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 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 :



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”


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.”

Critical Future of Corporate Visions

My project is based on my ongoing research on finding an intersection of the criticality of critical design and complexity and utility of the notion of ‘Jugaad’.


‘Jugaad’ a hindi word, in short, means inventiveness within a lack of resouces. Though it is loosely used for many different things and has even become an euphemism for quick fix. It represents the innovation done frugally and for survival. In colonial sense, it is not considered a mainstream innovation until recently.

Critical Design used specuating objects to create visions for futures that we want to think about and possibly avoid. It is very high art based realm of design where idea is central and the artifact is used as a medium. This hegemony of Critical Design practice needs to be changed and alternative visions need to exist beyond the existing paradigms within which Critical Design operates.

If this is about future then it should be about everyone’s future (read people outside United states and Western Europe) I am in search of finding alternative ways of creating future visions for rest of the world where we consider what does a future of a farmer in Pakistan looks like. I do not intend to create social design innovation to change there lives but simply include the neglected public on conversations about the future


For this project I have chosen to crtically evaluate an existing first world corporate vision of the future video posted by microsoft and also studied other similar moving images for future visions. I aim to critically examine their role and the audience they wish to persuade and represent and create Speculative Critical Design artifact to manifest the crticality by using Design as a medium. I compared that video with what my vision for that video could be . I also brainstormed within a team about the possible outcomes.

The options I am considering are creating a Bechdel test version for such videos and a Toolkit that enables people to create a manifestation of their critical view on that video.

The test would enable people to start a discussion about such visions and the kinds of futures these corporations are pushing us towards.



Virtual Reality exploration of uncanny duplitecture

ArchiArchiZoomZoom is a continuation of the work put forward by 60s-era avant-garde / neofuturist architects like Archigram, Superstudio, and Archizoom Associati. Where those studios’ work centered around a theme contemporary to the time — communism vs. capitalism — ArchiArchiZoomZoom centers around prolific duplication in the internet age.

The user dons a VR headset, and enters a virtual city. They are allowed to freely explore, eventually discovering uncanny oddities the city has to offer.




Blessed the Wet Nurse

My project is about a world where breast milk is a commodity. Companies like Milk Connection provide breast milk to mothers/clients via bottle or wet-nurse. Milk Connection is not a one time donation collection facility. It is a company that fosters budding wet nurses into their full potential. By providing training, pro-lactation meals, on call doctors, vitamins, testing, and legal protection, wet nurses are able to strive and build credibility in the early stages of their careers. After 8 years the wet nurse is ready to take her oath of commitment to the cause. She is given a pin to symbolize the beginning of her commitment and after ten years of following that oath, she is given the full badge along with the elevated status of a Senior Wet Nurse. Senior Wet Nurses receive special retirement privileges, such as top treatment and living arrangements, that few end up using. Instead, they end up staying with their client families until the children enter high school or go off to college– after which they join a new client family. I will be focusing on the career path of wet nurses and what this elevated status looks like.

The Form:

I believe the form will be a poster/digital collection of snap shots from this world. They would include  a job add for an entry level wet nurse, the design of the pin and badge, persona of a senior wet nurse, persona of an entry wet nurse, the oath of commitment, about the Milk Connection page, and a bio of a lower quality company.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 11.31.09 AM Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 11.31.29 AM

Career Path:


  • Level one training: if you haven’t been pregnant only—to help women make milk (pumping, vitamins)
  • Level two training: how to maintain appropriate lifestyle, interact, pump, etc

Job Levels:

  • Entry:
    • Pump breast milk and milk is given to costumer or sold in stores
    • No contact with costumer
    • Milk is tested
    • All meals are eaten at facility
    • Heavily monitored
    • Clients can watch pumping via live feed (only higher quality companies provide this)
    • Get promoted after 3 years and good performance (high quality breast milk, personable, healthy living)
  • Junior:
    • Half pumps
    • Clients can watch pumping via live feed (only higher quality companies provide this)
    • Half visits clients
    • Clients are once in a while users
    • Get promoted after 5 years and good performance
  • Associate:
    • Commutes to client’s home
    • Live in for short periods of time
    • Pumps on occasion
    • Take oath—long term commitment for as long as you can physically do it
    • Promoted after following oath and 10 years
      • Receives pin
  •  Senior:
    • Live in wet nurse
    • Close relationship with family
    • Travels with family
    • One contract could expand years
    • Live in caregiver
    • Pumps on occasion
    • Revered for long term commitment
      • Special bonuses
        • Full badge that is worn all the time
        • Good retirement possibilities
          • Many don’t use


  • Salary
  • Reimbursement for travel, health, specialized needs
  • Facility provides meals, vitamins, doctors, breast feeding products
  • Health insurance, etc
  • Protection from legal ramifications unless wet nurse actively does something that endangers child (ex: drinking and then breast feeding)
  • Requirements:
    • Follow meal plan
    • Take vitamins
    • Maintain healthy lifestyle
    • No drugs, alcohol, etc
    • Once a month visits to on site doctor
    • Preferred to have been pregnant:
    • No criminal history
    • Health/psych history approved
    • Pass current health exam
    • Non compete
    • Degrees in either Food Sciences, Biology, Biochemistry, Anatomy, Psychology, or Nutrition
  • Milk Connection:
    • Higher end because of the amount of resources they provide for wet nurses and the amount of monitoring of lower level
    • Provides live feeds of wet nurse breast feeding only entry and junior level
    • Branding of what is sold in stores is not based on attributes of wet nurses