a heart attack 5 years ago, her family live in on the opposite side of the world and can only visit once a year at Christmas. Persephone often gets scared at night and sleeps very little since her husband died. Persephone’s daughter advised that she should call the council to see if they can address the noise problems. Persephone has tried to ring the council several times but she gets stuck in a queuing system and keeps ending up connected to the wrong department and being put on hold. Enough is enough and Persephone decides to go to the council office to sort things out once and for all.
It has been a long time since Persephone has been to the town council offices, in fact she hasn’t been since she registered the death of her husband. Lots of things have changed since she last went and the lobby space is unfamiliar to her. She looks around for a receptionist but instead is faced with a screen under what looks like an umbrella. The screen is saying something to Persephone but she doesn’t realise that it is talking to her. Persephone looks around for a bell or some way to speak to someone. There is nothing there other than some screens which keep talking. Persephone gets angry and hits her stick off the floor, she shouts to see if anyone is around. Still no response except those blasted machines talking.
Persephone walks up to one of the machines and which says “Hello Persephone, how are you coping since your husband passed?”. Persephone is outraged at the impertinence of the machine, she prods the machine with her stick in the same way she prods the noisy kids. “Who the hell are you?”, “How do you know my name?”. “1st June 2012 you came to register your husband’s death, what brings you here now, is there something else you want to register, another death maybe?”. Persephone is outraged!! She shouts at the machine and hits it with her stick again, the screen cracks, an alarm goes off, the shutter comes down and Persephone here’s the screech of cars and police sirens approaching. As the police enter Persephone says “Just the person I wanted to see, I have a complaint to make about my neighbours”….