It’s a little much

The more I read the texts, the more frustrated I seem to get. While I understand the need to define and refine how we go about creating speculative design, it is getting to be too much. The categories that Auger describes as means to go about creating speculative design seem to be more about how to be a compelling story teller. Keeping in mind the context the piece is read in, making it believable to the reader, getting the right kind of discomfort for the reader to accept, and having the piece guide the reader along a particular path is basic storytelling/writing. I feel it is really self explanatory/instinctive of a good communicator and that its not adding any new interpretations of those concepts. Later on Auger does on to mention a MoMA exhibit of speculative design and the issues that they had trying to get the audience to focus on the intended path. While that some of these issues could be fixed by more clearly communicated captions and what not, maybe whats more valuable about the experience is the adverse reaction that people had to it. What comes to mind is the grave battery and how someone responded that “[they] don’t feel the need to by remembered as an object. [They} would like [their] energy to create an act”. I think that contains more value than trying to make that person go back and change their reaction. It brings up more valuable questions that can create speculative design that sparks more and higher quality discussion. What is the point of speculative design if the designer tries to force the viewer to have only one reaction to the piece and it is the one that the designer wants/has. This could make speculative design a much better tool for design research and can be used in the way described by Gran and Wiedmer.

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Design Fiction is….

The Praxis and Poetics reading made a connection between design fiction and design research that I previously wouldn’t have considered. I view design research as a means to examine how people act and think now to influence how we design for them in the near future. Design Fiction on the other hand, to me, is making a statement about a future possibility through the creation of a world, scenario, or object.  Based on this and the reading, I still feel that they are separate practices. However, they do rely on each other. As in the scenario discussed, history and research can influence the creation of design fiction and vis versa, a compelling piece of design fiction could inspire design research into a particular area. I think it is essential to think of these practices as separate because their different fundamental starting points. Design research starts at looking at a behavior, situation, or place and digs to find out how something could be changed, how people act, or why they do. Design Fiction takes a situation, practice, etc and sees far ahead in what could result from it and begins to shape a world around it. While the two can help each other drastically, one should not be confused for the other. If the reading had provided a definition and discussion into what design research, it could redefine what the relationship is between design fiction and design research.

I think that Design Fiction is a misleading term because its difficult to understand the term “design” without practicing it. Designers tell non-designers about how designers work effectively with other disciplines and need to know a bit of everything to design effectively. So when design fiction offers more complicated ideas and prototypes involving in depth understandings of other areas, it can seem like  design fiction is trying to predict the future, even when its not. However, if you don’t practice design it isn’t always obvious that a key part of design is about sparking conversation and utilizing it to create something better. Without the understanding of how design functions, it is easy to misinterpret design fiction and miss the conversation.