Speculative design is about the present, in the guise of discussing the future.It is not supposed to be predictive or prescriptive What are those disciplines? ASK FOR EXAMPLESFilm…for example.
The future is what we are speculating aboutThe future is what we are interested inWhat kinds of futures do we imagine?Preferable intersects plausible and probable…and even goes outside of what is probable.
Creating plausible – not necessarily preferable – futures by using the techniques of science fiction. What comes first, the fictional story or the object it supports? Which way would you prefer to work – from the object to the future within which it makes sense, or from the scenario to the object that demonstrates it?
Specific/mundane…ie, Corner Convenience
ASK: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THIS IMAGE?Clean / open / unspecific / “prop-like”?
ASK: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THIS IMAGE?Grimy / detailed / specific / “real”?
What kinds of outcomes might characterize a successful speculative design project?A failed one?
How do we do that?
LOOK CLOSELY AT THE PHOTOSo what’s the point, here? How does this physical exhibit in a corner store operate? Who is participating? How do they participate? When does the participation start/end? Does seeing this on the Internet count as participation?
What kinds of problems, for what kinds of people, are we taking on? Who is imagined inhabiting these speculative fictions? What kinds of crises do they assume? Are those sudden “crises” elsewhere felt as just everyday life?
ASK: HOW DO WE CHOOSE WHICH FUTURES TO EXPLORE? Here’s an example of a very different way of working with futures – Neil Beloufa’s “ethnological sci-fi documentary”“The video portrays a series of Malian men simply speaking of the future in the present tense, but the tension between the fictive nature of their visions (which are often more animist than Star Wars), the reality of the men themselves, the play with post-colonial expectations of exoticism, and the spooky way in which the film is flawlessly shot creates a provocative narrative tableau that presents us with all our expectations of Africa and then subverts them with a subtlety not usually attributed to sci-fi. The men are hopeful, their visions strange and beautiful, the meaning is slippery, and Beloufa’s video is all of the above. Kempinski will be showing as a part of Beloufa’s upcoming Los Angeles solo debut at Chung King Project/François Ghebaly.” --From http://www.artslant.com/ny/artists/rackroom/19590
Reminder: this is just my perspective! And just an intro. There are other people who might characterize speculative design differently. The goal here is to introduce the aspects of speculative design as a method/agenda that might be most useful for the work we are hoping to do in this class.
Speculative design introduction
The Decay of Digital Things
decay.io/dschoolElizabeth Goodman, Andrew Lovett-Baron, Maryanna Rogers
“The way that our society imagines
itself through its forward-looking
— Bruce Sterling
“When people think of
design, most believe it is
about problem solving. […]
There are other
possibilities for design:
one is to use design as a
means of speculating how
things could be —
image goes here
Dunne + Raby
Dunne + Raby
Speculative Everything, p2
Redrawn from Speculative Everything redrawing Stuart Candy
“During the Indian Civil War, the Dharavi
slums of Mumbai were flooded with refugees
looking to escape the conflict. The Mumbai
authorities, distracted by defence of the city
and facing an already over-populated and
poverty stricken slum could do little to
maintain a semblance of civilised life in the
area. Sometime later a cache of biological
samples appeared through the criminal
networks of Mumbai, in the vain hope that it
might provide new marketable narcotic
opportunities. The collective drive and
expertise of the refugees managed to turn
theses genetically-engineered fungal samples
into a new type of infrastructure providing
heat, light and building material for the
refugees. Dharavi rapidly evolved its own
micro-economy based around the
SPECULATIVE DESIGN SHOULD…
“open up all sorts of possibilities that can be
discussed, debated, and used to collectively
define a preferable future for a given group of
people: from companies, to cities, to societies.”
Speculative Everything, p6
Speculative design is…
Intended to be provocative rather
than predictive or prescriptive
Illustrative of relationships of
production, consumption, and circulation
Instantiated in objects as well as words
Biological Atelier: “Extinct”