An Ah Ha Moment

I enjoyed Matt Malpass’ article because it gave me a clearer understanding that design in general needs a critical practice; the involvement of constructive input from a larger and more diverse community so that people can begin to assess and discuss the work’s implications on society, moving beyond just a colloquial understanding of the present but a deeper understanding of the potential for the future.

But this made me wonder if the success of design fiction work can be measured by the extent of critical involvement. Is speculative design deemed successful by its effectiveness to infiltrate the family dinner discussions, or of higher quality if referenced by presidents in their political campaigns? Does that make design fiction work all about whether or not its popular and talked about? It made me wonder. But backed to the three pillars of design fiction…

I found Associative design to be most interesting. I liked how the article stated that it is a “laconic form of design practice” that leverages the conventional understanding of current objects. This is an interesting notion because it aims to disrupt conventions by using deeply rooted associations and distorting our perception of familiarity, to the point where it can potentially alleviate those associations all together. In my opinion, this makes associative design very powerful, because it has the capacity to really shock and shake someone to the core, possibly even encouraging them to reevaluate a grand portion of their perceived world.

“Speculative design [on the other hand] encourages the user to reconsider how the present is “futuring” and how we might have the chance to reconfigure the future” [through potential application of applied technology and science]. This was a helpful quote, because its points to speculative design as a more encompassing offering to the public. Similarly, critical design offers the same package but with deeper ties to the “social, cultural, and ethical implications” of the future. With that said, I find that speculative and critical design is more political, because it forces the perceiver to make more of a decision in how they feel or think the world should change. After reading the articles, it made me think that speculative and critical design, while seemingly more provocative in nature, still allows for the perceiver to maintain close ties to their pre-existing values. With associative design, I find that the work has a stronger capacity to bend a person’s perception into seeing something that they cannot un-see, changing a person’s value from that point forward, even if it may be on a smaller scale.


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