For me the highlight of the whole conference was Tatiana Toutikian’s “Speculative needs XOXO”, about a project carrying the same name. It was a wonderful journey into the importance using speculative design to open up the opportunities in the future and bring them back to today, while questioning their motives. She started her talk with an 8-minute interactive narrative which still gives me goosebumps. It was an interaction of future scenarios done with her students regarding future, interacting with an AI “Gloria” and a computerized voice reading the description of potential futures, composed of cheap dollar store objects.
The first day of the conference was closed by MUJI’s director of design Kenya Hara with a wonderful mediation on the design philosophy behind all of MUJI. His two main themes were emptiness and ex-formation (as opposed to information). Leave an empty space for me, and let me fill it. Let me imagine. Build products that resonate well with function, but leave the concept for the user of the product to fill. I’ve been obsessing with Japanese concept of kintsukoroi, repair with gold for a long time and this resonates beautifully with designing technology as well. Complement the existing, and blend in where possible.