Last update: 01 June 2022
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You Press the Button

A surrealist UX design mobile app advert

“You press the button…” is Debbie Ding's first 3D animated short film consisting of dozens of tiny 3-second blipverts that stitch together into a loose story, exploring our pursuit of architectural desires and dreams of urban design - against a landscape of internet clickfarms and non-stop mobile distractions that disrupt the fourth wall.

As an artist who has also worked in advertising - producing web and interactive kiosk media - and who continues to teach UI/UX whilst keeping a completely separate artistic practice, my design work and design teaching generates a not-insignificant amount of cognitive dissonance for me at times. The production of this work is a way to make literal these clashes in visual language, and also produce my first 3D animated short film. (3D modelling, animation, and rendering all by Debbie)

The title comes from Kodak’s famous advertising slogan “You press the button, we do the rest”, which popularised photography for consumers. In the 1987 Scifi show Max Headroom, “blipverts” were the high speed high intensity 3 second television advertisements screened in a dystopic near-future dominated by large corporations and media companies, concentrated into visually mesmerising snippets to avoid losing short attention spans and stopping audiences from channel surfing.

The work exists somewhere between fantasy and ambition - with the intention of producing either an epiphanic or escapist experience. The images are of speculative architectural worlds which run parallel to our existence, bearing resemblance to our reality, but also revealing in their differences.