Design Fiction Reflection

Before this class, I saw design as a way to solve problems practically and beautifully.  I saw the difference between art and design to be that one was from the creator to the world and the other was for the world by the creator.  Design fiction is a combination of these differences and solves the problem of a closed mind.  It works because it is designed to provoke, created with a goal in mind.  Throughout the class, we were able to learn about all kinds of design fiction works and discuss the ways that they were and weren’t successful.  I loved learning about these works, but the art of successful design fiction became much more apparent to me when our class presented their final projects.

I really enjoyed seeing the progression of how these projects evolved and developed, especially since there was such a variety of projects and topics.  It was also intriguing to see the correlation between project and student.  I love that students used their strengths to create projects that showed what they care about, in a way that is important to them.  Sankalp created a beautiful video to show his concept.  The video was thoughtfully made and that extra touch of care made it even more successful.  I was also blown away by the creativity behind John’s business card project and the way that it was presented because it felt incredibly real, like it could actually work.  He was able to use his knowledge of code and programming to make his project even more compelling.  Finally, I really enjoyed reading through Joe’s website about the placebo effect because the content was well thought out, making it incredibly provoking.  His project felt like a beautifully designed experience that achieved its goal.  I really appreciated the way that his and many other projects showed the power of design in a different space/solving a different problem.

After this whole experience, I think that it’s incredibly important for all designers to understand the significance of design fiction.  For me, the power of design was revealed to me when I saw design achieving a different goal, one that is important and often less embraced.  Design should be a part of all aspects of society and our personal lives.  When the principles of design are thoughtfully put into play, it can open doors and set ideas into motion.

ArchiArchiZoomZoom

ArchiArchiZoomZoom is a virtual world accessible via website, where the user can attempt to build a city around them. Conceptually, it’s an exploration of a couple of things.

Duplitecture is a term relating to copying of architecture, most of which is currently happening in China. Every building on this slide is an example of duplitecture. There are entire Chinese communities made to resemble western cities — Venice and Paris, for example — and there are vast amounts of one-off copies and caricatures of western architecture. The buildings within my project are pieces of duplitecture, ripped from their place of origin, dropped on a blank canvas, and distorted just enough to make them uncanny.

ArchiArchiZoomZoom is also an exploration of the act of making digital copies, particularly bringing attention the the ease of creating unlimited amounts of things.

Finally, it’s an echo to the avant-garde, neo-futurist architects of the past, like Archigram, Archizoom, and Superstudio. These groups spent their careers combining technology and architecture, envisioning utopian landscapes, and criticizing contemporary architectural theory and practice.

When the user enters ArchiArchiZoomZoom, they are presented with a series of quotes from these groups. From these quotes, three key phrases are highlighted, each one a global rule enacted in the virtual world:

For those who, like ourselves, are convinced that architecture is one of the few ways to realize cosmic order on earth, to put things according to reason, it is a ‘moderate utopia’ to imagine a near future in which all architecture will be created with a single act, from a single design capable of clarifying once and for all the motives which have induced man to build dolmens, menhirs, pyramids, and lastly to trace (ultima ratio) a white line in the desert. ―Superstudio, 1969

The fundamental characteristics of futuristic architecture will be expendability and transience. Our house will last less time than we do, every generation must make its own city. ―Archigram

Today, in order to create a new architecture and new urban spaces … one has to plunge one’s hands into that vast planktonic soup of products, technologies, pictures, signs and data which make up the artificial universe in which man is completely immersed. … Design, bravely operating within the world of production and consumption, has gained its new found supremacy through being the only planning entity able to transform reality. ―Andrea Branzi, Archizoom, 1993

The project can be viewed in a browser, but is mainly meant to be explored using a virtual reality headset, in this case, a Google Cardboard.

Creating a Critical Framework for evaluating Speculative Critical Design & Design Fictions

I started by looking at Video Visions of the future series by Microsoft corporation and wanted to create a critical version of the video so as to criticize the politics of anticipation and ambiguty and insensitivity towards various issues in these constructed visions of the future.

In the evolutionary process of creating a critical framework I have decided to work on creating a ‘Citical Kit’ with the intention of the making criticism accessbile to the masses. This Kit would enable viewer to submit his/her critical feedback in a tangible form and would give a material form to criticism.

The idea is based on ‘The Crit-Kit toolkit which was introduced in the Oxford Futures forum which was aimed to use annotation to evaluate scenarios critically. This could be also used to make design provocation and help to think on other scenarios. IT would be productive in analyzing existing designs.

The ideological stance behind such toolkit is that we influence our tools and then the tools influence us. It helps people identify missing parts and helps a person think.

Link to my research/thought process :

Process

Examples

The Near-Future of Urban Exploration [TBRevised]

Project Brief:

I’m creating an adversarial fiction centered near-future urban-exploration. At present, this critical-cultural practice is underpinned by an array curious rituals that give shape to a greater, yet looming, internal sense of identity and community. Going forward, I’ve aligned my research with a local group of 2015 Urban Explorers to better understand the domain at it presents exists. From there, I will craft a series of documentary filmic explorations that weave together to bedrock an entirely fictional artifact piece of legal legislature, whose remarkable discovery and uncanny aesthetics-of-use promotion and publication bring alternative insight, critique, and debate to the fore of this subcultural praxis.

…the more we feel like there are things we can’t do and places we can’t see, the more urban exploration has [a] capacity to give people hope”

Notes:

Urban Exploration –  the exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment.

Place-Hacking – seeing the city like it’s a puzzle and putting the pieces of that puzzle together, connecting things

“…the more we feel like there are things we can’t do and places we can’t see, the more urban exploration has [a] capacity to give people hope”

agonism –  is a political theory that emphasizes the potentially positive aspects of certain (but not all) forms of political conflict. It accepts a permanent place for such conflict, but seeks to show how we might accept and channel this positively.

adversarial design – an attempt to provide design criticism as an approach to thinking about political expression, computation as a medium and the processes and products of design.

“If we abandon the notion that any one design can completely or even adequately address our social concerns or resolve social issues, then adversarial design can provide those spaces of confrontation — in the form of products, services, events, and process through which political concerns and issues can [be] expressed and engaged. To do the work of adversarial design is to embrace a commitment to discovering and inventing ways to express and enable productive dissensus and contestation.”