This was an atypical and difficult year, which makes it more important to inaugurate this practice. We want to list the main cool signals of 2020. Those that show new directions in trends, cultural depth, and innovation as statement of human ingenuity. We have seen many important signals that responded to the Covid pandemic, among others that have impacted this year. In other cases, we identified patterns of important signals. Here are our top three signals for 2020:
Mario Kart Live for Nintendo Switch. It would not be the main choice for many, but for us it is an important signal in terms of reality. In a year where the digital became even more important, this signal points back to the disruption of Pokemon Go. In this new version of the game, you create the track in your own space, from a living room to other. The physical car, with a camera, runs the race while you play in the console, immersed in your new and changed space. A new space is created, a mix of realities and sets. Your reality is changed and the veil between the physical and the digital becomes thinner. This immersion of both realities gives us a new sense of augmented reality and points out, it actually screams at, a growing movement towards the end of the division between the virtual and physical worlds. The digital convergence is becoming more and more pervasive and ubiquitous. How far will it go and how long will it take to reach the peak?
Window manifestations. At the beginning of the Covid propagation, during very difficult/uncertain weeks and the first confinement, people went to the windows to find company, share strength and show gestures of compassion and empathy. In these moments we see the best of society and humanity. This is one signal but there was a pattern of many others. All underlining two important components: compassion and empathy. It is inspirational and gives us hope. It is relevant, as it’s a manifestation that entered our homes. It is current, as it’s closely connected to the pandemics. It’s provoking, as it was something obvious, but in some way new. And it’s viral, as it was social casted and the idea catched on. Many different window manifestations arose all over the world during the lockdown. It’s a signal that marked a year.
SpaceX is our third chosen signal of the year. Within the many SpaceX’s achievements in 2020, we highlight “Crew Dragon Demo 2” Mission. It was the first crewed commercial mission to the International Space Station and took place by the end of May 2020. Considering the pandemics that shaped 2020, a crewed commercial mission is a breath of hope that humankind may have redemption. It makes the dream of going to Mars become slightly more real. It’s part of the embodiment of a plan B, the escape route to Mars, if everything goes wrong on Planet Earth. The mission itself had many incorporated signals that are worth mentioning: The sleek spacesuits that change astronaut “fashion”, the modern spaceship Dragon itself, the TY stuffed dinosaur toy as an indicator of zero-g, the work of art “Human Kind” by the street artist Tristan Eaton – that was sent on this mission – as well as the collaborative mosaic dedicated to 2020 graduates. Once again SpaceX sends to space a “message in a bottle”, following the steps of Carl Sagan’s Golden Records. SpaceX has the poetic ambition to restore faith in humanity. Considering the COVID-19 reality, this makes even more sense.
Other signals, many, were considered. From the Beatbox Monk that calls attention to social roles and identities, to the Moschino marionet show and Balenciaga videogame shows. We also highlight Projetemos project, the LIDL clothing line, the Covid Art Museum, among others.