Design Fiction @ Shift 2008
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Design Fiction @ Shift 2008

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Iterating further on the Design Fiction idea, evolved a bit from Design Engaged.

Iterating further on the Design Fiction idea, evolved a bit from Design Engaged.

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Design Fiction @ Shift 2008 Design Fiction @ Shift 2008 Presentation Transcript

  • Design Fiction Julian Bleecker Shift 2008 Lisbon, Portugal October 16, 2008
  • Design Fiction Some thoughts about design as something that can shape the future, bring about change, craft new sorts of habitable worlds. Hello. My name is Julian Bleecker. My talk title is something like quot;Design Fiction.quot; The topic is some preliminary thoughts on the relationship between design, the future and science-fiction. What I am presenting is an argument for considering design as a kind of story-telling practice, crafting material visions of different kinds of possible worlds and through those visions doing more than presenting an inert, lifeless object. Rather, design can turn ideas into material, but also insert that material into a larger setting with broader social contexts and consequences, and through that create a compelling story about a possible future. In this way, the design object becomes an important property of the world. And its this notion of a property in a larger narrative-based context that I will ultimately highlight in this talk. A prop, to borrow from film and theater production — that helps move a story forward. Design's various ways of articulating ideas in material to create social objects and experiences can be seen as a kind of practice that is
  • Design Fiction A “Conversation” around some work by David A. Kirby on what he calls “diegetic prototypes” in science-fiction film and my own interest in creating compelling prototypes.
  • Presentation Schema 1. Representations of the Future 2. Relating the Future and the Present 3. Props and Prototypes
  • 1. Representations of the Future How do we imagine what can come to be? What are the ways the future will be and how does that shape what we consider reasonable, possible futures?
  • 3 Representations of the Future. ..and 2.5 Provocative Quotes to go along with them.
  • Quote One. “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” - R. Buckminster Fuller
  • Quote One (and it’s diagram). “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” - R. Buckminster Fuller Linear Representation of the Future
  • Quote Two. “As I’ve said many times, the future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed.” - William Gibson
  • Quote Two (and its diagram) “As I’ve said many times, the future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed.” - WG “As I’ve said many times, the future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed.” - William Gibson Sandwich Spread Representation of the Future
  • Quote Two and a half..kinda “...” - Bruno Latour
  • Quote Two and a half (and a diagram). “...” - Bruno Latour The 3D Linkages of Human/Non- Human Collectives Representation of the Future 3D Representation of the future, lots of vectors and linkages between many other worlds, all of our imaginations and materializations of our beliefs and models of the world.
  • Recap..
  • Linear Representation of the Future
  • The “Future Spread Unevenly” Future A planar representation of the future, it exists in different places simultaneously and you can smear it about to get it evenly distributed, but it is lumpy in bits and doesn’t get to everyone evenly. A planar representation of the future, it exists in different places simultaneously and you can smear it about to get it evenly distributed, but it is lumpy in bits and doesn’t get to everyone evenly.
  • A Messy Network of “Conversations” Amongst Humans and Non-Humans A spherical representation of the future, collections/collectives of conversations & objects, human/non- human agents. There are many futures, many possible inhabited worlds. A representation that consists of complex, messy knots/collectives/imbroglios. Some collectives are better at maintaining themselves. They’ve got strong objects with lots of attention and adhesion. They have lots of idea-mass that draws other conversations and objects towards them.
  • “Collectives” That Contain Relevant Props, Participants, “Issues”, Matters-of-Concern. Collectives consisting of conversations, objects, humans, scientists, film-makers, matters- of-concern (not matters-of-fact).. the most speculative representation here
  • The Future Is Messy...It’s Also “Hand Made.” I’m postulating this particular representation of the future because I’ve learned that neither the linear, nor the sandwich spread model work particularly well. Things are always multiple and rather messy; history has taught us this much at least. And we make it, through ideas and conversations and prototype objects; it’s not offered to us from up on high. It’s not a graph or a sandwich spread.
  • What Are Ways In Which The Future Is “Hand Made”? How is it hand made? Science Fiction for one. An important genre for imagining the future, or other kinds of worlds.
  • For example: How is the “Minority Report Interface” Claimed? Who Stakes Out This Technology? What Is A Simple Example of the Minority Report “Collective” David A. Kirby describes this in a forthcoming essay. In the meantime..let’s check in with Google..
  • Blurry lines between the sci-fi props and research prototypes
  • “The Film”
  • Right alongside of “Science” “Turtle-necked Jeff Hahn” Presenting at TED 2006! Whole bunch of links to people who claim “minority report interface” as researchers, film consultants, prior-art, etc.
  • “Destination Moon”
  • How William Shatner Changed The World
  • Jurassic Park
  • More blurry sci-fi science Realistic dinosaurs as a special-effect, produced to be visually compelling as a “prop” to help tell a story more compelling than a dowdy documentary.
  • More blurry sci-fi science
  • More blurry sci-fi science Wow..
  • Okay, but..So what? Why does this all matter? The relationship between ideas and their materialization? Hollywood? Stories? Science-fiction?
  • Design Aspires. We have aspirations for creating particular kinds of habitable future worlds. What I mean is that there are specific visions of a future, or aspirations for changing some aspect of the world in which we live. And what I am trying to work through here are the ways to connect those aspirations, and those ideas and realize them in a variety of forms.
  • Blur The Boundary Between “Science-Fact” and “Science-Fiction” Through Design.
  • Think of Prototyping As Prop- Making For A Different Kind of (Near Future) World.
  • 3. Props & Prototypes
  • 3. Props & Prototypes Let’s look quickly at two kinds of prototypes 1. Prototypes in their canonical form. 2. Diegetic Prototypes
  • Canonical Prototypes. Functionality.
  • Canonical Prototypes. Functionality.
  • Canonical Prototypes. Fit and Mechanics.
  • Diegetic Prototypes (“Props”) Space may be the final frontier but it’s made in a Hollywood basement.  - Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Californication,” 1999 
  • Diegetic Prototypes (“Props”) quot;..cinematic depictions of future technologies are actually “diegetic prototypes” that demonstrate to large public audiences a technology’s need, benevolence, and viability. I show how diegetic prototypes have a major rhetorical advantage over true prototypes: in the diegesis these technologies exist as “real” objects that function properly and which people actually use.quot; David A. Kirby, “The Future Is Now: Diegetic Prototypes, and the Cinematic Creation of the Future” (pre-pub)
  • Diegetic Prototypes (“Props”) quot;..cinematic depictions of future technologies are actually “diegetic prototypes” that demonstrate to large public audiences a technology’s need, benevolence, and viability. I show how diegetic prototypes have a major rhetorical advantage over true prototypes: in the [film] these technologies exist as “real” objects that function properly and which people actually use.quot; David A. Kirby, “The Future Is Now: Diegetic Prototypes, and the Cinematic Creation of the Future”
  • Diegetic Prototypes (“Props”) quot;..cinematic depictions of future technologies are actually “diegetic prototypes” that demonstrate to large public audiences a technology’s need, benevolence, and viability. I show how diegetic prototypes have a major rhetorical advantage over true prototypes: in the diegesis these technologies exist as “real” objects that function properly and which people actually use.quot; David A. Kirby, “The Future Is Now: Diegetic Prototypes, and the Cinematic Creation of the Future” Wow. Stories matter when designing the future. Maybe even more than the “real thing” in terms of their ability to flash-bang the imagination of real people. Ideas are more powerful than a crappy product that aspires to the idea.
  • Props & Prototypes Think of design as prop-making for the near future. Design makes objects (non-humans) around which stories/conversations ensure, and imaginary worlds come into being.
  • Prototypes/Props are Idea-Mass Offer ways of telling stories and crafting adhesion to these collectives of ideas and conversations through an object. Props and prototypes provide the seeds for evolving conversation-collectives. They behave as constitutive elements for the collectives/knots/embroglios — the collectives need material props of some sort, human/non-human elements to create idea-mass, to collect more attention.
  • Prototypes/Props are Idea-Mass Design can also be a kind of fiction making; design-fiction.
  • Thanks. julian at nearfuturelaboratory dot c julian dot bleecker at nokia dot c