robertogreco + fiction + design   47

Anne Galloway 'Speculative Design and Glass Slaughterhouses' - This is HCD
"Andy: You’ve got quite an interesting background. I’m going to ask you about in a second. I wanted to start with the quote from Ursula Le Guin that you have on your website. It’s from the Lathe of Heaven. “We’re in the world, not against it. It doesn’t work to try and stand outside things and run them that way, it just doesn’t work. It goes against life. There is a way, but you have to follow it, the world is, no matter how we think it ought to be, you have to be with it, you have to let it be.

Then on the More Than Human website, you have these three questions. What if we refuse to uncouple nature and culture? What if we deny that human beings are exceptional? What if we stop speaking and listening only to ourselves? The More Than Human lab explores everyday entanglements of humans and non-humans and imagines more sustainable ways of thinking, making, and doing. Anne, let’s get started by first talking about what do you mean by all of that?

Anne: The Ursula Le Guin quote I love mostly because a critical perspective or an activist perspective, anything that says we ought to be changing the world in any way, it always assumes that we need to fix something, that the world is broken and that designers especially are well-suited to be able to solve some of these problems. I like thinking about what it means to respond to injustice by accepting it, not in the sense of believing that it’s okay or right, because clearly, it’s been identify as unjust. I love Le Guin’s attention to the fact that there is a way to be in the world.

As soon as we think that we’re outside of it, any choices or decisions or actions that we take are, well, they sit outside of it as well. I like being embedded in the trouble. I like Donna Haraway’s idea of staying with the trouble. It’s not that we have to accept that things are problematic, but rather that we have to work within the structures that already exist. Not to keep them that way, in fact, many should be dismantled or changed. Rather, to accept that there is a flow to the universe.

Of course, Le Guin was talking about Taoism, but here what I wanted to draw attention to is often our imperative to fix or to solve or to change things comes with a belief that we’re not part of the world that we’re trying to fix and change. It’s that that I want to highlight. That when we start asking difficult questions about the world, we can never remove ourselves from them. We’re complicit, we are on the receiving end of things. We’re never distant from it. I think that subtle but important shift in deciding how we approach our work is really important."



"Andy: Yes, okay. I was thinking about this, I was reading, in conjunction, this little Le Guin quote, I was trying to think, it’s unusual in the sense that it’s a discipline or a practice of design that uses its own practice to critique itself. It’s using design to critique design in many respects. A lot of what speculative design is talking about is, look what happens when we put stuff into the world, in some way, without much thought. I was trying to think if there was another discipline that does that. I think probably in the humanities there are, and certainly in sociology I think there probably is, where it uses its own discipline to critique itself. It’s a fairly unusual setup.

Anne: I would think actually it’s quite common in the humanities, perhaps the social sciences, where it’s not common is in the sciences. Any reflexive turn in any of the humanities would have used the discipline. Historiography is that sort of thing. Applied philosophy is that sort of thing. Reflexive anthropology is that sort of thing. I think it’s actually quite common, just not in the sciences, and design often tries to align itself with the sciences instead.

Andy: Yes, there was a great piece in the Aeon the other day, about how science doesn’t have an adequate description or explanation for consciousness. Yet, it’s the only thing it can be certain of. With that, it also doesn’t really seem to come up in the technology industry that much, because it’s so heavily aligned with science. Technology, and you’ve got this background in culture studies and science and technology and society, technology is a really strong vein throughout speculative design. Indeed, your work, right? Counting sheep is about the Internet of Things, and sheep. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that and why I am talking to you from the picture things to the Lord of the Rings, it basically looks like you’re living in part of the Shire in Middle Earth?

Anne: I do live in a place that looks remarkably like the Shire. It’s a bit disconcerting at times. The science and technology question in speculative design I think is first of all a matter of convenience. Science fiction, speculation, they lean historically, habitually towards science and tech. It becomes an easy target for critique. Not that it’s not necessary, but it’s right there, so why not? There’s that element to it. It has an easier ability to be transformed into something fanciful or terrifying, which allows for certain kinds of storytelling through speculation, that I think people, both creators and audiences or readers really enjoy.

Now, the irony of all of this, of course is that arguably one of the greatest concerns that people have would be tied to technological determinism, the idea that we’re going to have these technologies anyway, so what are we going to do about it? Now, when you speculate using these technologies, what you’re doing is actually reinforcing the idea that these technologies are coming, you play right into the same technological determinism that you’re trying to critique. In fact, one of the counting sheep scenarios was designed specifically to avoid the technology. It was the one that got the most positive responses."



"Andy: With all of this, and I may this pop at the beginning, just before we were recording, that there’s a sense of, because of everything going on in the world, that if only designers could run the world, everything would be fine, right, because we can see all of the solutions to everything. What would you want designers to get out of this kind of work or this kind of perspective?

Anne: Humility. That simple. I am one of those people. It’s because of being an ethnographer as well and doing participant observation and interviewing many people and their ideas about design. I’ve run into far more people who think that designers are arrogant than ones who don’t. This has always really interested me. What is it that designers do that seems to rub non-designers the wrong way? Part of it is this sense of, or implication that they know better than the rest of us, or that a designer will come in and say, “Let me fix your problem”, before even asking if there is a problem that the person wants fixed.

I actually gave a guest lecture in a class just the other day, where I suggested that there were people in the world who thought that designers were arrogant. One of the post-graduate students in the class really took umbrage at this and wanted to know why it was that designers were arrogant for offering to fix problems, but a builder wasn’t, or a doctor wasn’t.

Andy: What was your answer?

Anne: Well, my answer was, generally speaking, people go to them first and say, “I have this problem, I need help.” Whereas, designers come up with a problem, go find people that they think have it and then tell them they’d like to solve it. I think just on a social level, that is profoundly anti-social. That is not how people enjoy socially interacting with people.

Andy: I can completely see that and I think that I would say that argument has also levelled, quite rightly, a lot of Silicon Valley, which is the answer to everything is some kind of technology engineering startup to fix all the problems that all the other technology and engineering startups that are no longer startups have created. It’s probably true of quite a lot of areas of business and finance, as well, and politics, for that matter. The counter, I could imagine a designer saying, “Well, that’s not really true”, because one of the things as human-centred designers, the first thing we do, we go out, we do design ethnography, we go and speak to people, we go and observe, we go and do all of that stuff. We really understand their problems. We’re not just telling people what needs to be fixed. We’re going there and understanding things. What’s your response to that?

Anne: Well, my first response is, yes, that’s absolutely true. There are lots of very good designers in the world who do precisely that. Because I work in an academic institution though, I’m training students. What my job involves is getting the to the point where they know the difference between telling somebody something and asking somebody something. what it means to actually understand their client or their user. I prefer to just refer to them as people. What it is that people want or need. One of the things that I offer in all of my classes is, after doing the participant observation, my students always have the opportunity to submit a rationale for no design intervention whatsoever.

That’s not something that is offered to people in a lot of business contexts because there’s a business case that’s being made. Whereas, I want my students to understand that sometimes the research demonstrates that people are actually okay, and that even if they have little problems, they’re still okay with that, that people are quite okay with living with contradictions and that they will accept some issues because it allows for other things to emerge. That if they want, they can provide the evidence for saying, “Actually, the worst thing we could do in this scenario is design anything and I refuse to design.”

Andy: Right, that and the people made trade-offs all the time because of the pain of change is much … [more]
annegalloway  design  2019  speculativefiction  designethnography  morethanhuman  ursulaleguin  livestock  agriculture  farming  sheep  meat  morethanhumanlab  activism  criticaldesign  donnaharaway  stayingwiththetrouble  taoism  flow  change  changemaking  systemsthinking  complicity  catherinecaudwell  injustice  justice  dunneandraby  consciousness  science  technology  society  speculation  speculativedesign  questioning  fiction  future  criticalthinking  whatif  anthropology  humanities  reflexiveanthropology  newzealand  socialsciences  davidgrape  powersoften  animals  cows  genevievebell  markpesce  technologicaldeterminism  dogs  cats  ethnography  cooperation  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  slow  slowness  time  perception  psychology  humility  problemsolving  contentment  presence  peacefulness  workaholism  northamerica  europe  studsterkel  protestantworkethic  labor  capitalism  passion  pets  domestication 
10 weeks ago by robertogreco
Maintenance — Cultural Anthropology
"Designed worlds are produced and maintained by human labor. As such, maintenance labor is a key site through which ethnographers might rethink the design of our own research.

* * *

Living in Ladera Heights
The black Beverly Hills
Domesticated paradise
Palm trees and pools
The water’s blue
Swallow a pill
Keepin’ it surreal

—Frank Ocean

In “Sweet Life,” the artist Frank Ocean sings of the affluent Los Angeles black enclave of Ladera Heights. He describes life for the city’s young middle-class black inhabitants as insulated and undisturbed: the sweet life.

A meter shift in Ocean’s vocals and music encroaches on the fiction of this “domesticated paradise.” The veneer of an unblemished pool and of svelte skirted Mexican palms is undone by the song’s chorus: “You’ve had a landscaper and a housekeeper since you were born.” Ocean’s analysis of a black middle-class subject works to make visible immigrant maintenance labor.

In Ramiro Gomez’s acclaimed series of artworks Happy Hills, the serenity of affluent West Los Angeles is similarly recast by making visible the unmarked labor of Latina and Latino immigrant laborers. Gomez, who worked as a nanny, plants life-sized cardboard cutouts of gardeners on the sidewalk hedges of Beverly Hills mansions and inserts domestic workers into the immaculate kitchens shown in the pages of magazines like Better Homes and Gardens.

Gomez and Ocean make palpable the relationship across Los Angeles’s suburbs between affluent and working-class, leisured and laboring subjects. In their works, disparate social and material worlds overlap by making explicit the maintenance labor performed by workers who are themselves alienated from the very places they enrich.

* * *

How is maintenance work, which is to say life-creating and time-freeing labor (such as the domestic and gardening labor of Latina and Latino immigrant workers), a site from which to theorize ethnography and design?

Maintenance, as Ocean and Gomez highlight, is the work of fiction. It is the repeated labor that creates a neat story about the way things naturally appear to be. Ethnography—as the practice of approaching material reality—is itself a practice of repetition, from repeated travels to the field and reconsulting with field notes to the writing and rewriting of a supposed reality. Maintenance labor, like ethnographic narratives, produce an image of the way things supposedly are by erasing the trace of its constant reworking; that is to say, it makes invisible the labor necessary for its construction. In the case of maintenance work, as Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo (2014) argues, labor is made invisible through its gendering and racialization. In the case of ethnography, on the other hand, the author works to remove their labor from the frame so as to represent an unvarnished texture of cultural difference. Or, as Kamala Visweswaran (1994, 1) puts it, the supposed division between fiction and ethnography “breaks down if we consider that ethnography, like fiction, constructs existing or possible worlds, all the while retaining the idea of an alternate ‘made’ world.”

Maintenance, for gardeners and domestic workers, involves the constant reworking of a lawn or the repeated wiping down of a kitchen counter—week after week, sometimes day after day. Conceiving of maintenance as the material accumulation of labor, resulting in well-fed plants or well-fed children, echoes what Keith Murphy and George Marcus (2013, 258) identify as “the complex processes” that designers and ethnographers undertake, which are “almost entirely obscured by the form of their products.” For maintenance, as for design and ethnography, the final products “receive most of the attention from those who consume them” (Murphy and Marcus 2013, 258). Yet there is a surplus contained in the seemingly invisible labor of maintenance.

For Latina and Latino immigrant gardeners, maintenance also means mantenimiento, a practice of organizing days into routes (rutas) and labor sites into divisions of labor shaped by differences in legal status, ethnicity, age, and ability between gardening company owners and their ayudantes or peónes (hired helpers). Mantenimiento reveals a practice of working around the designs of affluent gated neighborhoods, congested Southern California highways, imperatives of state exclusion, and the demands of homeowners and their plants. Mantenimiento challenges the naturalization of racialized and gendered labor, which forecloses the possibility of certain subjects being represented and casts laborers’ repeated reworkings as exacting and skilled labor.

Maintenance is the constant repetition of life-creating labor. As Kalindi Vora (2015) notes, reproductive and affective labor also contains traces of workers’ life activity that, although alienated from the laborers’ social world in order to enrich the lives of others, may retain a collection of stories and affective connections that happen in the service of others’ needs and that, for gardeners and domestic workers, occur in homes designed for others. Sometimes laborers take in excess of the demands of their labor, whether this occurs in the form of a gardener taking a botón of a succulent to reshape the landscape of their own or a domestic worker building a bond with an employer’s child; mantenimiento is attuned to the life that occurs in places where it is said not to exist.

* * *

My interest in maintenance as a concept that raises questions about ethnography and design arises from my experiences as a gardener and longtime manager of a small gardening company in Orange County. As a researcher, the parallels between my own repeated practices of maintenance labor and the repeated practices I employ in representing gardening laborers’ sociality are tethered to laborers’ careful design of their labor and lives."
maintenance  salvadorzárate  ethnography  design  anthropology  2018  via:shannon_mattern  labor  work  domesticworkers  gardening  gardeners  latinos  us  california  frankocean  laderaheights  losangeles  beverlyhills  westlosangeles  fiction  spanish  español  kalindivora  kamalavisweswaran  keithmurphy  georgemarcus  pierrettehondahneu-sotelo  socal 
july 2018 by robertogreco
No Dickheads! A Guide To Building Happy, Healthy, And Creative Teams. — Medium
"There is a perpetuated myth within the design community, that a single visionary is required to build great products. Rubbish. Great teams build great products; moreover, in my experience, the greatest teams prioritize and nurture a healthy and positive internal culture because they understand it is critical to the design process itself.

In 20 years of leading design studios and teams, ranging from a small boutique consultancy to several in global corporations, I have become obsessed with the differences between a successful studio and a merely effective one. Inevitably what makes or breaks a studio depends on its ability to evolve skills and competencies while remaining fastidiously creative. However, simple adaptability is not enough. In an ever-changing hyper-competitive landscape, what I’ve found to be even more important is the value of laughter, empathy, a collective responsibility and a distinct lack of ego.

My measure of success — beyond incredible products — has been creating studios and a studio culture where the creative capacity of the collective team is palpable; where designers love to come to work, and visitors remark how positive and creative it feels.

The following, is an attempt to create a guide for the (often-overlooked, humanist leaning) behaviors that make a studio happy, functional and sustainable. I believe there is a straight line between how the studio feels, how we as designers treat each other, and the innovative impact of the team. The value of articulating the characteristics of an effective studio will hopefully make each team member a more conscientious contributor. Of course, these characteristics will ebb and flow to varying degrees and should not be considered concrete rules. Rather, these behaviors serve as a guideline for creating a consistently positive, and as a result, a consistently more creative place to work.

SAY GOOD MORNING AND GOOD NIGHT … While it may appear trivial, the act of observing (and even encouraging) these subtle cultural rituals increases a studio’s functionality by making it more personal.

BE OPTIMISTIC, EMBRACE FAILURE, AND LAUGH MORE… Design, through a humanist’s lens, sees optimism as a choice and creativity as an optimistic act. Therefore, constant optimism is a key ingredient to iteration. It fuels the persistence and tenacity necessary for sustaining the creative process, especially during challenging times. For example, the difficulty of innovating within a large corporation reflects a work environment where people often say, “No” or “I don’t understand” because change in corporate culture is often uncomfortable and slow. As a result, negativity must be confronted and countered — not just in a brainstorming session or during a proposal — but on a daily basis. …

EAT AND COOK TOGETHER … Team events within a big corporation are set up to facilitate these informal conversations but often do the opposite: you go to a nice restaurant, everyone orders expensive food and lots of wine, they drink until they get drunk, and you go back to your hotel room. One year, our budget ran low so we thought, “What if we did the opposite? Go to the wilderness, buy food, and cook for each other.”

What happened next was amazing! Somebody invariably took responsibility for cooking, another for preparing food, and someone else for laying the table. Without much discussion the whole team was buzzing around the kitchen, like a hive working towards a common goal. There’s something inherently vulnerable about cooking together and for each other. It’s humbling to serve and to be served.

GOOD STUDIOS BUILD GOOD WALLS It is important when you walk into any studio that you feel as much as see what is being built — the studio should crackle with creative energy. Specifically, I believe you can determine the health of any design studio simply by looking at its walls. …

READ FICTION … As designers we are often asking people to take a leap of faith and to picture a world that doesn’t quite exist. We are, at our essence, doing nothing more than creating fiction and telling good stories — an essential part of human communication. Wouldn’t it then make sense to, at the very least, invite fiction into the studio or at the most encourage it to flourish?

Storytelling is a craft. It’s emotional and it’s part of the design process. We should therefore read and study fiction.

DESIGN THE DESIGNING There’s one very simple rule when innovating: design the process to fit the project. …

EMBRACE THE FRINGE I believe creative people want “to make”. In corporations or complex projects, the products we make often take an inordinate amount of time. As a result, I assume that most designers (myself included) work on fringe projects — creative projects made outside of the studio. …

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE Language defines the territory of projects. It is therefore important to constantly check that people share the same understanding of a word, phrase or name. Ideally at the outset of the project you should define the language, almost to the point of giving each person on the team a list: when we say this, this is what ‘this’ means. This pedantic approach is particularly important in multicultural studios where a diverse language encourages multiple, sometimes volatile, interpretations …

MEET OUT IN THE OPEN There are very few highly confidential things in an effective studio, so why go in a room and close the door? Instead, move most conversations out in the open. They will be better as a result. …

EVERYONE LEADS AT SOME POINT … At any point everyone should feel the responsibility, or the opportunity, to lead. It is so important to be collectively responsible. No one person can lead these dynamic projects effectively in a studio because they are never two-dimensional. …

INVERT EVERYTHING Designing products for people requires that you get inside their minds, feelings, motivations and values. To do so, a smart designer must invert their own worldview and see the world through someone else’s eyes in order to empathize with them. This ability to empathize with others, a very humanist behavior, is perhaps the most important capability and characteristic of both a studio and a designer. …

HIRE A BOOKIE Competition motivates a team, that’s a given. But betting on shit seems to be galvanizing and brings a team together. …

BRING THE OUTSIDE, INSIDE … We spend most of our time with our colleagues at work rather than with our partners or families. So whether we like it or not, we are all going through this life together. We should embrace that fact.

Yes, I understand people value privacy and you must respect that boundary. But the reality of the modern studio is that boundaries often blur. In fact, I think it is good that they are blurred. Children, pets, and hobbies — shared human connections and interests — promote this intimacy. …

….. ALLOWED! … I believe it is a perpetuated myth that great products are built by a single visionary. Often the people who think they are visionaries are just egomaniacal Dickheads. I honestly believe that great teams build great products and that careers are made by people that prioritize great products first, not their own ambition. …

FIND A GOOD MIRROR The studio mirror is a distinct role and a job title. In our studio Luke’s role was to archive our work and reflect it back to the team in a unique way, much like the documentation of these principles. Pursued with persistence and the eye of a journalist, the Studio Mirror should capture not only WHAT is being made but HOW and by WHOM. This isn’t simply dumping files on a server but rather curating the content in a way that is compelling and consumable for the team. For example, our studio created a quarterly magazine. You can read ADQ2.1: The Launch Issue here."
rhysnewman  lukejohnson  teams  creativity  studios  openstudioproject  lcproject  2015  collaboration  tcsnmy  leadership  open  openness  transparency  process  fun  play  intimacy  sharing  language  storytelling  fiction  walls  design  place  work  food  optimism  failure  laughter  howwework  conviviality  cohabitation  facetime  relationships  publishing  reflection  documentation  jpl  omata  culture  fringe  display  planning  outdoors  criticism  connection  conflict 
march 2015 by robertogreco
How design fiction imagines future technology – Jon Turney – Aeon
"As technological choices become ever more complex, design fiction, not science, hints at the future we actually want"



"Design fiction’s efforts to create imaginative realisations of technology, which consciously try to evoke discussion that avoids polarising opinion, have a key ingredient, I think. Unlike the new worlds of sci-fi novels, or the ultra-detailed visuals of futuristic cinema, their stories are unfinished. Minority Report is not about critical design because its narrative is closed. In good design fiction, the story is merely hinted at, the possibilities left open. It is up to the person who stumbles across the design to make sense of how it might be part of a storied future."



Design fiction’s proponents want to craft products and exhibits that are not open to this simplified response, that fire the imagination in the right way. That means being not too fanciful, not simply dystopian, and not just tapping into clichéd science‑fictional scripts. When it works, design fiction brings something new into debates about future technological life, and involves us – the users – in the discussion."



"As design fiction comes to be recognised as a distinctive activity, it will continue to find new forms of expression. The US design theorist Julian Bleecker of the Near Future Laboratory suggests that the TBD Catalog with its realistic depictions of fictional products models a different way of innovating, in which designers ‘prototype and test a near future by writing its product descriptions, filing bug reports, creating product manuals and quick reference guides to probable improbable things’. The guiding impulse is to assist us in imagining a new normality. Design and artistic practice can both do that.

Design fictions are not a panacea for some ideal future of broad participation in choosing the ensemble of technologies that we will live with. Most future technologies will continue to arrive as a done deal, despite talk among academics of ‘upstream engagement’ or – coming into fashion – instituting ‘responsible research and innovation’. The US Department of Defense, for instance, and its lavishly-funded, somewhat science-fictional Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has an extensive catalogue of research and development (R&D) projects on topics from robotics to neural enhancement, selected according to a single over-riding criterion: might they give the USA a military advantage in future? DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office tells us, in a ghastly combination of sales talk and bureaucratese, that it is ‘looking for the best innovators from all fields who have an idea for how to leverage bio+tech to solve seemingly impossible problems and deliver transformative impact’. Here, as in other fields, military, security and much commercial R&D will probably go its own way, and we’ll get weaponised biology whether we like it or not.

For the rest, though, there is a real contribution to be made through a playful, freewheeling design practice, open to many new ideas, and which is technically informed but not constrained by immediate feasibility. There are already enough examples to show how design fiction can invite new kinds of conversations about technological futures. Recognising their possibilities can open up roads not taken.

Design fiction with a less critical (and more commercial) edge will continue to appeal to innovative corporations anxious to configure new offerings to fit better with as yet undefined markets. Their overriding aim is to reduce the chances of an innovation being lost in the ‘valley of death’ between a bright idea and a successful product that preys on the minds of budget-holders.

But the greatest potential of this new way of working is as a tool for those who want to encourage a more important debate about possible futures and their technological ingredients. This is the debate we’re still too often not having, about how to harness technological potential to improve the chances of us living the lives we wish for."
design  designfiction  2105  jonturney  technology  science  participatory  future  complexity  debate  futures  potential  howwelive  lcproject  openstudioproject  darpa  scifi  sciencefiction  change  nearfuturelaboratory  julianbleecker  tbdcatalog  fiction  prototyping  art  imagination  tinkeringwiththefuture  paulgrahamraven  alexandraginsberg  christinapagapis  sisseltolaas  syntheticbiology  alexiscarrel  frederikpohl  cyrilkornbluth  margaretatwood  anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  koertvanmensvoort  hendrik-jangrievink  arthurcclarke  davidnye  julesverne  hgwells  martincooper  startrek  johnunderkoffler  davidkirby  aldoushuxley  bravenewworld  minorityreport  jamesauger  jimmyloizeau  worldbuilding  microworldbuilding  thenewnormal 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Matt Jones: Jumping to the End -- Practical Design Fiction on Vimeo
[Matt says (http://magicalnihilism.com/2015/03/06/my-ixd15-conference-talk-jumping-to-the-end/ ):

"This talk summarizes a lot of the approaches that we used in the studio at BERG, and some of those that have carried on in my work with the gang at Google Creative Lab in NYC.

Unfortunately, I can’t show a lot of that work in public, so many of the examples are from BERG days…

Many thanks to Catherine Nygaard and Ben Fullerton for inviting me (and especially to Catherine for putting up with me clowning around behind here while she was introducing me…)"]

[At ~35:00:
“[(Copy)Writers] are the fastest designers in the world. They are amazing… They are just amazing at that kind of boiling down of incredibly abstract concepts into tiny packages of cognition, language. Working with writers has been my favorite thing of the last two years.”
mattjones  berg  berglondon  google  googlecreativelab  interactiondesign  scifi  sciencefiction  designfiction  futurism  speculativefiction  julianbleecker  howwework  1970s  comics  marvel  marvelcomics  2001aspaceodyssey  fiction  speculation  technology  history  umbertoeco  design  wernerherzog  dansaffer  storytelling  stories  microinteractions  signaturemoments  worldbuilding  stanleykubrick  details  grain  grammars  computervision  ai  artificialintelligence  ui  personofinterest  culture  popculture  surveillance  networks  productdesign  canon  communication  johnthackara  macroscopes  howethink  thinking  context  patternsensing  systemsthinking  systems  mattrolandson  objects  buckminsterfuller  normanfoster  brianarthur  advertising  experiencedesign  ux  copywriting  writing  film  filmmaking  prototyping  posters  video  howwewrite  cognition  language  ara  openstudioproject  transdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  sketching  time  change  seams  seamlessness 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Three Uncertain Thoughts, Or, Everything I Know I Learned from Ursula Le Guin | Design Culture Lab
"One.

In her 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K Le Guin writes, “The unknown, [...] the unforetold, the unproven, that is what life is based on. Ignorance is the ground of thought. Unproof is the ground of action . . . [T]he only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.”

If the only certainty is death, then to deny uncertainty is to deny life.

My work (creative? social science?) is vital not in the sense of being necessary or essential, but energetic, lively, uncertain. In a short 2006 piece in Theory, Culture & Society, Scott Lash argues that the classical concept of vitalism has re-emerged in the face of global complexity and uncertainty, manifesting itself in cultural theory that acknowledges that “the notion of life has always favoured an idea of becoming over one of being, of movement over stasis, of action over structure, of flow and flux.”

In my research I take seriously the idea that what I am seeing, doing and making is emergent; I cannot know how — when, where, for whom or why — it will all end. I can only live with, and through, it. This means I do not want to convince others that I am right. (Have you ever noticed that Le Guin’s stories unfailingly explore ethics and morality without dealing in absolutes?)

I only — as if this were a small thing! — invite you to accompany me for a while, and see what we can become together. This is just — as if this too were a small thing! — one way of knowing the world.

Two.

In a 2014 interview for Smithsonian Magazine, Le Guin explains that the future is where “anything at all can be said to happen without fear of contradiction from a native. [It] is a safe, sterile laboratory for trying out ideas in, a means of thinking about reality, a method.”

My work makes things, and explicitly makes things up, in some near or far future. I practice different worlds.

Fictions and futures give me (you? us?) space to move, and be moved. This is the space of utopia, but not an idealist utopia set against a pessimist dystopia. Fictions and futures are literally no-places: real but not actual, and always vital. I feel as though I thrive in these spaces, both grounded and reaching toward the sky, open to the elements, potential.

But here’s something I’ve learned: I can’t make up anything and expect it to work. The stories need to resonate. And that means they need to be internally coherent and consistent, plausible. So I locate others and myself empirically, ethnographically. I look to the hopes and promises that bind us together, to the threats that rip us apart, and I look to the expectations that constrain and orient us along particular, but not certain, paths.

And then I imagine it (me, you, us) otherwise.

Three.

In her 2007 essay “The Critics, the Monsters, and the Fantasists,” Le Guin clarifies “although the green country of fantasy seems to be entirely the invention of human imaginations, it verges on and partakes of actual realms in which humanity is not lord and master, is not central, is not even important.”

My imagination has sought out this vital, “green country of fantasy” by focussing on possible futures for multispecies, more-than-human, agents. But I’ve yet to be successful in my quest to avoid anthropocentrism. (My dragons remain stubbornly human!)

Still: I follow Donna Haraway’s argument, in 2007’s When Species Meet, that “animals enrich our ignorance.” When I look at people and technology and design and everyday life with — and through — animals I am never more uncertain about what they all mean. To take animals (and other nonhumans) seriously forces me to let go of many preconceptions, even when I fail to imagine a plausible alternative.

But perhaps that uncertainty is only appropriate, too."
annegalloway  2014  ursulaleguin  unknown  uncertainty  unproven  certainty  death  life  scottlash  vitalism  complexity  culture  theory  morality  ethics  absolutism  knowing  unknowing  future  futures  fiction  worldbuilding  process  method  making  speculativefiction  designfiction  ethnography  imagination  utopia  dystopia  potential  fantasy  invention  design  anthropocentrism  multispecies  donnaharaway  ignorance  technology  preconceptions  posthumanism 
october 2014 by robertogreco
The Fiction of the Science on Vimeo
"In his work at the Google Creative Lab, Robert Wong never imagined he would be influencing the future of scientific development—and yet he does just that, breaking down the boundary between art and science by creating stories that inspire engineers and the technology they build. He says that this kind of collaboration between art and science, between story and fabrication, is essential for scientific and creative innovation."

[See also "Project Glass: One day...": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4 ]

[Same video as bookmark here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvgdKfWnYCg ]

[Via: http://www.fastcocreate.com/3017297/how-fiction-influences-science-according-to-google-creative-labs-robert-wong ]
speculativefiction  designfiction  fiction  writing  design  storytelling  robertwong  google  googlecreativelab  googleglass  technology  creativity  filmmaking  fabrication  innovation  art  science  twocultures  2013  srg 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Logistical Fictions
"Indexing the fictional designs and devices—the bills, parts lists, maps, catalogues, and containers—of imagined logistical operations and infrastructures."
tumblr  via:alexismadrigal  logistics  infrastructure  fiction  design 
may 2014 by robertogreco
anthropology + design: anne galloway. | Savage Minds
"[This post is part of a two-week series featuring interviews with designers reflecting on anthropology and design.]

ANNE GALLOWAY. designer. ethnographer. archaeologist.

ANTHROPOLOGY + DESIGN.

My sense of anthropology is very materialist so I think it made a lot of sense for me to gravitate towards design. I originally trained as an archaeologist and did ethnographic fieldwork on Andean textile production, so I’ve always been interested in the things that people make. Of course, as anthropologists we’re taught the importance of context and I think that bringing anthropology and design together really stresses contextual meanings. For me, the most interesting connection between anthropology and design can be found in how each practice enhances the other. Anthropology provides a kind of thick description that contextualises design processes and products, and design offers anthropology creative means of exploring and representing what it means to be human. I also enjoy the explicit combination of thinking, doing, and making—of blurring boundaries between analytical and creative practice, between rational and emotional experience.

Sometimes, in design, we talk about research about, for, and through design—and I think that anthropology is well suited to contribute to each endeavour. As we know, ethnography (including material, visual, and discursive culture) can tell us a lot about the roles of design in everyday life. Ethnography also provides us with valuable information that can be used to design “better” things—or to design nothing at all. And although research through design is perhaps less obviously related to anthropology, I think that every kind of anthropological research could create and employ objects and images with as much nuance as we’ve come to use words.

PEDAGOGY.

My teaching is focussed on issues-based design, which means that my students have proposed everything from community recycling services and conservation activities to publicly curated museums and stray animal sanctuaries. My students also often work in the tradition of critical design, where they create object and image-based interventions or provocations into more culturally fraught issues, like euthanasia and immigration.

WHAT I DO.

My recent research has focussed on seeing how speculative or fictional design can be used as a public engagement strategy. Critical design has sometimes been criticised for a lack of nuanced politics and failure to engage audiences outside of gallery settings. So I began to wonder: what might happen if I applied my background in anthropology and science studies to practice? My “Counting Sheep: NZ Merino in an Internet of Things” research project was conceived as a means to explore possible human-livestock-technology futures, and each fictional design scenario currently exhibited on our Counting Sheep website is based on actual hopes and concerns voiced by research participants.

Inspired by cultural interests and artistic provocations rather than corporate or government forecasting activities, we created a series of speculative “everyday” objects, images, and narratives that we hope will challenge people to critically examine common assumptions and expectations about livestock animals and near-future technologies. (If you’ll forgive me for getting a bit more academic here—) By making the familiar strange, and the strange familiar, we were interested in learning how “what if…? ” scenarios might act in the present, especially in terms of constructing multiple publics and co-producing knowledge. We were also interested in better understanding how these scenarios might support and hinder understanding assemblages of people, places, animals, and technologies as moving processes rather than as static things.

invitro.culturedlamb invitro.meatballs

HOW I SHARE.

In addition to grounding our creative work in substantial empirical research, one of the things we wanted to do was systematically assess people’s responses to our designs—to see if and how they resonate. Since the scenarios were designed as prompts for reflection and discussion, we’ve created an anonymous online survey that anyone can take (Please take our survey!) before the end of April 2014. We’re also following up with our earlier research participants to have more in-depth discussions about the different content, our intentions, and their expectations. The project winds up at the end of June 2014, so we’ll be writing up our research results for both academic and popular publications after that. What I can say now is that things are looking pretty interesting—and not least because of disengaged or disinterested publics!

MY TOOLKIT.

It turns out that I’m compelled to get out and witness the goings on of the world, so despite working in design for the past five years, I still consider my primary tool to be fieldwork through participant observation. And, like all fieldworkers, I have a set of things that I use to collect what I see and do.

These days I never do fieldwork without my iPhone, iPad, an extra camera, a notebook and set of pens. I tend to use my phone’s camera as a sort of external memory device, and my other camera for presentation and publication-quality shots. To be honest, I’ve always found that cameras interfere with my ability to be present (and that’s a real problem during participant observation), but photos help me catch things I miss or to see things a bit differently, and that’s very helpful.

I record all my interviews with an app called Highlight, which I like because I can flag interesting points during the conversation and return to them later, without interrupting the flow. I do a lot of note-taking, using a regular paper notebook or an app called iA Writer (because that’s where I do most of my writing these days, including right now). I also try to post regular field reports to my research blog (http://designculturelab.org), but that’s not always possible or practical. I have quite limited drawing skills but I always map where I am and make sketches that are too ugly to share with anyone but are useful to me. Design work is much more varied and collaborative, and the tools we use are highly dependent on whether we’re creating objects or images.

METHODOLOGY.

I think I’ve already touched on where I see the most potential for design and anthropology to come together. In terms of more academic methodologies, I’m quite inspired by Celia Lury and Nina Wakeford’s 2012 edited volume, “Inventive Methods: The Happening of the Social,” because they point out clear paths already being taken by interested researchers. I also hold out hope that speculative design can be stretched and strengthened by more explicit engagement with empirical research—not least because it may make it easier for us to explore a less anthropocentric anthropology, or tend to the nonhuman in new and exciting ways. I’ve also written about a bit about this recently—”Towards Fantastic Ethnography and Speculative Design“–and there’s more to come!

RESOURCES.

Galloway, Anne. 2013. Towards Fantastic Ethnography and Speculative Design. Ethnography Matters Blog. September 17.

Lury, Celia and Nina Wakeford, eds. 2012. Inventive Methods: The Happening of the Social. London: Routledge.

ME.

Anne Galloway (@annegalloway) is Senior Lecturer at the School of Design(Victoria University of Wellington,) and Principal Investigator at Design Culture Lab. Her research brings together social studies of science and technology, cultural studies, and design to explore relations between humans and nonhumans. She is particularly interested in creative research methods for understanding—and supporting public engagement with—issues and controversies related to science, technology and animals. Her current research, supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund, combines ethnography and speculative design to create possible future scenarios for the use of wireless technologies in the production and consumption of NZ merino."
annegalloway  2014  anthropology  design  ethnography  speculativedesign  methodology  fiction  observation  fieldwork  howwework  making  craft  friends  research  fictionaldesign  speculativefiction  criticaldesign  everyday  objects  provocations  context  pedagogy 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Patently untrue: fleshy defibrillators and synchronised baseball are changing the future (Wired UK)
[Design fiction unravels.
https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/405110546225061888
https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/405111061268819969
https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/405111820903387136
https://twitter.com/matthewward/status/405116759340249088 ]

"A design fiction is not real. This seems like a severe limitation. However, "real things" aren't absolutely and permanently real, either. Objects are designed, made, and then pass out of existence all the time.

The objects offered to us in a capitalist marketplace have three basic qualities: they are buildable, profitable and desirable. They have to be physically feasible, something that functions and works. They need some business model that allows economic transactions. And they have to provoke someone's consumer desire.

Outside of these strict requirements is a much larger space of potential objects. And those three basic limits all change with time. Through new technology, new things become buildable. Business models collapse or emerge from disruption. People are very fickle. That's how it works out -- and the supposed distinction between "real" and "not-real" is pretty small.

Most patents are never manufactured. Most startups fail and vanish. Product advertisements are fantastic -- and full of blatant lies. Most military technologies are theatrical, there to scare and intimidate and overawe people, rather than to kill them with maximum efficiency. Companies
commonly launch "vapourware" campaigns that pledge to build things they have no intention of actually building. There's a lot of fantasy and pretence in all technologies.

People who are good at design fiction are very keen on these little weaknesses in the Emperor's New Clothes. The adept of design fiction comes to realise that every object, even a common fork or dad's boring tie, is "diegetic". They're all background props in some grander story.

A fork exists so that aristocrats could avoid staining their fingers with gravy. The fork is a tool for class distinction. We use forks today not because forks are "practical", but because we're a feudal society that became democratic. Dad's boring tie was originally a Croatian "cravat" -- a coloured war scarf around the neck of a Balkan cavalryman. Ties are said to have been imported into Britain by Charles II when he returned from his exile in France, having picked up the fashion from Croatian mercenaries in the service of Louis XIII. That story is quite exotic, far-fetched and amazing -- but who cares? Ties are still boring, even despite the rhetorical stunt I just pulled where I made them seem amazing for a while.

Design fiction plays games with these transitions of the amazing and the boring, the transitions of the believable and the incredible.

If you understand that -- and if you know a lot about design, and also something about internet razzle-dazzle -- you can really mess with people's heads nowadays. With design fiction you can pull coins from their ears and rabbits out of their hats. Who couldn't like that?"

[Also here: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2013/11/design-fiction-patently-untrue-by-bruce-sterling/ ]
designfiction  brucesterling  julianbleecker  2013  fiction  design  transitions  diegetic 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Towards Fantastic Ethnography and Speculative Design | Ethnography Matters
"So how do I teach ethnography to design students? First, I tell them that if they’ve ever wondered why people do things, or how things got to be the way they are, then they’re already part ethnographer. I say that my job is to help them get better at asking and answering social and cultural questions, because understanding and building entire worlds is a huge challenge that no single discipline can accomplish on its own. And I tell them that I believe the best designers are those who understand that what they’re doing is cultural innovation, which requires them to move beyond both personal impression and expression, as well as any self-righteous desire to ‘fix’ the world. My approach to design ethnography binds us to others, and I place a lot of emphasis on the need to develop a social ethics, rather than relying solely on personal interests and beliefs.

Over the years I’ve observed that design students often have much better observation and documentation skills than sociology and anthropology students do, but they appear to struggle greatly with how to interpret the information and represent this knowledge to other people. On the other hand, anthropology and sociology students often have superior analytical skills but are terribly limited in their desire or ability to communicate in anything other than the written word—even when their topic is visual or material culture. Consequently, I’ve come to think that ethnography makes design better as much as design makes ethnography better, and in that sense I believe we can serve each other equally.

Design ethnography, in the context of our classroom, is about trying to understand how people use words, images and objects to build worlds—and creating new combinations of words, images and objects that help us, and others, understand these worlds in different ways. All of our projects involve empirical fieldwork and analysis, along with the production of creative works that critically engage the subject of fieldwork. Because so many students attempt to do the creative work first, and use their ethnographic work to justify their ‘solution’ to a perceived (but rarely demonstrated!) ‘problem,’ I tend to be a bit more dogmatic about doing the ethnographic work first than I would otherwise advocate. The important thing I’ve learned, though, is that the best work always treats design and ethnography as complementary activities that are done in an iterative fashion that actually makes them difficult to separate in the end.

In teaching design courses, particular ethnographic methods became unappealing to me. Take auto-ethnography, for example: at its best the students continued to privilege their own thoughts and experiences; at worst it became a self-serving exercise in psychoanalysis or confession. And although performance ethnography can be interesting, I lack the expertise to assess it and worried that the students would again turn design into a form of privileged self-expression that could be difficult for others to understand. I needed something more accessible, that could more effectively trouble the opposition between subjective experience and objective fact—and I found it in fiction, which I think is rather beautifully both and neither."



"I think that the research environment for exploring these ideas has been crucial to their development. For the past few years, I’ve been working on a project that re-imagines NZ merino sheep in the (imagined) context of an Internet of Things. Note that I’ve not been tasked with designing possible software applications, but rather to imagine how different technologies could shift relations between livestock production and animal-product consumption. For this research I’ve combined traditional ethnographic methods of participant observation and qualitative interviews, with speculative design practices including fictional object and image-making—and I’ve given them both ‘life’ through creative writing. We’re about to launch these design scenarios, and will spend the next six months following up with more participant observation, interviews and online surveys to see how different audiences interact—or do not interact—with them.

For me, creating ethnographic fiction and speculative design has most often been a matter of material choice: both literally and figuratively. When the research subject matter is wool and meat-producing livestock, it was easy to start by imagining weird and wonderful things made of wool and meat! All the contexts for these fictional things (a government ministry and public programme, a host of consumer products and services) are plausible because they’ve been based on ethnographic research of people’s actual interests and concerns—but none of them are possible or even particularly realistic. To be honest, I really felt I was on the right track when I started talking about getting inspiration from contemporary urban fantasy novels—especially favourites by Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs—and both my design and ethnography colleagues just laughed. (It was like Joanna Russ had never written How To Suppress Women’s Writing!) But the important bit is that I came to understand that although fantastic ethnography and speculative design don’t have to derive their plausibility from realism or rationality, they should move people—because the space of the fantastic and the speculative is, after all, affective space, or the space of potential."

[Related (lined within): http://www.hastac.org/blogs/cathy-davidson/2011/08/28/why-you-need-read-designing-culture-anne-balsamo
and http://www.designculturelab.org/2012/08/17/on-fantasys-green-country-and-the-place-of-the-nonhuman/ ]
annegalloway  2013  ethnography  designethnography  fiction  designfiction  writing  speculativedesign  design  ursulaleguin  margaretatwood  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  ilonaandrews  patriciabriggs  plausibility  rationality  realism  research  speculativefiction  worldbuilding  imagery  words  images  objects  fieldwork  noticing  observation  listening  wondering  ethics  documentation  interpretation  autoethnography 
september 2013 by robertogreco
An Introduction to Infrastructure Fiction | superflux
"'All-in-One' was an EPSRC-funded project ... [T]he basic research question was 'would it be possible to replace all the disparate utility infrastructures which we have currently with a system that uses one single unified infrastructure to fulfil all the needs of end-users?' ... [L]ook at the actual ideas we came up with: a 'city blood' circulatory system, wherein energy is carried to homes dissolved in water like oxygen is carried to our cells by haemoglobin; a rhizome-topology urban network of underground freight-delivery tunnels; the entire planet powered by orbital solar collector satellites, and eventually by a belt of photovoltaics on the moon; and a subterranean modular city based around the central need for water, energy and fresh air."
infrastructure  city  design  commentary  infrastructurefiction  fiction  paulgrahamraven  designfiction  via:jbushnell 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Design Fiction as Pedagogic Practice — What I Learned Building… — Medium
"Asking students to imagine a world and design artefacts to communicate a set of beliefs or practices though the utilisation of fiction has been an essential part of the BA Design curriculum for over a decade. But the thing I’m most surprised by is how little has been written about the role of fiction and speculation as part of design education. I can understand how DF can have value in a research context in order to provoke and convince an audience of a possibility space; a mode of questioning and coercion. I can also see its role in technology consultancy, as the construction of narratives, where products, interactions, people and politics open up new markets and directions for a client. But I think people have missed its most productive position; that of DF as a pedagogic practice.

I’m fully located in the ‘all design is fiction’ camp, so I’m not a big fan of nomenclature and niche land grabs. Design as a practice never exists in the here and now. Whether a week, month, year or decade away, designers produce propositions for a world that is yet to exist. Every decision we make is for a world and set of conditions that are yet to be, we are a contingent practice that operates at the boundaries of reality. What’s different is the temporality, possibility and practicality of the fictions that we write."
pedagogy  designfiction  teaching  learning  education  mattward  temporality  imagination  speculation  design  fiction  future  futures  designresearch  designcriticism  darkmatter  designeducation  reality  prototyping  ideology  behavior  responsibility  consequences  possibility  making  thinking  experimentation  tension  fear  love  loss  ideation  storytelling  narrative  howwelearn  howweteach  2013 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Slide 1 of 50 (Sci-fi I like, Fictional Futures, Goldsmiths)
"This presentation isn’t about telling. Just read and look at the pictures, and maybe new ideas will come. That’s all it’s about."

"Climb up on the Moon? Of course we did."
http://interconnected.org/notes/2006/02/scifi/?p=8

"You point towards the galactic centre for two centuries then away for another two."
http://interconnected.org/notes/2006/02/scifi/?p=9

"Years are pretty arbitrary, and long periods to count. I can’t really conceive of them. But these stars come along every few months, which is a more human scale."
http://interconnected.org/notes/2006/02/scifi/?p=11

"To get to your house, you had to climb up on top of the city, walk along until you got to your chimney and climb down."
http://interconnected.org/notes/2006/02/scifi/?p=34

“When I hit the drum like this
I think the sound
was there from the beginning,
and everything has gone to make that sound,
and after it
everything is different.”
http://interconnected.org/notes/2006/02/scifi/?p=39
perception  scale  humanscale  moon  years  time  streets  turkey  cities  Çatalhöyük  ronherron  archigram  italocalvino  schul  schulzeandwebb  berg  berglondon  ursulaleguin  fictionalfutures  mattwebb  sciencefiction  fiction  culture  literature  science  technology  future  design  scifi  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
A conversation between Rob Walker and co-founder of Area/Code, Kevin Slavin : Observatory: Design Observer
"I know some of the people involved in Museum of the Phantom City, and they’re good people. But, in order to see the things that they want to point out, I have to go that place — well, okay. But then, once I’m there, the best way to display that information is the juxtaposition of it in front of what I’ve just traveled there to see? I don’t think so. Bottom line, maybe, is that visualizing the invisible is difficult, and might not be best expressed through the metaphor of the camera."

"What's important to me about the kinds of things we were doing with Area/Code — and all the designers around us — is that we were building systems in the middle of the data, some systems that gave us a way to read, and reasons to read it. The stories we were telling with locative games were fiction, but as always, good fiction describes the real world rather precisely."
trading  algorithmictrading  gps  geocaching  design  urban  softwareforcities  software  algorithms  cities  finance  paolaantonelli  reality  phantomcity  augmentedreality  storytelling  fiction  photography  area/code  robwalker  2011  kevinslavin  ar  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
Unknown Fields Division
"The Unknown Fields Division is a nomadic design studio that ventures out on annual expeditions to the ends of the earth exploring unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies. Join the Division as each year we navigate a different global cross section and map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures.
 
Here we are both visionaries and reporters, part documentarians and part science fiction soothsayers as the otherworldly sites we encounter afford us a distanced viewpoint from which to survey the consequences of emerging environmental and technological scenarios."

[Blog: http://www.unknownfieldsdivision.com/blog/ ]
travel  galápagos  amazon  arcticcircle  ecuador  australia  alaska  roswell  chernobyl  sciencefiction  scifi  obsoleteecologies  exploration  unknownfieldsdivision  neo-nomads  nomads  fiction  design  architecture  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
Bruce Sterling on design fictions.
"Slate: So what is a design fiction?
Sterling: It’s the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change. That’s the best definition we’ve come up with. The important word there is diegetic. It means you’re thinking very seriously about potential objects and services and trying to get people to concentrate on those rather than entire worlds or political trends or geopolitical strategies. It’s not a kind of fiction. It’s a kind of design. It tells worlds rather than stories.

Slate: Can you give an example?
Sterling: I think the most effective design fictions to date have been videos. They’re not science-fiction films; they don’t have any Avatar-style heroics. They’re mostly vignettes of people interacting with objects and services. There’s some element of intellectual sex appeal that makes people forward them to other people. "
2012  fiction  design  nearfuture  brucesterling  designfiction 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Noah Raford » Three Examples of Good Design Fiction
"All of these examples are both measured and moving in equal parts.  One is from the world of entertainment, another from academia and serious research, and the last from commercial foresight and corporate communications.  And yet they they all have meaning and breadth far beyond their topic.  Like Zizek said of Children of Men, their power is in their background detail. They address, even if just in passing, a wide range of other issues that reflect a rich investment in thinking about how the complex, messy future might be."
noahraford  fiction  video  zizek  futurism  future  heatherschlegel  flymetothemoon  sciencefiction  design  justinpickard  childrenofmen  2012  designfiction 
february 2012 by robertogreco
dConstruct2011 videos: The Transformers, Kars Alfrink
"In this talk, Kars Alfrink – founder and principal designer at applied pervasive games studio Hubbub – explores ways we might use games to alleviate some of the problems wilful social self-seperation can lead to. Kars looks at how people sometimes deliberately choose to live apart, even though they share the same living spaces. He discusses the ways new digital tools and the overlapping media landscape have made society more volatile. But rather than to call for a decrease in their use, Kars argues we need more, but different uses of these new tools. More playful uses."

[See also: http://2011.dconstruct.org/conference/kars-alfrink AND http://speakerdeck.com/u/dconstruct/p/the-transformers-by-kars-alfrink ]

"Kars looks at how game culture and play shape the urban fabric, how we might design systems that improve people’s capacity to do so, and how you yourself, through play, can transform the city you call home."
monocultures  rulespace  self-governance  gamification  filterbubble  scale  tinkering  urbanism  urban  simulationfever  animalcrossing  simulation  ludology  proceduralrhetoric  ianbogost  resilience  societalresilience  division  belonging  rioting  looting  socialconventions  situationist  playfulness  rules  civildisobedience  separation  socialseparation  nationality  fiction  dconstruct2011  dconstruct  identity  cities  chinamieville  design  space  place  play  gaming  games  volatility  hubbub  howbuildingslearn  adaptability  adaptivereuse  architecture  transformation  gentrification  society  2011  riots  janejacobs  karsalfrink  simulations  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
A Brief History of Architecture Fiction: Implausible Futures for Unpopular Places: Places: Design Observer
"First, we identify a suitable building: Something that appears neglected, and seems to have no immediate prospects for a future use. In short, we choose an unpopular place. Next we devise a hypothetical future for that structure. Specifically, we strive to make this future blatantly implausible: maybe provocative, maybe funny; above all engaging. Then an artist creates a rendering based on the imaginary concept. This is printed onto a 3' x 5' sign, modeled on those used by real developers. That sign, finally, goes onto the building."

"Our neighborhood is the sort that people describe as "transitional," and some of the property…is vacant. On one nearby commercial structure…I noticed a sign…You've seen similar signs…It was a rendering of a development, a future, involving a small, empty building. It suddenly struck me that, given how long this sign has been here, what it depicted was, at best, a hypothetical future — and arguably a fictitious one."
design  architecture  writing  fiction  designfiction  robwalker  classideas  architecturefiction  archigram  creativity  jgballard  brucesterling  hypotheticdevelopmentorganization  writingprompts  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  carlzimmerman  brettsnyder  phantomcity  nyc  nola  neworleans  losangeles  cities  urban  urbapotential  foundfutures  honolulu  stuartcandy  packardjennings  stevelambert  genre  storytelling  benkatchor  detroit  dreams  seeing  noticing  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Unsolving the City: An Interview with China Miéville
"Over the course of the following long interview, China Miéville discusses the conceptual origins of the divided city featured in his recent, award-winning novel The City and The City; he points out the interpretive limitations of allegory, in a craft better served by metaphor; we take a look at the "squid cults" of Kraken (which arrives in paperback later this month) and maritime science fiction, more broadly; the seductive yet politically misleading appeal of psychogeography; J.G. Ballard and the clichés of suburban perversity; the invigorating necessities of urban travel; and much more."
chinamieville  thecityandthecity  design  art  architecture  books  cities  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  literature  fiction  jgballard  scifi  sciencefiction  borders  toread  jmwturner  gulliver'stravels  thomaspynchon  gravitysrainbow  tvtropes  via:preoccupations  seeing  unseeing  attention  2011  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Week 315 – Blog – BERG
"Your sensitivity & tolerance improve only with practice. I wish I’d been given toy businesses to play w/ at school, just as playing w/ crayons taught my body how to let me draw.

I’ve written in these weeknotes before how I manage three budgets: cash, attention, risk. This is my attempt to explain how I feel about risk, and to trace the pathways between risk and cash. Attention, & how it connects, can wait until another day…

I said I wouldn’t speak about attention, but here’s a sneak peak of what I would say. Attention is the time of people in the studio, & how effectively it is applied. It is affected by the arts of project & studio management; it can be tracked by time-sheets & capacity plans; it can be leveraged with infrastructure, internal tools, and carefully grown tacit knowledge; and it magically grows when there’s time to play, when there is flow in the work, and when a team aligns into a “sophisticated work group.”
Attention is connected to cash through work."
design  business  management  berg  berglondon  mattwebb  attention  flow  groups  groupculture  sophisticatedworkgroups  money  risk  riskmanagement  riskassessment  confidence  happiness  anxiety  worry  leadership  tinkering  designthinking  thinking  physical  work  instinct  frustration  lcproject  studio  decisionmaking  systems  systemsthinking  manufacturing  making  doing  newspaperclub  svk  distribution  integratedsystems  infrastructure  supplychain  deleuze  guattari  cyoa  failure  learning  invention  ineptitude  ignorance  deleuze&guattari  gillesdeleuze  interactive  fiction  if  interactivefiction  félixguattari 
june 2011 by robertogreco
designfiction :: NuVu studio
"In “Design Fiction Studio,” we will focus on experimental ways to combine science fiction story telling w/ new forms of media production. The students will be asked to write a short science-fiction story & expected to illustrate it in an experimental book. We will explore ways to combine alternative materials–such as very basic electronic elements, conductive inks, phase-&color-changing materials– w/ new kinds of fabrication & production techniques to learn both about materials & way they can be used in different kinds of fictional products.

Topics to be covered:

—Basic scifi writing skills to develop a short story or concept that will address a problem we may have in the near future.

—Experiment w/ new kinds of smart materials, design & interaction techniques to build an interactive book to illustrate the story.

—Discuss how writing fiction & building fictional objects can contribute to our thinking & allow us to bring into attention problems before they may even emerge."

[via: http://www.nearfuturelaboratory.com/2010/07/30/design-fiction-studio-for-young-minds/ ]
designfiction  education  future  learning  design  julianbleecker  mit  writing  classideas  nearfuture  brucesterling  scifi  sciencefiction  science  newmedia  multimedia  objects  fiction  designfictionstudio  nuvustudio  nuvu 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Design Fancy: Carlo Heckman - Core77
"With the relative success of the candles he took some time to write his first book, A Practical Guide to Sticks: The First Ever Guide to Naming and Utilizing Nature's Forgotten Gift. For the book, he categorized and named hundreds of different stick shapes and made suggestions for how they could be used in people's daily lives. The "Two-Armed Wallach" could be used as a hanger, for example. Other notable sticks included the Stubbed Randy (used for mixing paint), the Left Handed Squire (toilet paper holder), and the Bonanza (best used as a coat rack). The book wasn't very successful in the US but found a small following in Italy despite the fact that it wasn't professionally translated."
fiction  design  designfancy  designfiction  humor  mattbrown  carloheckman  sticks  writing  classideas  core77 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Design Fancy: Berit Kalmar - Core77
"While at the TCSA, one of Berit's main tasks was to use the technology that was being developed in-house for quirky products that normal people could use. Like a lot of people, she thought that the fact that humans called balls of dust "dust bunnies" was great. At the time, the TCSA was working with ink that could hold a static charge. She took this technology and created the dust bunny print-out. It was a piece of paper with the special TCSA ink and a charging stick. These were sold in the mid 1990's in Western Europe and parts of the Southern US. For a brief period they were also sold in SkyMall."
core77  fiction  mattbrown  beritkalmar  writing  invention  storytelling  design  humor  skymall  designfancy 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Design Fancy: Kurt Manchild - Core77
"If the toys were a failure, then the video game was a disaster. It was never sanctioned by NES, was played during sleep, and nine times out of ten got stuck on a horrifying screen that featured a portrait of Manchild saying "Good Morning Tobias". The game came with a unique pillow controller. The idea was that someone would put the game in the system, lay down on the pillow, sleep, then wake up in the morning to see what happened in the game. The pillow was supposed to monitor alpha waves as well as movement although most people that have tried it would disagree. Both the video game cartridge and pillow controller are extremely rare."
design  invention  fiction  mattbrown  humor  videogames  games  gaming  kurtmanchild  core77  storytelling  designfancy 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Bruce Sterling: The Hypersurface of this Decade | ICON MAGAZINE ONLINE
"Henceforth I shall dwell in the densest cluster of interaction-design talent in Europe. My new abode is rugged, bracing, confrontational: the seductiveness of masculine red brick walls, the bull’s-blood hue of rivet-stained Edwardian girders! I take courage in the brisk removal of my building’s entire second floor. Even the structure’s splinters and splashes of Blitz shrapnel have a surprising delicacy and charm.
... As yet, I possess no stove, no toilet, no bathtub and and no bed. In fact, there are no physical objects in my flat whatsoever, except for my two roll-aboard suitcases, this Taiwanese netbook, and one metric tonne of natural ABS plastic on a giant wooden cable reel. The cable reel doubles as the coffee table on which I write this informative blogpost.

But consider this: a searing, transformative Hertzian wave of broadband permeates everything around me!"
brucesterling  futurism  fiction  scifi  location  futurology  fabbing  history  future  culture  design  technology  2010  urban 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Another Science Fiction: An Intersection of Art and Technology in the Early Space Race – Blog – BERG
"Within the realm of monthly and weekly periodicals, trade publications aimed at working professionals within industry are less examined than their internationally-known general interest counterparts such as Science and Scientific American. Together they offer a body of advertising literature that forms a time capsule of the emerging dynamic between design and technology during the late 1950s and very early 1960s, the peak of technological eruption during the Cold War in the U.S. During those years mid-century Modern design asserted itself within the trade-based advertising literature as a powerful visual language with a killer application."
design  technology  future  scifi  berg  berglondon  coldwar  science  history  space  advertising  fiction  sciencefiction  losalamos 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Fantastic Journal: "This Means Something!"
"The film is obsessed with issues of representation and non-verbal communication. The famous five-note score that the scientists use to communicate with the aliens, for example, effectively replaces speech...Roy can't communicate his obsession through conventional language & is forced into non-verbal communication. He has to make what he is thinking in order to express it. And he's not alone in his obsession. Another character - Gillian Guiler - is also obsessed with Devil's Tower. She draws it over and over again...In making a plea for tolerance the film also seems to implicitly reject language, as if our primary means of communication were somehow ultimately a handicap to understanding. Language seems to dissolve during the film, becoming ever more useless until it dissipates into the abstract lights and sounds used by the scientists to communicate to the aliens. It is, in many ways, an anti-logocentric film, a celebration of the non-verbal and the techno-haptic."

[via: http://magicalnihilism.com/2009/11/25/he-has-to-make-what-he-is-thinking-in-order-to-express-it/ ]
nonverbalcommunication  design  science  visualization  communication  via:blackbeltjones  criticism  sculpture  process  sciencefiction  scifi  fiction  narrative  making  craft  expression  film  closeencountersofthethirdkind  drawing  music  human 
november 2009 by robertogreco
cyoa [Choose Your Own Adventure visualizations]
"To get a sense for the distribution of pages within the actual cyoa books, I’ve prepared a dataset of 12 books. They earliest date from 1979 and at the later edge are a handful from 1986. They are laid out chronologically (or according to series order for books released in the same year) with the oldest at the top left and more recent books below. Each book has been arranged into rows of ten pages apiece."
visualization  books  cyoa  chooseyourownadventure  infographics  reading  design  games  play  gaming  interactive  fiction  if  interactivefiction 
november 2009 by robertogreco
The City Is A Battlesuit For Surviving The Future - Future metro - io9
"If you'll excuse the spoiler, the zenith of Hawksmoor's adventures with cities come when he finds the purpose behind the modifications - he was not altered by aliens but by future humans in order to defend the early 21st century against a time-travelling 73rd century Cleveland gone berserk. Hawksmoor defeats the giant, monstrous sentient city by wrapping himself in Tokyo to form a massive concrete battlesuit.

Cities are the best battlesuits we have.

It seem to me that as we better learn how to design, use and live in cities - we all have a future."
design  mattjones  technology  urbanplanning  architecture  urbanism  scifi  postarchitectural  psychology  cities  archigram  comics  urban  future  danhill  adamgreenfield  janejacobs  warrenellis  christopherwren  psychogeography  kevinslavin  detroit  nyc  dubai  mumbai  masdrcity  fiction  film  spacesuits  battlesuits 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Rossignol » Thrilling Wonder Stories
"The rocketship wonder of earlier decades is gone, and our children write dystopias by default: a fascinating, terrifying realisation. He seemed rather earthy and upbeat, and talked of how problems mean invention, and creativity, but I couldn’t help think about a generation of kids for whom there is no bright imagined future: only Bladerunner, eco-death, the Drowned World, apocalypse. MacLeod talked about the problems for idealistic sci-fi now, and I wonder if there was something about the hip nihilism of modern fantasy, combined with relentless terror-cancer newsmedia shit, that really will stop future generations bothering to climb out of their doomed shrug." ... "The whole thing was stamped, perhaps imperceptibly to everyone else, with a motto I come back to - paraphrasing Richard Rorty - which is: “anything can be redescribed”. Sometimes, a new description is all you need."
design  archigram  architecture  fiction  simulation  speculation  jgballard  pessimism  sciencefiction  scifi  optimism  narrative  representation  writing  futurism  future  tcsnmy  dystopia  utopia  jimrossignol  wonder  children  simulations 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Near Future Laboratory » Design Fiction: A Short Essay on Design, Science, Fact and Fiction
"When you trace the knots that link science, fact and fiction you see the fascinating crosstalk between and amongst ideas and their materialization. In the tracing you see the simultaneous knowledge-making activities, speculating and pondering and realizing that things are made only by force of the imagination. In the midst of the tangle, one begins to see that fact and fiction are productively indistinguishable.

Design is about the future in a way similar to science fiction. It probes imaginatively and materializes ideas, the way science fiction materializes ideas, oftentimes through stories. What are the ways that all of these things — these canonical ways of making and remaking and imagining the world — can come together in a productive way, without hiding the details and without worrying about the nonsense of strict disciplinary boundaries?"

[.pdf here: http://drbfw5wfjlxon.cloudfront.net/writing/DesignFiction_WebEdition.pdf ]
julianbleecker  design  futurology  future  science  teaching  retrofuture  research  ubicomp  fiction  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  designfiction  imagination  narrative 
march 2009 by robertogreco
“Resistance is Futile”: Reading Science Fiction Alongside Ubiquitous Computing [.pdf]
"Design-oriented research is an act of collective imagining – a way in which we work together to bring about a future that lies slightly out of our grasp. In this paper, we examine the collective imagining of ubiquitous computing by bringing it into alignment with a related phenomenon, science fiction, in particular as imagined by a series of shows that form part of the cultural backdrop for many members of the research community. A comparative reading of these fictional narratives highlights a series of themes that are also implicit in the research literature. We argue both that these themes are important considerations in the shaping of technological design, and that an attention to the tropes of popular culture holds methodological value for ubiquitous computing."
via:adamgreenfield  everyware  ubicomp  pauldourish  genevievebell  scifi  sciencefiction  technology  culture  research  design  fiction  storytelling  filetype:pdf  media:document 
october 2008 by robertogreco
MTV Multiplayer » “A Higher Standard” — Game Designer Jonathan Blow Challenges Super Mario’s Gold Coins, “Unethical” MMO Design And Everything Else You May Hold Dear About Video Games
"if people get things out of games different from other media ... those things obviously can't be pure escapism"; "the way people act & think 50 years from now will in significant part be determined by the games we create now"; "happiness comes at a cost"
via:preoccupations  games  braid  gaming  culture  videogames  gamedesign  gamechanging  society  escapism  narrative  play  challenge  creativity  storytelling  design  fiction  film  books  industry  gamedev  reward 
july 2008 by robertogreco
ANTARCTICA Dream-Dollars
"The official currency of Nadiria, the losy colony of Antarctica"
fiction  fantasy  money  micronations  illustration  typography  currency  art  design  ephemera  antarctica  antarctic 
december 2007 by robertogreco
H A P P Y - F E E D B A C K - M A C H I N E
"(a.k.a. Haptic Feedback Machine) is a time travel interface inspired from the early Dr. Who television series...a toy for both children & adults...primary purpose is to provide tactile satisfaction from playing with its many buttons & switches."
technology  interface  play  buttons  art  design  fiction  interactive  timetravel 
december 2007 by robertogreco
Technology Review: The Interoperation
"Architecture had given way to software management. So he turned buildings into construction programs."
brucesterling  scifi  sciencefiction  robotics  manufacturing  fiction  design  construction  architecture 
november 2007 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Without Walls: An Interview with Lebbeus Woods
"architecture should not just be something that follows up on events but be a leader of events. That’s what you’re saying: That by implementing an architectural action, you actually are making a transformation in the social fabric and in the political fabric. Architecture becomes an instigator; it becomes an initiator.

That, of course, is what I’ve always promoted – but it’s the most difficult thing for people to do. Architects say: well, it’s my client, they won’t let me do this. Or: I have to do what my client wants. That’s why I don’t have any clients! [laughter] It’s true.

Because at least I can put the ideas out there and somehow it might seep through, or filter through, to another level."
architecture  politics  borders  cities  lebbeuswoods  culture  sciencefiction  scifi  theory  future  fiction  interviews  nyc  spaces  design  philosophy  bldgblog  art  architects  science 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Ironic Sans: Idea: A building shaped like Godzilla
"The people of Tokyo should construct a giant building shaped like Godzilla. Imagine what it would do to the city’s skyline, and to the tourism industry."
architecture  art  cities  design  japan  tokyo  scifi  urban  tourism  movies  film  fiction  culture  popculture  humor 
december 2006 by robertogreco
Come Out and Play Festival
"Come Out & Play is a festival dedicated to street games. It is three days of play, talks, and celebration, all focused on new types of games and play."
arg  art  collaboration  design  events  fun  games  play  nyc  performance  public  mobile  location-based  gps  urbanism  streetgames  pervasive  interactive  fiction  gamedesign  festivals  videogames  storytelling  seriousgames  gaming  education 
september 2006 by robertogreco

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