Venom is an app for children that teaches them how they can use the household chemicals they find in their homes to poison other people. Before you think I am sadistic, please continue reading.
While taking a class called Design Decisions at the School of Visual Arts in the MFA Design program, we started with something we threw away, and were told to redesign that thing. The class, taught by MFA Products of Design Chair, Allan Chochinov, challenged us to take risks and have a point of view and opinion on all of the things that are put out into the world. The piece of trash that I threw out was a dishwasher tablet.
Through research I learned that there is a staggering number of children who ingest these tablets by accident every year because they mistake them for candy. My teacher, Allan, gave the class a choice with what to do with our findings. We could make an app to help save the world, or one to end it. I chose to make an app to end the world.
That decision brought me to Venom. Kids were able to learn how they could combine chemicals and mix them into things to make them undetectable so they can cause harm to the world.
I was challenged to take this strange concept and find a way to make it an app that could actually do some good. So, For the last piece of this assignment, I needed to figure out a way to make Venom work in the real world. I began thinking back to things I learned in my research about beauty products and how one of the most appalling things I learned about was the amount of banned and harmful carcinogens and chemicals are in the beauty products we use on a daily basis. With extended use of these products, we are all exposing ourselves to poison while we are trying to improve ourselves. Instead of making Venom a good thing, I made the decision to alter the app and make it all about beauty products.
Kids can use the app to learn how they can poison other people, but the catch now is that all of the suggestions for harm are actual things we do with our beauty products every day. In this way, kids are no longer sheltered from the fact that these products they think are harmless are actually harmful to them in some way.