What is real even

My frustration with these articles is seeing a strong argument in what the authors are saying. In The Poetics of Design Fiction, I fail to see a purpose of the article other than to talk about all these things design fiction can be except having to break it down into steps of a process. One question I have about the academic writings of design fiction is – what exactly are you trying to say? I understand that it is a fairly virginal field (depending on how you think about it) and these writings are meant to wade through the waters of misunderstanding and unclarity. However, I’m not sure if these definition of what is and what should be should be so early prescribed. That isn’t to say that these problems face the design world outside of design fiction – in fact, I fail to see the difference between design and design fiction and feel a discomfort of them being so separated. The ideas, methods, and tools are all the same, the outcome is just different.

Franke brings up an interesting idea about visionary design objects which piqued my interest. With the recent events of CES, the amount of concept cars, concept kitchens, concept mirrors, concept _____, have been filling my newsfeeds. I would have to agree that design fiction should be seen as “a poetic and therefore philosophical inquiry” rather than “a tool of future speculation or future studies,” but I’m not sure if I’m 100% on that argument. I agree that this is what differentiates a concept car to what we consider “traditional” design fiction, but I guess I’m just confused about this overall world. Reading through Franke’s essay was like having an existential crisis every other sentence because of the confusing acceptance of different types of realities and different types of fictions and different types of worlds. His essay was very reminiscent of doubletalk from Orwell’s 1984 (it’s okay to talk about science fiction non-ironically, right?) – “real fiction,” “non-real,” “non-physical.” It was very thought provoking, but almost to the level where it made my brain explode for thinking too much of what if, what if, what if. I suppose that’s a good thing though, right? Our job as designers is to ask, what if. Of course, if that’s okay to say so directly.


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