I remember you from somewhere….

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.

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Stick it to the Man, ’cause the Man Sucks.

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.

Design Fiction, Science Fiction, and Industrial Design

The readings were an interesting way to see how other’s viewed the intersection between science fiction and industrial design. If I were to close my eyes and visualize those two terms with just random spurts of images…science fictions on one hand would be filled with lime greens, deep purples, spaceships, contorted organisms and men with ray guns while industrial design would be slow pans over rounded black edges, fast shots across the gleam on titanium, whatever smelling wood would look like, and a bunch of people wearing safety glasses covered in foam and 3-D printing filament strings. But when thinking about the application of sci-fi and industrial design those images fade away and a lot of questions begin to pop up.

The fascinating aspect of design fiction is that it combines the images with the questions and produces a method of speculation that allows people to think critically about the possibilities of the future.

1. Though the article’s main point may not have been to focus so heavily on the practicality of industrial design, his indication of it’s practicality made me laugh. There are so many ways in which industrial design is described to fit the needs of one’s topic of concern ( it’s too conceptual and impractical screams the engineers, it’s just about aesthetics says the corporations, and it’s just about practicality says the sci-fi author). But the real concern should lay in how it’s used in all these different ways. It’s less about the description of what it’s lacking but the contribution it can make when people with different agendas need it to. In this case design fiction expects some contribution from industrial design focused minds because it hints greatly at the potential for many new products and physical interactions in the future. ( But of course, design fiction relies heavily on all kinds of designers and story-tellers in order to complete the future vision.)

2. I think that design fiction places a lot of power into the untapped potential of wild and unrestricted creativity. In order for people to come up with ideas that are interesting and questionable these design fiction contributors need to have the open mind and bravery to explore the depths of the unknown in order to understand what to speculate in the present.

3. I feel like the word designer means nothing and everything at the same time. Everyone’s opinion on what a designer can contribute is different because every designer is different, and every designers’ values and intentions are different. I wonder if design would be more or less affective if we would be able to look at design as a more cohesive group in terms of values… Although the occurrence of that seems very unlikely since we are a humanity filled to the brim with a variety of opinions when it comes to ethics, values, and societal obligation.

In conclusion, I’m very curious and excited to see what the depths of “design-fiction” can mean and how that plays into how design beings to change in the coming years.