A and B of Design

Dunne and Raby’s A and B of design on Speculative Everything (2012)

Since I am thinking about alternative design practices at the moment, from design activism to the present state of critical design, and I revisited this list that came across on Dunne and Raby’s book: Speculative Everything. On the left, design as it is; on the right, design as it could/should be. Ready for plan B?

Keith Oatley says: “Fiction is both real and not-real in the same way. It is about real social worlds, but it’s also imagined.”

How do you design for unreality, and what should it look like? How should the unreal, parallel, impossible, unknown, and yet-to-exist be represented? And how, in a design, can you simultaneously capture the real and not-real? This is where the aesthetic challenge for speculative design lies, in successfully straddling both. To fall on either side is too easy.

Contextual Design department head Louise Schouwenberg from Design Academy Eindhoven also encourages students to focus less on solving today’s practical needs, and more on imagining future questions and scenarios.
“The world needs visionaries, Author Designers, who dare to fantasize about the future potential of global and local developments and the changes brought about by technological innovations. With every product and strategy a designer actually says something about our humanity and how we relate, or wish to relate, to the surrounding world. (…) Artistic talent, curiosity, empathy, a researching attitude, and critical reflection are at the base of every project.”

When it comes to design fiction, I think it is crucial mention a wonderful paper of Julian Bleecker from Near Future Laboratory which creates a conceptual linkage through science-fiction-ubiquitous-computing.

My main interest is to understand how imaginations and hypothesis become materialized to swerve the present into new, more habitable near future worlds.

The future is already here, let’s evenly distribute it.