At Imagination of Things, we have spent the last few months experimenting with a potential role for AI in the creative process. It started with a collaboration with Baltan Laboratories, who prompted us to create a digital tool for ideation and wordsmithing using semantic similarity and machine learning. Called Fabricating Alternatives, the research project allowed us to get lost and explore the realm of language, computational thinking, and weird algorithms, and we would like to share our unintended outputs, and what we have learned so far.

The initial premise was to develop narrative devices to inquiry about our reality, especially in the process of inventing, designing, developing long-term visions and near-future scenarios. Our working prototype uses machine learning as a provocateur, a multiplier of shared intuition about a certain topic. …


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The Potential of Digital Games to Engage Citizens with Datasets

We started this project staring down a massive collection of text data that the European Commission had handed over to us, full of their written science reports that have accumulated over the years. The reports suffer from anonymity to the average citizen, though they are open and transparent, publicly funded and gathered for public benefit. The breadth of topics is seemingly impossible to relate back to our everyday issues and the wicked problems that fill our newsrooms, daily concerns, and dinner conversations.

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Wojtek Szumowski is an invention strategist and relentless creative explorer. He is indirectly also the reason Imagination of Things exists: it was under his direction in the poetic innovation lab inside Crispin, Porter + Bogusky that we met and received the encouragement and confidence to establish our creative practice, where we found ways to dialogue and speculate even with industries that have a profound lack of poetry and empathy.

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He currently leads his almost quixotic quest at the Kinetic Optimism, an experience design studio at VMLY&R Detroit, working with Ford to unlock the behavioral potential of cars, investigating new roles and relationships that the car can have through unfolding new techno-social situations: personal, social and public. …


Luiza Prado de O. Martins is a force of nature. We first got in touch while contributing with Oniria, a powerful speculative parafiction work about reproductive rights in Brazil, that was published in the book “The Responsible Object: A History Of Design Ideology For The Future“, edited by Marjanne Van Helvert. The piece was also “imagined as a critique to the ways in which design for social innovation is frequently deployed as a strategy to normalize situations of oppression, rather than address them”.

She is a designer, artist, and activist based in Berlin. Her work is a great inspiration for us and a reminder of how crucial it is to address the politics and systems of power embedded in our reality. When inventing anything, real transformative innovation or meaningful change can’t avoid the political layer — it would be like creating in the vacuum. …


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noun: extrapolation; plural noun: extrapolations

the action of estimating or concluding something by assuming that existing trends will continue or a current method will remain applicable.

“sizes were estimated by extrapolation”

The Extrapolation Factory is a design-based research studio for participatory futures studies, founded by Chris Woebken and Elliott P. Montgomery. The studio develops experimental methods for collaboratively prototyping, experiencing and impacting future scenarios.

We met Chris during a workshop Designing Hypothetical (LARP design) in 2017 at the School of Machines, Making & Make Believe in Berlin, and we have been following with enthusiasm his work since. …


Fabricating Alternatives is a research project developing narrative devices for creative groups to prototype alternatives to our reality. Imagination of Things, together with Baltan Laboratories, are exploring more hybrid possibilities for our current challenges, starting with this question: How can we better exercise ownership of our imagination when inventing, designing, developing long-term visions and near-future scenarios?

The way we imagine our future is heavily influenced by current narratives (from Silicon Valley products to Hollywood’s interpretation of science fiction) and their hidden or embedded point-of-view. …


Interview by Aurélien Montinari first published at Le Shadok.

Plus sur nous: website & instagram

Aurélien Montinari : La notion de narration est très présente dans votre travail, pourquoi selon vous, est-elle si importante ? Comment est-il possible de créer un dialogue entre les personnes et les artefacts ?

Vous parlez de joie, vous dites que vous voulez « débloquer la joie et la pertinence ». Le mot joie est peu utilisé pour parler des technologies, pourquoi pensez-vous que ces termes sont liés ?

Votre approche du design est prospective et critique, comment cela fonctionne-t-il? Selon Louis Sullivan, « la forme doit suivre la fonction ». Comment pouvez-vous imaginer des fonctions futuristes ? Où est la partie critique dans ce travail ? Pourquoi est-ce important de travailler avec des créatifs locaux? …

About

Vitor Freire

Founder & Creative Director @Imagination of Things imaginationofthings.com

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