Project 3 thoughts: DF Selfie

I have few ideas. They all have to do with embedding illustrations of speculated futures in real life. I am planning to create rich illustrations of speculative futures. These will be scenes, landscapes + not so complicated special effects. My aim is to let the user experience the existence of the future in the present. Extending the same thought, I am also planning to include the user in the speculated illustration of the future.

I am inclining towards creating the following:

Speculated Selfie from the future
This will an installation in a space. The background will be of consistent color ( so that it’s easy to remove it with less processing time). The user will be asked to take a selfie against this background using a custom app. The phone application will keep the face and body contour of the user intact and remove the background to replace it with a speculated future. The set of illustrations will be pre-created and used by the app. The app can have the functionality to pick the future scenario, if the user doesn’t make any choice, the app will pick one at random.

I want to play around with the idea of taking selfie because it’s part of pop culture, social habit and modern psych. People can take selfies for variety of reasons- insecurities, keeping memories, as a performance. I want design fiction to meet the ritual of taking selfie. I am curious how people would react when their present is augmented with a fictional future using ‘selfie taking’ as a medium.

I would be thrilled to collaborate with you if you know how to create surreal futuristic graphic with little special effects.

Challenge in creating a successful project would be to capture the real emotion of the future and add audiovisual elements to make the selfie richer.

Selfiecity :

Her: Afterthoughts

1.Machines will be able to feel more evolved emotions and feelings than humans. Will artificial agents be capable of selfless love? The way machines feel can be completely different than humans. Can machines come up with complete new paradigm for emotions?

2.No matter how much we advance in terms of technology, our decisions and the world will still be driven by how we feel, for most part.

3.We will grow more connected to the world due to technology but will be in great dearth of intimacy at the same time.

4. We will try and fill this gap of intimacy by using more technology. In this world, can we become more attached to technology than real life? (It has begun to happen already). It will increasingly become difficult to get hold of reality in this world.

5. Tipping point of social acceptance: It is considered completely natural to be lost in your phone on a subway. Will people lost in virtuality considered normal in future? Social acceptance is governed by numbers.

6. I like the fact that movie does not cater to utopia or dystopia. It just exists. It talks about just another day of next door person. It’s subtle and manages to capture things that matter.

7. My question is, would you call ‘Her’ a science fiction? It does not contain flashy props from future which are shown off by the cast and characters in movie. The heart of the movie is dialogue about human relations and intimacy in near future, can we call this one a sci fi?

More Arguments and analysis

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tonkinwise, I wish there was more. I can safely claim that I’m his fan now since I followed him on twitter.


1. We are again thinking too much here I say. Arguments, analysis and counter arguments. I would like to go HCI way. Let users decide. Lets just make stuff and user test it. Make bunch of stuff and do comparative analysis of which method moves the viewer the most? I would reiterate my previous point here – I want to make an experiential object from future, which is immersive- less fictional than a movie but more engaging than an object in museum.

2. Why is there this dire need of categorizing and decomposing this space? Discursive, speculative, associative, critical, interrogative, adversarial..too many names. I do not care if something is speculative or not. I do not care if my definition of speculative is different than that of DnR. My fundamental problem with design is sometimes there is abundance of philosophy and no proof.

Many domain experts do speculative design without even realizing it. Examples presented in Speculative Everything do not mention any of these.

I attended a guest lecture from Oran Catts yesterday. He is using tissue culture as medium to speculate future. He could be easily categorized as speculative designer although he thinks his works are piece of art. He creates fully functional crafts which are disruptive.

Victimless Leather by Oran Catts.

Tatsuya Matsui is an architect, designer and roboticist who is speculating robots of tomorrow with Flower Robotics
flower robotic

3. DnR are creating focussed futures – Designing objects of future for only a certain group of people. They are focussed on wealthy western world. I agree with Tonkinwise, what about cultural differences and unequal distribution of wealth?

4. DnR’s work is still gimmicky for me. It seems to me that it is carefully crafted for museum or a photograph that can be easily spread across in media. It lacks the real meat of critical engineering, it doesn’t provoke you as much as Oran Catt’s neolifism and doesn’t take you as near to future as Tatsuya Matsui’s empathetic robots.