I really liked the concept of the Emerge exhibition but also wonder what it truly meant for the people that participated in the exhibition. Designing the future is a terrifying thing that weighs heavy with the responsibility of “potential”. But what is interesting is people aren’t afraid of worrying about the little things that change even though it might make a huge difference in the way we behave and interact with the environment we create and that naturally surrounds us. When provided with the task of designing something for the future in a exhibition environment I can only assume people had a great time making coffee cups that would never spill or socks that only accounted for 4 toes. But after that burst of fun creativity is over and people head home back to their current lives, what does that potential future of the mundane become? Are we still inclined to design a bunch of crap, just future crap, to fill our future houses and our future trash eating robots? I think it’s a great way to get involved and start thinking about design the future, but also wonder if it design fictions seem like a game more than an important component and understanding the future of design.
With more and more mixed race and same gender couples finding their way into the the public the underground Eugenics Cult, XXY is vastly growing, finding the best set of genetics while maintaing “pure bred” status. Although technology is booming and the ability to preserve genetic material is more easily accessible to the general public, XXY places upmost importance in hiding from the public eye. As a way to keep their members loyal and organized within the system, each member is asked to bundle string and soak it with their own blood in order to keep a log of their members’ and their DNA for future cloning potential. The ritualistic behavior not only binds the groups goals in preserving a purebred illness free society but also helps create a manual log of their members. This behavior signified, not only, loyalty to the cult, but contribution to a “better” society pushing the boundaries of the term “blood brothers”.
Especially with these readings I felt extremely inspired by the nuances of storytelling. With Design Fiction, there is a lot of speculation between design fiction and science fiction, but what’s most interesting to me is how the cross section between the two result in a method of communicating practical academic planning through compelling language and art. When trying to articulate an idea, a great way to get others to understand what you’re pitching is by framing it as a story so an impersonal scenario becomes easy to relate to. But in this case we’re asking people to open up their minds to accept their understanding of fictional storytelling and imagination as the potential truth. It’s presenting shocking, scary, or mundane future possibilities in a way that can easily be misinterpreted as art, or simply speculation. But how does design fiction’s relationship with story telling result in a more open mind, especially with the general public? How can design fiction introduce the childish imaginative quality of “fiction” into a way of thinking in a plethora of disciplines? Will people’s ability to combine “pretend” with “real life” to create the perfect balance of daring speculation and practical analytics?
I feel like the way design fiction is discussed makes it seem very separate from other aspects of design. We have people from a bunch of different disciplines come together to achieve the greater goal of speculating the future and creating future scenarios, but all this writing seems to neglect where design fiction falls as a contributor to collaboration. In the writing “Power of 8” there was a section that refers to all the different disciplines contributing to the experiment and the first person listed was a designer(futurist) which I found extremely curious. Why do we call futurist designers, if they’re futurists? Or are we asking all designers to be futurists (meaning futurists is not it’s own expertise but an skills requirement for designers to have)? If furturist becomes it’s own discipline, how will that affect the work dynamic of design-minded collaborative teams now? What will that extra spot at the table mean for other experts, and how does that clash with human-factors experts? It’d be interesting to see how different companies would change if each team was asked to have a futurist making contributions throughout the design process. Would projects become more long-term?
Side Note* I think it’s funny that the “future prompts” are printed in pixely-boxy computer font. If we were in the future and computers were fancy-human-like they might as well have their own unique handwriting.
In 2030 after the boom of social media, people have difficulty forming romantic relationships without the aid of an online date-match system. Due to the lack of human-like emotional simulations these computer algorithms are not comprehensive resulting in a skyrocketing number of failed marriages. Many people have become independent or feel a lack of emotional satisfaction. Online dating systems lead to higher expectations and decreases the patience required to work through unexpected problems. The concept of a relationship lasting over 10 years is extremely rare, and is more of an idea of the past. This has affected United States birth rates, leaving the country in panic about the aging population. This has also resulted in an increasing number of orphans and single parents. The words marriage-license have lost a lot of its weight and religious undertones. Pop culture has labeled those that choose to keep long term marriages ” U-A’s” or in other words Union Addicts. This has created a lot of different types of groups and societies that practice this idea of Union Addiction. It’s now more common for pre-teens to be interested in trying little and frequent relationships with pre teens from other schools through different match-making outlets.
Hooman a social sciences multi-billion dollar research company is one of the few successful companies that conduct and release research on improving human relationships. Their most recent project, Hooman-Love collects and analyzes journals written by couples that follow their very detailed ” How to Love Like a Hooman” method book. The book asks you to record how each individual feels throughout each stage of the relationship on a daily basis, distinguishing what aspects of the relationships can be left to algorithms and what is less predictable. The on-going research has gotten an extreme amount of press due to its potential in re-kindling long-lasting relationships and improving people to people algorithms. It asks for complete strangers to get to know each other with the expectations that individuals have when they find themselves in a relationship. Hooman has taken pain-staking efforts to see how much of a relationship is reliant on interpersonal chemistry and how much is reliant on just textbook psychology. This research is in preparation for the launch of an organization named ” Toomans”. Toomans is a business that teaches and matches people together to be in a relationship to raise a child to the age of 18, a time where those two individuals can choose to continue their family or part ways from there. This business provides people with the experience of having a family without having the pressure of keeping an “old-timey” family relationship. It allows for polyamorous freedom while still having the ability to continue long-lasting relationships if they choose to. Although there is some controversy about this method, Hooman has taken extra measures to study social science in order to create the perfect system to engage men and women of 2030 in maintaining a family while still learning and keeping the obligations and expectations of a relationship.
What intrigued me in Auger’s piece was the discussion of familiarity. Throughout the paper, through defining speculative design, Auger states that effective design fiction is not cast too far in the future but close enough that it’s still relatable to the public. But, on the other hand he also cautions speculative designers to be conscience of normality because
“If a design proposal is too familiar it is easily assimilated into the normative progression of products and would pass unnoticed.”
I love this aspect of design fiction because it’s subtle and falls into the big picture of design all at the same time. The little things and products that we face and use on a daily basis that seem mundane and repetitive are the objects that are familiar but can be used to strike and provoke a different lifestyle. We are asking people to understand that what we use and hold onto presently may not be the same in 50 years. We are asking people to understand that change is inevitable and we have the power to change it if you choose to take the time to imagine it. And mostly, we are asking people to acknowledge the presence of opportunity if we choose to be responsible for it. That’s not exactly what the reading was about, but it definitely made me think about why speculative design could be extremely valuable if integrated into the process of design thinking and wonder how long it will take before it becomes a part of the design-minded norm.
I found The Poetics of Design Fiction to be a very interesting piece to read reactions to. The majority of the reactions equate to fists angrily being shaken at the designer that suggests there is structure in design fiction. I completely agree with the frustration but also believe that there is a purpose for establishing dreary process steps. People who look to step-by-step instructions in a creative field are lacking the wild creativity that comes along with production of artistic ideas but, the artist that lacks the awareness of step-by-step processes are lacking the ability to organize and articulate the process they took to reach their conclusion. The release of step-by-step processes are like Aladdin’s journey to the Cave of Wonders. Anyone can find the map to get there ( if they take the time to look) and read the instructions of who can open the cave but only a select few can enter. But on the other hand if you don’t look at the map you’ll never know how to get it open.
I think it’d be interesting to map out what processes designers want to naturally follow and how that changes the product as opposed to how we’ve been trained to follow the design process.