Willing a Future

I am particularly interested in how Bleecker blurs the the line between science fact and fiction within the design process. If I take something away of immediate use, it is to be aware of the virtues of fiction not just in explaining ideas to others, but in liberating oneself from the hazards of over practicality. Although this is what Sterling says that design can do for fiction, remembering that design is a fictioning can help us to vault our own “conceptual walls.” That is, in part, not letting the hypothetical implementation bog down the development of ideas.
So, what does it mean, as Bleecker says, to exist and design in the knot of science fact and fiction? While I read through the remainder of the piece, I still have something of a hard time understanding what that would mean in the practical terms of working in studio tomorrow. He directs our attention to an interesting moment, that of materialization or even pseudo-materialization of fiction: “It all happens where ideas swap properties, becoming in their way the material thing. A mess is made of previously well-disciplined, coherent categories of ideas” (26). This, the moment of “willing a future into existence” is an extraordinary one, and one that I find also happens in a kind of blind brainstorm: you come out the other side a little hung over, followed by these ideas that seem to match imperfectly to whatever facts or considerations you went in with. Categories explain and help us to predict (they are one result of the scientific method, though they of course long predate it); sometimes we need a jolt to get out of them. The power of taxonomy is immense, maybe it is this on the scientific end that could rival “narrative” in its power to capture human attention. So, one question that Bleecker asks here, though maybe not directly, is how the orderly taxonomy and the differently orderly narrative come together.

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