robertogreco + speculativefiction   80

CENHS @ Rice! » 133 – María Puig de la Bellacasa
“Dominic and Cymene indulge a little post-Pruitt glee on this week’s podcast and speculate about the possibility of six foot tall low carbon lava lamps in the future. Then (16:46) we are thrilled to be joined by star STS scholar and emergent anthropologist María Puig de la Bellacasa to talk about her celebrated new book, Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds (U Minnesota Press, 2017). We start with the importance of care in feminist philosophy and how this work, alongside her own activist background, inspired this project. She asks us to consider how we can make knowledge that takes seriously a politics of care without giving ourselves over to the neoliberal commodification of care. And she asks how a commitment to speculative ethics can lead us to imagine and enact worlds different than the one we inhabit now. Later on, María tells us about what led her to quit philosophy and why appropriation might not actually be such a bad thing. Then we turn to her work with permaculturalists and soil scientists, what it was like to study with Starhawk, changing paradigms of soil ontology and ecology, what are alterbiopolitics, speculative ethics in a time of political crisis, and so much more.”

[See also:

“Matters of Care by María Puig de la Bellacasa, reviewed by Farhan Samanani”
https://societyandspace.org/2019/01/08/matters-of-care-by-maria-puig-de-la-bellacasa/

“Reframing Care – Reading María Puig de la Bellacasa ‘Matters of Care Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds’”
https://ethicsofcare.org/reframing-care-reading-maria-puig-de-la-bellacasa-matters-of-care-speculative-ethics-in-more-than-human-worlds/ ]
maríapuigdelabellacasa  care  maintenance  2018  morethanhuman  humanism  posthumanism  multispecies  anthropology  ecology  alterbiopolitics  permaculture  caring  ethics  politics  soil  philosophy  brunolatour  work  labor  activism  neoliberalism  feminism  donnaharaway  academia  knowledge  knowledgeproduction  thoughtfulness  environment  climatechange  individualism  concern  speculation  speculativeethics  speculativefiction  identitypolitics  everyday  pocketsofutopia  thinking  mattersofconcern  highered  highereducation  intervention  speculative  speculativethinking  greenconsumerism  consumerism  capitalism  greenwashing  moralizing  economics  society  matter  mattering  karenbarad  appropriation  hope  optimism  ucsc  historyofconsciousness 
12 weeks ago by robertogreco
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 
june 2019 by robertogreco
A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - YouTube
"What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? What would the future look like? The Intercept presents a film narrated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and illustrated by Molly Crabapple.

Set a couple of decades from now, the film is a flat-out rejection of the idea that a dystopian future is a forgone conclusion. Instead, it offers a thought experiment: What if we decided not to drive off the climate cliff? What if we chose to radically change course and save both our habitat and ourselves?

We realized that the biggest obstacle to the kind of transformative change the Green New Deal envisions is overcoming the skepticism that humanity could ever pull off something at this scale and speed. That’s the message we’ve been hearing from the “serious” center for four months straight: that it’s too big, too ambitious, that our Twitter-addled brains are incapable of it, and that we are destined to just watch walruses fall to their deaths on Netflix until it’s too late.

This film flips the script. It’s about how, in the nick of time, a critical mass of humanity in the largest economy on earth came to believe that we were actually worth saving. Because, as Ocasio-Cortez says in the film, our future has not been written yet and “we can be whatever we have the courage to see.”"

[See also:
https://theintercept.com/2019/04/17/green-new-deal-short-film-alexandria-ocasio-cortez/

"The question was: How do we tell the story of something that hasn’t happened yet?

We realized that the biggest obstacle to the kind of transformative change the Green New Deal envisions is overcoming the skepticism that humanity could ever pull off something at this scale and speed. That’s the message we’ve been hearing from the “serious” center for four months straight: that it’s too big, too ambitious, that our Twitter-addled brains are incapable of it, and that we are destined to just watch walruses fall to their deaths on Netflix until it’s too late.

This skepticism is understandable. The idea that societies could collectively decide to embrace rapid foundational changes to transportation, housing, energy, agriculture, forestry, and more — precisely what is needed to avert climate breakdown — is not something for which most of us have any living reference. We have grown up bombarded with the message that there is no alternative to the crappy system that is destabilizing the planet and hoarding vast wealth at the top. From most economists, we hear that we are fundamentally selfish, gratification-seeking units. From historians, we learn that social change has always been the work of singular great men.

Science fiction hasn’t been much help either. Almost every vision of the future that we get from best-selling novels and big-budget Hollywood films takes some kind of ecological and social apocalypse for granted. It’s almost as if we have collectively stopped believing that the future is going to happen, let alone that it could be better, in many ways, than the present.

The media debates that paint the Green New Deal as either impossibly impractical or a recipe for tyranny just reinforce the sense of futility. But here’s the good news: The old New Deal faced almost precisely the same kinds of opposition — and it didn’t stop it for a minute."]
alexandriaocasio-cortez  2019  mollycrabapple  greennewdeal  speculativefiction  politics  policy  future  climatechange  globalwarming  1988  us  oil  petroleum  fossilfuels  environment  sustainability  puertorico  crisis  change  food  transportation  economics  capitalism  inequality  medicareforall  livingwages  labor  work  infrastructure  trains  masstransit  publictransit  americorps  unions  indigenous  indigeneity  childcare  care  caring  teaching  domesticwork  universalrights  healthcare  humanism  humanity  avilewis  naomiklein  skepticism  imagination  newdeal  fdr  wpa  greatdepression  moonshots  art  artists  collectivism  society 
april 2019 by robertogreco
SpeculativeEdu | Superflux: Tools and methods for making change
"Anab Jain and Jon Ardern of Superflux (“a studio for the rapidly changing world”) talk to James Auger about their approach, their recent projects, and their educational activities.

Superflux create worlds, stories, and tools that provoke and inspire us to engage with the precarity of our rapidly changing world. Founded by Anab Jain and Jon Ardern in 2009, the Anglo-Indian studio has brought critical design, futures and foresight approaches to new audiences while working for some of the world’s biggest organisations like Microsoft Research, Sony, Samsung and Nokia, and exhibiting work at MoMA New York, the National Museum of China, and the V&A in London. Over the last ten years, the studio has gained critical acclaim for producing work that navigates the entangled wilderness of our technology, politics, culture, and environment to imagine new ways of seeing, being, and acting. The studio’s partners and clients currently include Government of UAE, Innovate UK, Cabinet Office UK, Red Cross, UNDP, Mozilla and Forum for the Future. Anab is also Professor at Design Investigations, University of Applied Arts, Vienna.

[Q] You practice across numerous and diverse fields (education, commercial, gallery). Does your idea of speculative design change for each of these contexts? How do you balance the different expectations of each?

We don’t tend to strictly define our work as “Speculative Design”. Usually we say we are designers or artists or filmmakers. Speculative Design is gaining traction lately, and we might have a client of two who knows the term and might even hire us for that, but usually they come to us because they want to explore a possible future or a different narrative, or investigate a technology. We think our work investigates a potential rather than speculating on a future. Speculation is an undeniable part of the process but it is not the primary motivation behind our work. Our work is an open-ended process of enquiry, whilst speculation can at times feel like a closed loop.

[Q] There is a tendency, in many speculative design works, towards dystopian futures. It seems that as with science fiction, apocalyptic futures are easier to imagine and tell as stories. Focusing on your CCCB installation, Mitigation of Shock, how would you describe this project in terms of its value connotation? What is the purpose of such a project?

For us, Mitigation of Shock is actually not apocalyptic at all, but instead a pragmatic vision of hope, emerging from a dystopian future ravaged by climate change. On a personal level, it can be difficult for people to imagine how an issue like global warming might affect everyday life for our future selves, or generations to come. Our immersive simulation merges the macabre and the mundane as the social and economic consequences of climate change infiltrate the domestic space.

The installation transports people decades into the future (or perhaps even closer on the horizon), into an apartment in London which has been drastically adapted for living with the consequences of climate catastrophe. Familiar, yet alien. A domestic space alive with multispecies inhabitants, surviving and thriving together in an indoor microcosm. Climate projections from the beginning of the century have unfurled into reality, their consequences reverberating across the globe. Climate catastrophes shatter global supply chains. Economic and political fragility, social fragmentation, and food insecurity destabilise society.

Rather than optimistically stick our heads in the sand, or become overwhelmed with fear, we decided to catapult ourselves and others directly into a specific geographical and cultural context to experience the ripple effects of extreme weather conditions. Hope often works best alongside tools for proactively tackling future challenges. Which is why, in this year-long experimental research project, we explored, designed and built an apartment located in a future no one wants, but that may be on the horizon. Not to scare, or overwhelm, but to help people critically reflect upon their actions in the present, and introduce them to potential solutions for living in such a future. The evidence in the apartment may reflect a different future, but all the food apparatus was in fully working condition, no speculation there. We wanted to demonstrate that we have the tools and methods we need to make the change today.

[Q] We are living in complicated times – politically, environmentally, culturally. After several years of speculative and critical design evolution, do you think that it can have a more influential role in shaping futures/alternatives beyond the discussions that typically take place in the design community?

We wrote a little bit about this here: https://medium.com/superfluxstudio/stop-shouting-future-start-doing-it-e036dba17cdc.

[Q] Could it adopt more political or activist role? If so, how could this aspect be incorporated into education?

Yes definitely. Our latest project Trigger Warning explores this very space: https://mod.org.au/exhibits/trigger-warning. And then a completely different project: http://superflux.in/index.php/work/future-of-democracy-algorithmic-power/#temp.

[Anab] Also my students at the Angewandte will be exploring the theme of “futures of democracy” in the upcoming semester.

[Q] Coming from India but educated at the RCA, what was your take on the “privilege” discussion via Design and Violence? More specifically, what can we learn from this debate? How can it push speculative design forwards?

[Anab] I sensed an underlying assumption in that debate that anybody from the West was seen as “privileged” and anyone from any other colonised country is not. Whilst there is a long and troubling history to colonisation in India, I do bear in mind that India was always a battleground for clans and dynasties from other countries long before the West came and colonised it. These issues are very complex, and I think the only way we can attempt to understand them is by avoiding accusations and flamewars, but instead opening up space for everyone’s voice to be heard.

As things stands today, even though I come from India, a lot of people would argue that, within India, I am privileged because I had the opportunity to choose my education path and the person I want to marry. On the other hand, I know lots and lots of people in the West (white/male even) who are disempowered because of systemic privilege within the West. So discussions of race, gender expression and privilege are much more granular than simplistic accusations, and I strongly believe that designers who address complex issues, whilst battling student loans and rents, should be applauded, not condemned.

[Q] How can we resist or overcome the situation where avant-garde design practices, established as a resistance to the dominant system, ultimately become appropriated by the system?

If we successfully overturn capitalism, the rest will follow."
superflux  2019  anabjain  jonardern  jamesauger  design  designfiction  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  capitalism  democracy  climatechange  education  marrtive  film  filmmaking  art  artists  potential  inquiry  open-ended  openendedness  hope  globalwarming  future  politics  activism  india  colonialism  colonization  complexity  privilege  openended 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Refiguring the Future Conference | Day One - YouTube
The Refiguring the Future conference convenes artists, educators, writers, and cultural strategists to envision a shared liberatory future by providing us with ideas that move beyond and critique oppressive systems. Participants in the conference will address concepts of world-building, ecologies, disability and accessibility, biotechnology and the body.

The conference kicks off the opening weekend of the Refiguring the Future, a new exhibition offering a politically engaged and inclusive vision of the intersection of art, science, and technology, organized in partnership with the REFRESH collective and Hunter College Art Galleries,

The Refiguring the Future conference is curated by Eyebeam/REFRESH Curatorial and Engagement Fellow Lola Martinez and REFRESH member Maandeeq Mohamed.

10:00 AM – 10:15 AM | Opening Remarks

Dorothy R. Santos and Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Co-Curators of Refiguring the Future

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM | World-building

Exploring the settler ontologies that govern technoscientific inquiry, this panel will engage technology towards a liberatory, world-building politic.

shawné michaelain holloway, Artist

Rasheedah Phillips, Artist and Co-Creator of Black Quantum Futurism

Alexander G. Weheliye, Professor, Northwestern University

Moderated by Maandeeq Mohamed, Writer


11:30 AM – 12:30 AM | Keynote Lecture


12:30 PM – 02:00 PM | Lunch


02:00 PM – 02:30 PM | Keynote Performative Lecture

In this performative lecture, artist Zach Blas offers critical investigations on issues of the internet, capitalism, and state oppression.

Zach Blas, Artist

Keynote Introduction by Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Artist


02:30 PM – 03:30 PM | Symbiotic Ecologies

Narratives of colonial legacy, migration, and extinction have shifted our cultural imagining of ecologies. Beginning by acknowledging our existence in unsustainable climates, this panel brings forth artistic and activist practices which provoke and foster symbiotic relationships for new understandings within environmental predicaments.

Sofía Córdova, Artist

Jaskiran Dhillon, Associate Professor, The New School

Sofía Unanue, co-founder and co-director of La Maraña

Moderated by Kathy High, Artist.


03:30 PM – 04:00 PM | Coffee Break

04:00 PM – 05:00 PM | Speculative Bodies: A Shell to be Surpassed

Technological biases categorize individuals according to markers such as race, gender, sexuality, and citizenship, and in turn undermine how we live and navigate our present and future worlds. This panel collectively examines how the fields of health, genomics, and technology are reinforced by Western scientific discourses and speculate new insights for alternative systems of knowledge.

Ruha Benjamin, Associate Professor, Princeton University

micha cárdenas, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz

Dr. Pinar Yoldas, Artist

Moderated by Dr. Kadija Ferryman, Researcher at Data and Society.

05:00 PM – 06:00 PM | Keynote Lecture

In this Keynote lecture, Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor examines the politics of social liberation movements. Author of #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, Taylor offers an examination of the history and politics of Black America and the development of the social movement Black Lives Matter in response to police violence in the United States.

Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor, Assistant Professor, Princeton University

Keynote introduction by Dorothy R. Santos, Curator and Writer"

[See also:
Refiguring the Future Conference | Day Two
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCa36fWJhyk

"The Refiguring the Future conference convenes artists, educators, writers, and cultural strategists to envision a shared liberatory future by providing us with ideas that move beyond and critique oppressive systems. Participants in the conference will address concepts of world-building, ecologies, disability and accessibility, biotechnology and the body.

The conference kicks off the opening weekend of the Refiguring the Future, a new exhibition offering a politically engaged and inclusive vision of the intersection of art, science, and technology, organized in partnership with the REFRESH collective and Hunter College Art Galleries,

The Refiguring the Future conference is curated by Eyebeam/REFRESH Curatorial and Engagement Fellow Lola Martinez and REFRESH member Maandeeq Mohamed.

See the full schedule here: https://www.eyebeam.org/events/refiguring-the-future-conference/

In the Annex:

Talks | Refiguring Planetary Health, Building Black Futures

We cannot have a healthy planet that sustains all human beings as long as the systemic oppression of Black and Indigenous peoples continues. And yet, prominent environmental science institutions concerned with conservation and climate change often fail to address this oppression or their role in perpetuating it. In this talk, we will explore how histories of scientific racism and eugenics inform current scientific policies and practice. Cynthia Malone will work with various forms of freedom practice, from hip hop to science fiction to scholarship in the Black Radical Tradition, to consider alternative visions for planetary health that advance both environmental stewardship and liberation from oppressive ideologies and systems.

Cynthia Malone, Activist, Scholar, and Scientist
---
The Spirit of the Water Bear

In this talk, Claire Pentecost will give an introduction and reading of Spirit of the Water Bear, a young adult novel set in a coastal town in the Carolinas. The novel’s protagonist, Juni Poole, is a 15-year-old girl who spends much of her time exploring the natural world. Inevitably, she finds herself confronting the urgency of a crisis that has no end, namely climate change and the sixth great extinction. Through experiences of activism, she finds comrades who feel environmental and political urgency much as she does, and learns that she has a place in the ongoing struggle for environmental justice. The book is a work of “Cli-Fi” or climate fiction, featuring Juni’s adventures, but it is also a work of “Cli-Phi” or climate philosophy, featuring conversations and musings on the nature of our existential predicament.

Claire Pentecost, Artist

Speaker Introductions by Lola Martinez, Eyebeam and REFRESH Curatorial and Engagement Fellow
---
Roundtables and Talks | Visible networks: Community Building in the Digital Arena

As notions of accessibility are being rendered visible on networks and digital medias, disability and chronic illness communities are utilizing networks to provide resources and representations. Yet what does it mean to build community within these platforms? This roundtable discussion offers reflections by artists working to provide new insights into biomedical discourses which reinforce apparent and unapparent representations of disabled bodies.

Hayley Cranberry, Artist

Anneli Goeller, Artist

Yo-Yo Lin, Artist
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#GLITCHFEMINISM

Legacy Russell is the founding theorist behind Glitch Feminism as a cultural manifesto and movement. #GLITCHFEMINISM aims to use the digital as a means of resisting the hegemony of the corporeal. Glitch Feminism embraces the causality of ‘error’ and turns the gloomy implication of ‘glitch’ on its ear by acknowledging that an error in a social system disturbed by economic, racial, social, sexual, cultural stratification, and the imperialist wrecking-ball of globalization—processes that continue to enact violence on all bodies—may not be ‘error’ at all, but rather a much-needed erratum. The digital is a vessel through which our glitch ‘becoming’ realises itself, and through which we can reprogramme binary gender coding. Our ‘glitch’ is a correction to the machine—f**k hegemonic coding! USURP THE BODY—BECOME YOUR AVATAR!

Legacy Russell, Curator and Writer

Speaker Introductions by Lola Martinez, Eyebeam and REFRESH Curatorial and Engagement Fellow"]

[See also:
"Eyebeam presents Refiguring the Future: an exhibition and conference organized by REFRESH, produced in collaboration with Hunter College Art Galleries."
https://www.eyebeam.org/rtf/

EXHIBITION
Curated by REFRESH collective members Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Dorothy R. Santos, the exhibition title is inspired by artist Morehshin Allahyari’s work defining a concept of “refiguring” as a feminist, de-colonial, and activist practice. Informed by the punk ethos of do-it-yourself (DIY), the 18 artists featured in Refiguring the Future deeply mine the historical and cultural roots of our time, pull apart the artifice of contemporary technology, and sift through the pieces to forge new visions of what could become.

The exhibition will present 11 new works alongside re-presented immersive works by feminist, queer, decolonial, anti-racist, and anti-ableist artists concerned with our technological and political moment including: Morehshin Allahyari, Lee Blalock, Zach Blas*, micha cárdenas* and Abraham Avnisan, In Her Interior (Virginia Barratt and Francesca da Rimini)*, Mary Maggic, Lauren McCarthy, shawné michaelain holloway*, Claire and Martha Pentecost, Sonya Rapoport, Barak adé Soleil, Sputniko! and Tomomi Nishizawa, Stephanie Syjuco, and Pinar Yoldas*.

Names with asterik denotes participation in the conference. ]
eyebeam  dorothysantos  lolamartinez  maandeegmohamed  liberation  art  events  2019  heatherdewey-hagborg  shawnémichaelainholloway  rasheedahphillips  alexanderwehelive  zachblas  ecology  ecologies  sofíacórdova  sofíaunanue  jaskirandhillon  lamaraña  speculativefiction  designfiction  keeangayamahtta-taylor  michacárdenas  blacklivesmatter  gender  race  sexuality  citizenship  future  inclusions  inclusivity  health  genomics  speculativedesign  design  arts  pinaryoldas  kadijaferryman  glitchfeminism  feminism  clairepentecost  heyleycranbery  anneligoeller  yo-yolin  cyntihiamalone  climatechange  globalwarming  eugenics  racism  science  scientificracism  oppression  systemsthinking  activism  climatefiction  junipoole  accessibility  legacyrussell  technology  digital  disability  worldbuilding  bodies  biotechnology  morehshinallahyari  queer  decolonization  anti-racist  ableism  abti-ableism  leeblalock  abrahamavnisan  virginiabarratt  francescadarimini  marymaggic  lauranmccarthy  marthapentecost  sonyarapoport  barakadésoleil  sputniko!  tomominishiz 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Solarpunking Speculative Futures — Cultural Anthropology
"Here is a map of Eneropa, a vision of the continent of Europe in 2050. Reorganized by renewable energy production, the new states—Hydropia, Solaria, Biomassburg, Geothermalia, Vrania, Tidal States, and the Isles of Wind—are connected by a centralized European energy grid. The grid serves to redistribute renewable energy across the continent by season, with the predominant energy supply from strong winterly winds in the north replaced by solar summers in the south. Europe’s carbon emissions have dropped by (at least) 80 percent from 1990s levels, and the continent is almost entirely energy-independent. The new, post-transition Europe is a safer, happier, and more politically stable place to live.

[image]

This is not an exercise in speculative fiction, but an example of backcasting: a policy technique of detailing a desirable future and then reverse-engineering solutions to achieve it. This map was featured in a 2010 vision document entitled “Roadmap 2050: A Practical Guide to a Prosperous, Low-Carbon Europe,” which was funded by the European Climate Foundation. It is only one in a series of eye-catching visuals that present a case for a European energy grid that would have made the inventor and scientist Buckminster Fuller proud. Others include snapshots of what each of these regions will look like; often, renewable energy production is integrated with holiday-like leisure activity, from surfing to sunbathing and general frolicking in the sea.

If the imagery seems fantastical, it is nonetheless informed by a mass of technical data: grid engineering and design, plausible costs, investment plans, in-depth modeling of system balancing requirements, and analyses of the macroeconomic impacts of large-scale decarbonization. The Office for Metropolitan Architecture gave the project visual form. Head architects Rem Koolhaas and Rainer de Graaf, among others, worked in conjunction with experts at the Energy Futures Lab at the Imperial College London, the technical grid consultancy Kema, management consultants McKinsey and Company, the climate change think tank E3G, and Oxford Economics. The aesthetic might be fantasy, but the genre is very much policy.

Many have written about the synergistic, mutually constitutive relationship between speculative fiction and technological innovation. Less attention has been paid to the more mundane work of policy, which serves to bridge speculative imagination and mass adoption of a new way of life. One way to address this might be to extend the aforementioned analyses, comparing themes across a sampling of publications to determine the influence of speculative fiction on the genre of the vision document, or vice versa. Another would be to eschew the reading of one genre alongside another in favor of reading such policy documents as speculative literature in themselves. This is what “Roadmap 2050” challenges us to do. Far from being facetious, its purpose in employing codes of fantasy is to engage us in an act of genre generosity. The fantastical elements empower us to approach the document with a willingness to suspend disbelief and to go beyond our usual attunement to limits and conservative assumptions.1

But what does reading policy as a speculative genre achieve? To begin with, it forces us to acknowledge that fiction as conventionally defined no longer has a monopoly over speculative narratives. As an act of world-making, speculation is present in several contemporary professional contexts, with climate change–related policymaking as only one of them. Design fiction, for instance, is a speculative world-building methodology that employs so-called diegetic prototypes to explore how new inventions hold up both socially and technically in multiple future scenarios (see Sterling 2005). However, while design fiction accounts for a variety of futures, both desirable and dystopian, policy backcasting must always project an optimistic future. This makes it somewhat unique, read against the pantheon of speculative subgenres.

Within academia, optimism is often adopted self-consciously as an ethics, or is tied back into an overarching analytics from within which it is rendered either “cruel” (Berlant 2011), naive, or a symptom of selling out. Reading policy not only for its proffered content but speculatively for its form might prompt anthropologists to take optimism seriously—not (just) as an ethics, but as a form of labor that we encounter in the field. We know the plight of climate scientists all too well (see Clayton 2018), but how can we make sense of the obligatory optimism of policymakers as they work to promote so-called global solutions?

To diagnose optimism as an object, we might take inspiration from an analytic device in the environmental humanities: close reading for narrative aesthetics grounded in contemporary petrocultural forms (e.g., Szeman 2017). While we are far from disembedding ourselves from the petrocultural, a new subgenre coalescing around the term solarpunk might serve as a starting point to engage with the labor of optimistic speculation. Described by Elvia Wilk as wishing to “wrench science fiction from both steampunk’s magical tech fantasies and cyberpunk’s tech-gone-wrong,” solarpunk locates itself in a near future of feasible tech that often already exists in some form. Its worlds are fueled not by coal or oil (as were steam- and cyberpunk respectively), but solar energy, as a way to access a postpetro social. In its best moments the genre is not engaged in utopianism, but acts of dislocation.

If the point of speculative anthropology is not simply to recognize the speculative in contexts we encounter but also to adopt the speculative in the manner by which we engage them, then reading policy documents (with some indulgence) as solarpunk might constitute one such act of dislocation. It may even allow us to punk the relationship between our modes of critique and the dominant energy form. Perhaps Bruno Latour (2004) was more prescient than he knew when he declared that critique had run out of steam. Perhaps it is in need of some solar instead."
solarpunk  speculativefiction  speculation  speculative  designfiction  anthropology  nanditabadami  2018  speculativeanthropology 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Speculative Anthropologies — Cultural Anthropology
"At the intersection of speculative fiction and anthropology, we find a sense of epistemological humility about the kind of worlds we could or should inhabit. Yet epistemological humility should not be confused with futility: possibilities and potentialities still matter. We do not know what we are capable of, and yet that need not keep us from the pursuit of what ifs. Through the imaginative interpellations of speculative fiction (SF), the contributors to this Theorizing the Contemporary series gravitate toward new localities and means of presence: ecological, technological, Afro-futuristic. Facing the imminent prospect of both disaster and discovery, they call us to resist despair and to craft tangible ways of shaping and repairing the worlds we still hope for.

Posts in This Series

Introduction: Speculative Anthropologies
by Ryan Anderson, Emma Louise Backe, Taylor Nelms, Elizabeth Reddy and Jeremy Trombley

The Unstable Edge: Anthropology, Speculative Fiction, and the Incremental Threat of Sea Level Rise
by Ryan Anderson

Our Present as the Past’s Fictitious Future
by Sally A. Applin

Solarpunking Speculative Futures
by Nandita Badami

Thinking Parabolically: Time Matters in Octavia Butler’s Parables
by Priya Chandrasekaran

Looking for Humanity in Science Fiction through Afrofuturism
by David Colón-Cabrera

Planeterra Nullius: Science Fiction Writing and the Ethnographic Imagination
by William Lempert (Open author orcid page in new window)

Fieldnotes from the Twilight Zone
by Patricia Markert and Jeremy Trombley

Invisible City: A Speculative Guide
by Taylor Nelms

First Contact with Possible Futures
by Michael Oman-Reagan (Open author orcid page in new window)

Speculative Fiction and Speculating about the Social
by Elizabeth Reddy

Evidently SF
by David Valentine

Anthropology’s Latent Futures
by Samuel Gerald Collins

Unbounding the Field/Note
by Valerie Olson

The Necessary Tension between Science Fiction and Anthropology
by Matthew Wolf-Meyer"
speculative  anthropology  speculativeanthropology  speculativefiction  designfiction  speculation  afrofuturism  ecology  technology  immigration  climatechange  ryananderson  emmalouisebacke  taylornelms  elizabethreddy  jeremytrombley  sallyapplin  nanditabadami  priyachandrasekaran  davidcolón-cabrera  williamlempert  patriciamarkert  michaeloman-reagan  samuelgeraldcollins  davidvalentine  valerieolson  matthewwolf-meyer 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Scratching the Surface — 86. Anab Jain
"Anab Jain is a designer, futurist, filmmaker and educator. As Co-founder and Director of Superflux, she hopes to realise the vision of the Studio as a new kind of design practice, responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century. She also teaches at the University Applied Arts in Vienna and gave a TED Talk last year on design’s role in imagining new futures. In this episode, Anab and I talk about Superflux’s blend of client and speculative work, her background in filmmaking, and pushing up against disciplinary boundaries."
anabjain  jarrettfuller  2018  jamescscott  simonedebeauvoir  superfluc  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  design  andreitarkovsky  film  filmmaking  education  teaching  transdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  jean-lucgodard  criticaldesign  designeducation  kellereasterling  infrastructure  lcproject  openstudioproject  camerontonkinwise  scratchingthesurface 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Critical Design Fictions CSPL 225
"Design fiction involves the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change. Through practices of estrangement and defamiliarization, and through the use of carefully chosen design methods, this course experiments with the creation of provocative scenarios and imaginative artifacts that can help us envision different ways of inhabiting the world. The choices made by designers are ultimately choices about the kind of world in which we want to live--expressions of our dreams, fantasies, desires, and fears. As an integrated mode of thought and action, design is intrinsically social and deeply political. In conversation with science fiction, queer and feminist theories, indigenous discourses, drag and other performative interventions, this course explores speculative and critical approaches to design as catalysts for imagining alternate presents and possible futures. We examine a number of environmental and social issues related to climate change, incarceration, gender and reproductive rights, surveillance, emerging technologies, and labor."



"Readings include: Anthony Dunne & Fiona Raby, SPECULATIVE EVERYTHING: DESIGN, FICTION, AND SOCIAL DREAMING and Patrick Parrender (ed.) LEARNING FROM OTHER WORLDS: ESTRANGEMENT, COGNITION, AND THE POLITICS OF SCIENCE FICTION AND UTOPIA, along with selections from Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Julian Bleeker, Paul Preciado, Bruce Sterling, Darko Suvin, Samuel Delany, Elizabeth Grosz, José Esteban Muñoz, Ursula LeGuin, and Octavia Butler, among others.

Examination and Assignments:
Participation and collaboration, short assignments in conversation with readings, midterm and final projects. Students will design and prototype a series of objects, scenarios, and characters as devices to explore alternate presents and possible futures."

[see also:
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/channels
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/speculative-design-1519962911
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/misc-design-1519956499
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/sensory-ethnography
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/ethnographic-design-films
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/design-methods-1519961030

http://www.wesleyan.edu/academics/faculty/baadams/profile.html
http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2017/10/23/taylor-07-teaches-design-thinking-workshop-at-wesleyan/
http://wesleyanargus.com/2018/02/02/fellow-barbara-adams-talks-design-ideas-minor/
http://www.wesleyan.edu/ideas/faculty.html
http://www.wesleyan.edu/ideas/index.html
http://www.gidest.org/barbara-adams/
https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/design-as-future-making-9780857858399/
https://nssr.academia.edu/BarbaraAdams ]
barbaraadams  design  designfiction  2018  classes  anthonydunne  fionaraby  patrickparrender  carrielambert-beatty  paulpreciado  brucesterling  darkosuvin  samueldelany  elizabethgrosz  joséestebanmuñoz  ursulaleguin  octaviabutler  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  scifi  sciencefiction  utopia  julianbleecker  dunne&raby  wesleyan 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Making art of New York's urban ruins | Miru Kim - YouTube
"At the 2008 EG Conference, artist Miru Kim talks about her work. Kim explores industrial ruins underneath New York and then photographs herself in them, nude -- to bring these massive, dangerous, hidden spaces into sharp focus."
mirukim  nyc  art  body  bodies  rats  animals  subways  photography  mta  cities  urban  urbanism  morethanhuman  multispecies  infrastructure  2008  urbanexploration  exploration  speculativefiction  decay 
may 2018 by robertogreco
GhostFood on Vimeo
"GhostFood explores eating in a future of and biodiversity loss brought on by climate change. The GhostFood mobile food trailer serves scent-food pairings that are consumed by the public using a wearable device that adapts human physiology to enable taste experiences of unavailable foods.

Created in collaboration with Miriam Songster. Commissioned by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation for Marfa Dialogues/NY, with additional support provided by Takasago, NextFab Studios and Whole Foods. Marfa Dialogues/NY is a collaboration between the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Ballroom Marfa and the Public Concern Foundation. GhostFood was presented by Gallery Aferro in Newark, Rauschenberg Project Space in New York and by SteamWorkPhilly in Philadelphia."
2014  food  miriamsimun  miriamsongster  climatechange  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  physiology  taste  smell  senses  ghostfood  extinction  cod  fish  peanuts  cocoa  flavor  multisensory  flavors 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Impakt Festival 2017 - Performance: ANAB JAIN. HQ - YouTube
[Embedded here: http://impakt.nl/festival/reports/impakt-festival-2017/impakt-festival-2017-anab-jain/ ]

"'Everything is Beautiful and Nothing Hurts': @anab_jain's expansive keynote @impaktfestival weaves threads through death, transcience, uncertainty, growthism, technological determinism, precarity, imagination and truths. Thanks to @jonardern for masterful advise on 'modelling reality', and @tobias_revell and @ndkane for the invitation."
https://www.instagram.com/p/BbctTcRFlFI/ ]
anabjain  2017  superflux  death  aging  transience  time  temporary  abundance  scarcity  future  futurism  prototyping  speculativedesign  predictions  life  living  uncertainty  film  filmmaking  design  speculativefiction  experimentation  counternarratives  designfiction  futuremaking  climatechange  food  homegrowing  smarthomes  iot  internetofthings  capitalism  hope  futures  hopefulness  data  dataviz  datavisualization  visualization  williamplayfair  society  economics  wonder  williamstanleyjevons  explanation  statistics  wiiliambernstein  prosperity  growth  latecapitalism  propertyrights  jamescscott  objectivity  technocrats  democracy  probability  scale  measurement  observation  policy  ai  artificialintelligence  deeplearning  algorithms  technology  control  agency  bias  biases  neoliberalism  communism  present  past  worldview  change  ideas  reality  lucagatti  alextaylor  unknown  possibility  stability  annalowenhaupttsing  imagination  ursulaleguin  truth  storytelling  paradigmshifts  optimism  annegalloway  miyamotomusashi  annatsing 
november 2017 by robertogreco
SOLARPUNK : A REFERENCE GUIDE – Solarpunks – Medium
"Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?” The aesthetics of solarpunk merge the practical with the beautiful, the well-designed with the green and wild, the bright and colorful with the earthy and solid. Solarpunk can be utopian, just optimistic, or concerned with the struggles en route to a better world — but never dystopian. As our world roils with calamity, we need solutions, not warnings. Solutions to live comfortably without fossil fuels, to equitably manage scarcity and share abundance, to be kinder to each other and to the planet we share. At once a vision of the future, a thoughtful provocation, and an achievable lifestyle.
In progress…"

[See also:
http://solarpunks.tumblr.com/post/165763925033/solarpunk-a-reference-guide-solarpunks

"This page is an attempt to open up the optics of the Solarpunk community/genre for newcomers and others looking for references. A lot of the early discussions happened on tumblr dot com from 2014 onward after @missolivialouise‘s character concept post took off — with a core community of stewards who know who they are.

What follows is not meant to be an exhaustive list but hopefully will increasingly become one. We’re also aware that we are missing almost all of the art references from this list. :(

We also didn’t include any posts from us here at http://solarpunks.tumblr.com

Please get in touch (DM) with art and their references as a lot of content has lost their attribution  — @thejaymo"]
solarpunk  reference  speculativefiction  art  fashion  activism  sustainability  civilization  utopia  dystopia  optimism  kindness  future  futurism 
october 2017 by robertogreco
EyeMyth
"Exploring present and future cases of immersive storytelling and new media, EyeMyth brings together pioneering artists, performers and experts at the forefront of these fields. 

EyeMyth’s 2017 edition, Future As Fiction, traversed multiple locations in Mumbai to create, discover and engage with new elements in the digital space. The festival featured an array of exhibitions, workshops and performances that explored various forms of expression through new media."

[via: "Cool to see our comrades in Mumbai doing strange and interesting things in the futures/fiction/festival space: https://eyemyth.unboxfestival.com/ "
https://twitter.com/justinpickard/status/914105328266022912 ]
mumbai  designfiction  speculativefiction  future  futurism  storytelling  newmedia  technology  vr  ar  augmentedreality 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Apocalypse, Now - On The Media - WNYC
"Science fiction has always been an outlet for our greatest anxieties. This week, we delve into how the genre is exploring the reality of climate change. Plus: new words to describe the indescribable.

1. Jeff VanderMeer @jeffvandermeer, author of the Southern Reach Trilogy and Borne, on writing about the relationships between people and nature.

2. Claire Vaye Watkins @clairevaye talks about Gold Fame Citrus, her work of speculative fiction in which an enormous sand dune threatens to engulf the southwest. 

3. Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his latest work, New York 2140. The seas have risen 50 feet and lower Manhattan is submerged. And yet, there's hope.

4. British writer Robert Macfarlane @RobGMacfarlane on new language for our changing world.

Throughout the show: listeners offer their own new vocabulary for the Anthropocene era. Many thanks to everyone who left us voice memos!"
robertmacfarlane  kimstanleyrobinson  clairevayewatkins  jeffvandermeer  sciencefiction  scifi  speculativefiction  anthropocene  humans  nature  multispecies  language  tolisten  economics  finance  cli-fi  climatechange  utopia  names  naming  silence  pessimism  optimism  hope  dystopia  anthopocene  deserts  natue  change  earth 
july 2017 by robertogreco
An Ikea Catalog From The Near Future – Design Fictions – Medium
[Never bookmarked?]

"In September, the Near Future Laboratory conducted a workshop with the Mobile Life Center and Boris Design Studio in Stockholm. Our workshop brief was to consider an Internet of Things future, but with a twist: the Internet of Things seen through an Ikea Catalog.

Why did we chose an Ikea catalog? Because it is one of the more compelling ways to represent normal, ordinary, everyday life in many parts of the world. The Ikea catalog contains the routine furnishings of a normative everyday life. It’s a container of life’s essentials and accessories which can be extrapolated from today’s normal into tomorrow’s normal.

The process of our workshop was to use Design Fiction, a practice we’ve developed at the Near Future Laboratory that combines pragmatic hands-on production of material assets — in this case, graphic design production of a print catalog — with micro-scale science, technological and social fictions contained in the product descriptions, ancillary texts, disclaimers, footnotes and annotations.

The Design Fiction approach requires one to follow a series of claims about the world through as deeply as possible. For example, our claims to say that the near future world we were representing would have ‘smart’ ‘connected’ technologies needed to be as thorough as possible given our 1-day schedule. We needed to propose dozens of representations of such, throw out most, iterate on the one’s we found compelling and then find a plausible, visually engaging way to represent them with all of the constraints and rules one applies to catalog production. Each proposition from each of the working groups had to ‘stand up’ to our own scrutiny. Names of things weren’t enough. Each group had to describe the artifact or service as if they were pitching a new product. This is the work that seems to be rarely done when an IoT future is trumpeted in vague, hyperbolic press releases, keynotes and ‘reports.’ A bad PowerPoint slide with some loose text about ‘a future of connected kitchens’ and $1 trillion market for IoT simply would not work.

For example, our extrapolation of an Ikea kitchen has the things you might imagine (and have been “demo‘d”) in a near future IoT world. Cooking instructions appear dynamically on countertops, complete with anecdotes meant to keep the cooking experience lively — and likely complete with subtle opportunities to make a purchase of a fancy cutting knife, or book a reservation to the country from which the recipe is derived. The micro-fictions embedded in the catalog are where our Design Fiction makes subtle suggestions about how the near future may be a bit different from today.

For example, implying new economic contexts that were an aspect of the design brief can be done in subtle ways, such as peculiar regional disclaimers, odd explanatory iconography, subscription pricing models for furniture as the ‘new normal’ — in our near future, an Ikea kitchen is ‘self-subscribing’, a peculiar, eyebrow-raising neologism meant to suggest a new weird context of exchange dreamed-up by some near future product people in which our near future selves are comfortable with smart technologies that somehow know what’s best for us.

In the end, our Design Fiction Ikea catalog is a way to talk about a near future. It is not a specification, nor is it an aspiration or prediction. The work the catalog does — like all Design Fictions — is to encourage conversations about the kinds of near futures we’d prefer, even if that requires us to represent near futures we fear. While we’re fans of the ‘catalog’ as a Design Fiction Archetype (cf TBD Catalog), we’ve also done Quick-Start Guides, Newspaper Supplements, Reports on Modern Life & Rituals, bespoke Design Fiction Field Reports for clients, all as ways to enter into a discussions about our future."

[available here: http://mobilelifecentre.org/sites/default/files/Design_Fiction_IKEA_2015.pdf ]
2015  ikea  designfiction  speculativedesign  speculativefiction  internetofthings  iot  nearfuturelaboratory 
february 2017 by robertogreco
FUTURESTATES | Remigration | Episode | ITVS - YouTube
"Written and directed by Barry Jenkins

Upon returning to their countryside cabin one day, Kaya, his wife Helen, and their daughter Naomi are confronted by two suited men: representatives of the San Francisco Remigration Program. The men explain that San Francisco is now occupied entirely by the wealthy class. But stoplights still burn out and trains occasionally jump their rails. Blue-collar labor isn't obsolete, but it's scarce. The city has created a program to "remigrate" long-gone working class families from their inland homes back to the city that once pushed them out. Kaya, Helen, and Naomi return to San Francisco and join a handful of other potential remigrants for a tour of what can be expected in their new lives. But can they learn to trust their old home once again?"

[reminded of this series by: https://tinyletter.com/jomc/letters/future-series ]

[I have this episode and a bunch more from this series here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjtEkYRNN2ongZlotQoMYhkIr8wixZqtT ]
remigration  barryjenkins  futurestates  film  video  future  futurism  sanfrancisco  speculativefiction  migration  immigration 
november 2016 by robertogreco
FUTURESTATES | A Robot Walks Into a Bar | Episode | ITVS - YouTube
"Can a new bartending robot help patrons drown their sorrows, all while keeping them from harming themselves? He soon learns his mission may be next to impossible. A film by Alex Rivera."

[reminded of this series by: https://tinyletter.com/jomc/letters/future-series ]

[I have this episode and a bunch more from this series here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjtEkYRNN2ongZlotQoMYhkIr8wixZqtT ]
remigration  alexrivera  futurestates  film  video  future  futurism  sanfrancisco  speculativefiction  robots  labor  alcohol  injury 
november 2016 by robertogreco
The Future Archivists
"My name is Ian Alan Paul and I've been hired by archivists from the future to perform temporally remote fieldwork in Palestine's West Bank. You can read about how this all began by reading my first field note here, and you can also follow along on facebook and twitter.

Entries are divided into "Field Assignments" from the Future Archivists, "Field Reports" consisting of my research, and "Field Notes" which are personal reflections on the process.

If you have a question you'd like to ask about my fieldwork or about the future archivists, please send an e-mail to ask@thefuturearchivists.com"

[See also: http://www.ianalanpaul.com/the-future-archivists/

"The Future Archivists is an experimental online documentary about the West Bank that adopts the form of a speculative fiction. The project is based on the premise that a consortium of archivists from the future have hired Ian Alan Paul to perform temporally remote fieldwork in Palestine in order to help them fill discovered absences in their future archives."]
alanpaul  palestine  fieldwork  estbank  future  speculativefiction  archivists  archives 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Twine as a Process Modeling Tool – Track Changes
"Twine is a tool that lets you make point-and-click games that run in a web browser—what a lot of people refer to as “choose your own adventure” or CYOA games.

It’s pretty easy to make a game, which means that the Twine community is fairly big and diverse. You can play the games in your web browser, and compose them in a browser, too. Or download an app.

I tried Twine years ago and never really got anywhere, but out of idle curiosity I started to play with it again not long ago, with the idea that I’d make a little game that simulated what it’s like to work with Postlight. I.e.—

You step out of an elevator. Do you want to talk about

1. Working with us as a client?

2. Working with us as a team member?

As silly as it sounds it was fun to model the office out as a game. After an hour of messing around I’d modeled out the elevator (click a button!) and put in some basic scoring, and started to create some fake conversations between the player/reader and “characters” that included myself and my business partner Rich Ziade. Just what the world needs—a meeting simulator! If I ever finish it I’ll put it up online.

There are a lot of tools that you can use to do information architecture and to sketch out processes. Visio, PowerPoint, Keynote, or Omnigraffle, for example. In the programming world, some people use UML tools to draw pictures of how a program should operate, and then turn that into code, and a new breed of product prototyping apps are blurring the line between design and code, too. But it has always bummed me out that when you draw a picture on a computer it is, for the most part, just a picture. Why doesn’t the computer make sense of those boxes and arrows for you? Why is it so hard to turn a picture of a web product into a little, functional website?

This is a huge topic — why are most digital documents not presented as dynamic programs? (One good recent exploration of the subject is Bret Victor’s “Up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction.”) And in some ways the Twine interface is a very honest testing and prototyping environment, because it is so good at modeling choices (as in, choose your own adventure). Playing around, I made a little “game” about writing this newsletter. It took twenty minutes and is not serious—yet it made me think about schedules, information sources, my tendencies toward distraction, and the overall processes. It started as a joke but was an actually productive half-hour. I can see lots of ways to model social and business processes using the friendly, easy-to-use, and open-sourced Twine system. That the end result is a game shouldn’t distract you from the fact that the software is free and the exercise was useful."
twine  cyoa  prototyping  paulford  games  interactivefiction  speculativefiction  productmanagement  infoarchitecture  gaming  play  2016  if 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Africa Has Always Been Sci-Fi | Literary Hub
"As Afrofuturism has begun to migrate back to the motherland in earnest, the same relative dearth continues to plague theorists and writers. Even Mark Bould, whose introduction to Paradoxa’s issue on African science fiction offers a comprehensive if nebulous syllabus, implies that it is nascent: “If African sf has not arrived, it is certainly approaching fast.” The appearance of a deluge—a trend, a fad—is in effect a trickle. Is this just what happens when you cross blackness with futurity? As Dery asks of African Americans, “Can a community whose past has been deliberately rubbed out, and whose energies have subsequently been consumed by the search for legible traces of its history, imagine possible futures?” Or is this lack specific to African literature, where energies might seem to be better directed toward, say, political critique of corruption, poverty, disease, and unemployment?

Nnedi Okorafor, born in the United States to Nigerian immigrants, both bridges this breach and fills it. She appears on lists of black sci-fi on either side of the Atlantic. And while she says that she has “issues with [the label] Afrofuturism,” she is one of the most prolific black writers of speculative fiction out there, and has set several of her fantasy and science fiction novels on the continent. Okorafor, in other words, is Afropolitan and African American: she insists that her “flavor of sci-fi is evenly Naijamerican (note: ‘Naija’ is slang for Nigeria or Nigerian).” Yet in an essay on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website, Okorafor herself bemoans the scant canon:
Here’s my list of “African SF.” It’s really short … How do I define African SF? I don’t. I know it when I see it … The main fact is that this list DOES exist. Africans ARE writing their own science fiction, contrary to what some may think. But the fact is that Africans need to also write more of it.

When building a canon, the question of inclusion becomes paramount. If the African v. African American debate seems unduly academic or divisive, just imagine when the question of race comes in: what does it mean, as Okorafor notes, that the first major African science fiction film, District 9, was directed by a white South African? In another essay, “Is Africa Ready for Science Fiction?,” Okorafor cites two experts—a Nollywood director and a scholar of African fiction—who both essentially say no. Though she is more optimistic on the question, Okorafor explains: “In Africa, science fiction is still perceived as not being real literature. It is not serious writing.… African audiences don’t feel that science fiction is really concerned with what’s real, what’s present. It’s not tangible.”

But to take the intangible, the unreal, the absent and make of them a world is precisely the mandate of science fiction. In his remarkable ur-Afrofuturist film Space is the Place (1974), Sun Ra, adorned in Egyptian regalia, travels to Oakland, CA to recruit black folk to colonize the planet Saturn. Like some kind of intergalactic Marcus Garvey, he wants to “set up a colony for black people … bring them here through transmolecularization … or teleport the whole planet here … through music.” He tells dissipated hipsters at the local youth center: “I’m not real. I’m just like you. You don’t exist in this society. If you did, your people wouldn’t be seeking equal rights. You’re not real. If you were, you’d have some status among the nations of the world. So we’re both myths. I do not come to you as a reality. I come to you as the myth. Because that’s what black people are, myths.” Afrofuturism’s insight is to elide the African diaspora with outer space as loci of blackness, roiling vats of inky, rich, infinite potential. The etymology of utopia, after all, is ou + topos, or not + place. Introducing himself to a wino, Sun Ra cryptically declaims: “I am everything and nothing.”"
nnediokorafor  afrofuturism  scifi  sciencefiction  africa  2016  afropolitan  dieantwoord  southafrica  sunra  samueldelany  lagos  markdery  nigeria  district9  speculativefiction 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Generation Anthropocene: How humans have altered the planet for ever | Books | The Guardian
"We are living in the Anthropocene age, in which human influence on the planet is so profound – and terrifying – it will leave its legacy for millennia. Politicians and scientists have had their say, but how are writers and artists responding to this crisis?"



"Warren’s exhibit makes Bateley’s crackly recording available, and her accompanying text unfolds the complexities of its sonic strata. It is, as Warren puts it, “a soundtrack of the sacred voices of extinct birds echoing in that of a dead man echoing out of a machine echoing through the world today”. The intellectual elegance of her work – and its exemplary quality as an Anthropocene-aware artefact – lies in its subtle tracing of the technological and imperial histories involved in a single extinction event and its residue."



"Perhaps the greatest challenge posed to our imagination by the Anthropocene is its inhuman organisation as an event. If the Anthropocene can be said to “take place”, it does so across huge scales of space and vast spans of time, from nanometers to planets, and from picoseconds to aeons. It involves millions of different teleconnected agents, from methane molecules to rare earth metals to magnetic fields to smartphones to mosquitoes. Its energies are interactive, its properties emergent and its structures withdrawn.

In 2010 Timothy Morton adopted the term hyperobject to denote some of the characteristic entities of the Anthropocene. Hyperobjects are “so massively distributed in time, space and dimensionality” that they defy our perception, let alone our comprehension. Among the examples Morton gives of hyperobjects are climate change, mass species extinction and radioactive plutonium. “In one sense [hyperobjects] are abstractions,” he notes, “in another they are ferociously, catastrophically real.”

Creative non-fiction, and especially reportage, has adapted most quickly to this “distributed” aspect of the Anthropocene. Episodic in assembly and dispersed in geography, some outstanding recent non-fiction has proved able to map intricate patterns of environmental cause and effect, and in this way draw hyperobjects into at least partial visibility. Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014) and her Field Notes from a Catastrophe (2006) are landmarks here, as is Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate (2014). In 2015 Gaia Vince published Adventures in the Anthropocene, perhaps the best book so far to trace the epoch’s impacts on the world’s poor, and the slow violence that climate change metes out to them.

Last year also saw the publication of The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, by the American anthropologist Anna Tsing. Tsing takes as her subject one of the “strangest commodity chains of our times”: that of the matsutake, supposedly the most valuable fungus in the world, which grows best in “human-disturbed forests”. Written in what she calls “a riot of short chapters, like the flushes of mushrooms that come up after rain”, Tsing’s book describes a contemporary “nature” that is hybrid and multiply interbound. Her ecosystems stretch from wood-wide webs of mycelia, through earthworms and pine roots, to logging trucks and hedge funds – as well as down into the flora of our own multispecies guts. Tsing’s account of nature thus overcomes what Jacques Rancière has called the “partition of the sensible”, by which he means the traditional division of matter into “life” and “not-life”. Like Skelton in his recent Beyond the Fell Wall (2015), and the poet Sean Borodale, Tsing is interested in a vibrant materialism that acknowledges the agency of stones, ores and atmospheres, as well as humans and other organisms.

Tsing is also concerned with the possibility of what she calls “collaborative survival” in the Anthropocene-to-come. As Evans Calder Williams notes, the Anthropocene imagination “crawls with narratives of survival”, in which varying conditions of resource scarcity exist, and varying kinds of salvage are practised. Our contemporary appetite for environmental breakdown is colossal, tending to grotesque: from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) – now almost an Anthropocene ur-text – through films such as The Survivalist and the Mad Max franchise, to The Walking Dead and the Fallout video game series.

The worst of this collapse culture is artistically crude and politically crass. The best is vigilant and provocative: Simon Ings’ Wolves (2014), for instance, James Bradley’s strange and gripping Clade (2015), or Paul Kingsnorth’s The Wake (2014), a post-apocalyptic novel set in the “blaec”, “brok” landscape of 11th-century England, that warns us not to defer our present crisis. I think also of Clare Vaye Watkins’s glittering Gold Fame Citrus (2015), which occurs in a drought-scorched American southwest and includes a field-guide to the neo-fauna of this dunescape: the “ouroboros rattlesnake”, the “Mojave ghost crab”.

Such scarcity narratives unsettle what we might call the Holocene delusion on which growth economics is founded: of the Earth as an infinite body of matter, there for the incredible ultra-machine of capitalism to process, exploit and discard without heed of limit. Meanwhile, however, speculative novelists – Andy Weir in The Martian, Kim Stanley Robinson in Red Mars – foresee how we will overcome terrestrial shortages by turning to asteroid mining or the terra-forming of Mars. To misquote Fredric Jameson, it is easier to imagine the extraction of off-planet resources than it is to imagine the end of capitalism.

The novel is the cultural form to which the Anthropocene arguably presents most difficulties, and most opportunities. Historically, the novel has been celebrated for its ability to represent human interiority: the skull-to-skull skip of free indirect style, or the vivid flow of stream-of-consciousness. But what use are such skills when addressing the enormity of this new epoch? Any Anthropocene-aware novel finds itself haunted by impersonal structures, and intimidated by the limits of individual agency. China Miéville’s 2011 short story “Covehithe” cleverly probes and parodies these anxieties. In a near-future Suffolk, animate oil rigs haul themselves out of the sea, before drilling down into the coastal strata to lay dozens of rig eggs. These techno-zombies prove impervious to military interventions: at last, all that humans can do is become spectators, snapping photos of the rigs and watching live feeds from remote cameras as they give birth – an Anthropocene Springwatch.

Most memorable to me is Jeff VanderMeer’s 2014 novel, Annihilation. It describes an expedition into an apparently poisoned region known as Area X, in which relic human structures have been not just reclaimed but wilfully redesigned by a mutated nature. A specialist team is sent to survey the zone. They discover archive caches and topographically anomalous buildings including a “Tower” that descends into the earth rather than jutting from it. The Tower’s steps are covered in golden slime, and on its walls crawls a “rich greenlike moss” that inscribes letters and words on the masonry – before entering and authoring the bodies of the explorers themselves. It gradually becomes apparent that Area X, in all its weird wildness, is actively transforming the members of the expedition who have been sent to subdue it with science. As such, VanderMeer’s novel brilliantly reverses the hubris of the Anthropocene: instead of us leaving the world post-natural, it suggests, the world will leave us post-human.



As the idea of the Anthropocene has surged in power, so its critics have grown in number and strength. Cultural and literary studies currently abound with Anthropocene titles: most from the left, and often bitingly critical of their subject. The last 12 months have seen the publication of Jedediah Purdy’s After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene, McKenzie Wark’s provocative Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene and the environmental historian Jason W Moore’s important Capitalism in the Web of Life. Last July the “revolutionary arts and letters quarterly” Salvage launched with an issue that included Daniel Hartley’s essay “Against the Anthropocene” and Miéville, superbly, on despair and environmental justice in the new epoch.

Across these texts and others, three main objections recur: that the idea of the Anthropocene is arrogant, universalist and capitalist-technocratic. Arrogant, because the designation of the Anthropocene – the “New Age of Humans” – is our crowning act of self-mythologisation (we are the super-species, we the Prometheans, we have ended nature), and as such only embeds the narcissist delusions that have produced the current crisis.

Universalist, because the Anthropocene assumes a generalised anthropos, whereby all humans are equally implicated and all equally affected. As Purdy, Miéville and Moore point out, “we” are not all in the Anthropocene together – the poor and the dispossessed are far more in it than others. “Wealthy countries,” writes Purdy, “create a global landscape of inequality in which the wealthy find their advantages multiplied … In this neoliberal Anthropocene, free contract within a global market launders inequality through voluntariness.”

And capitalist-technocratic, because the dominant narrative of the Anthropocene has technology as its driver: recent Earth history reduced to a succession of inventions (fire, the combustion engine, the synthesis of plastic, nuclear weaponry). The monolithic concept bulk of this scientific Anthropocene can crush the subtleties out of both past and future, disregarding the roles of ideology, empire and political economy. Such a technocratic narrative will also tend to encourage technocratic solutions: geoengineering as a quick-fix for climate … [more]
environment  geology  literature  anthropocene  speculativefiction  fiction  novels  juliannelutzwarren  extinction  2016  robertmacfarlane  posthumanism  capitalism  economics  systems  systemthinking  technology  sustainability  technocracy  capitalocene  deforestation  chinamiéville  jedediahpurdy  mckenziewark  jasonmoore  danielhartley  jeffcandermeer  tomothymorton  hyperobjects  naomiklein  elizabethkolbert  gaiavince  annatsing  seanborodale  richardskelton  autumnrichardson  rorygibb  memory  holocene  earth  salvation  philiplarkin  plastic  plasticene  stratigraphy  eugenestoemer  paulcrutzen  history  apex-guilt  shadowtime  stieg  raymondwilliams  fredricjameson  glennalbrecht  johnclare  solastalgia  inequality  annalowenhaupttsing  jedediahbritton-purdy 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Three Short Futures: On Children, Data and the Internet of Things — Phase Change — Medium
"Her mother had started wearing a fitness tracker long after James was born, back when it didn’t matter. Even now, James would return back to her family home to see the familiar shape of her mother digging up the weeds in the window box, her antiquated tracker abandoned to the counter. ‘I don’t like to wear that thing when I’m gardening. Gets in the way.’ She would whistle to herself to cover the alarm that sounded from inactivity, singing against it like a bird.

As the government regulations started to phase in, James joined millions of young people who secretly cursed their parents for not being more careful with their future. All the technology had been there, many cried, so why didn’t they use it?"



"Earlier that day, a minor server dropout had caused a loss of data in maternity, with hundreds of signals lighting up the nurses station as mothers, and fathers, noticed a temporary pause. A child had started crying as its mother pulled away to prod at the controls blindly, smiling at Jack as he fled down the ward.

As usual, mothers had panicked at the potential loss of resolution, of clarity, in their child’s future, as empty/silent/dropout points were routinely questioned when it came to further down the line of a child’s life. Although often minor, to a first-time (and second-time, and third-time) parent it was potentially devastating unless you had the money to make up for it later on. Those who weren’t afforded the luxury of choice tried in vain to gain advantages where possible, cheating where they could, with stories of repurposed sibling data perpetually reaching Jack’s newsfeed. He had been told to watch out for this in his retraining, thinking to himself that sibling rivalry had never been more overanalyzed. His own brother didn’t know what he was talking about."



"‘It’s not called an Xbox anymore Mum.’ Robin ran her hand across her face, blew out all the air from her lungs and continued. Typing in Alice’s unique ID, a code hidden away in under the skin of her second-hand feline companion, Ted, to authorise. She sat for a minute before thinking about sandwiches and taking the bins out, listening to the sounds of the house. Across the hall she heard her eldest tease the youngest about the creatures that lived in the woods. ‘If you don’t have your tracker on, they’ll eat you up!’ Alice screamed.

This new change to a more data-dependant education, from primary school onwards, had been great at first. The way her school dealt with her health concerns felt helpful, vital even, but after the third or fourth probing email, Robin had started to feel uncomfortable. She didn’t enjoy receiving reports of her daughter’s meal choices, or how many times she was active during the day, and so still sat and listened in faux-surprise as Alice, and Ted, told her how good the chips had been that day.

Soon it became a matter of school performance and security, with Ofsted regularly marking down schools without a good data hygiene policy. Alongside personal and social care, data care had become compulsory, as reporting a blackout in their records became as important as reporting a school bully. Cleaning your data, telling a responsible adult about any unusual behaviour, glitches, all were analysed and fed back into school reports. A way of fighting not only absence and career ambitions, but perceived radicalisation by one too many politicians.

This particular summer would be spent at a camp that taught kids how to deal with their data better, those that didn’t quite grasp it. Her oldest son, Jo, had attended one a few years back, one of the first in fact, and through games, and hiking, and competitions, they learned how to be better and smarter at collecting their data. A journey to becoming a legible young person. Paid for and regulated by their local government authority, attendance was a matter of being a good citizen; “tomorrow’s child, today.” Character building, the email had said, “An investment in your child’s future.” She couldn’t say no, other parents vocally expressing how irresponsible it would be to opt-out, and Robin would feel guilty. She already did, for so many reasons.

Over lunch, Robin’s mother compared it to a finishing school, but instead of books on the head, it would be a perfectly legible data trail. ‘I know it’s a bit much, but she’ll thank you for it. Look how much it helped Jo.’ Her son had left that summer a wildly unpredictable, spontaneous child, but in the months that followed, became obsessed with making sure that everything was up to spec, in peak condition, and always updated. It had helped him, in some part, he was doing well in school, but he had become hardened somehow, less forgiving of error."
children  data  privacy  iot  internetofthings  2016  nataliekane  speculativefiction  education  edtech 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Speculative Ethnography | Ethnography Matters
"This month’s theme is about the relationships between ethnography and fiction. It is not necessarily something that we explored a lot here at Ethnography Matters, which is why it seemed an interesting topic for this September edition. Another reason to address this now is because of recent experimental ways of “doing ethnography” (e.g. the work by Ellis & Bochner or Denzin), as well as curious interdisciplinary work at the cross-roads of design, science-fiction and ethnography (e.g. design fiction)."

[Includes:
September 2013: Ethnography, Speculative Fiction and Design"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/09/17/september-2013-ethnography-speculative-fiction-and-design/
"This month’s theme is about the relationships between ethnography and fiction. It is not necessarily something that we explored a lot here at Ethnography Matters, which is why it seemed an interesting topic for this September edition. Another reason to address this now is because of recent experimental ways of “doing ethnography” (e.g. the work by Ellis & Bochner or Denzin), as well as curious interdisciplinary work at the cross-roads of design, science-fiction and ethnography (e.g. design fiction).

Of course, in Anthropology, the border between ethnography and fiction has always been very thin. Consider how ethnographers have written fictional novels or made speculative films, more or less based on field research. Also think about “docufictions” by Jean Rouch, a blend of documentary and fictional film in the area of visual anthropology. There are lots of reasons for using fictional methods, but there’s a general interest in going beyond scientific format/language by making ethnographic accounts more “engaging, palatable, and effective“."

"What Would Wallace Write? (if he were an ethnographer)"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/09/29/what-would-wallace-write-if-he-were-an-ethnographer/

"Ethnography and Speculative Fiction"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/09/27/ethnography-and-speculative-fiction/

"Ethnographies from the Future: What can ethnographers learn from science fiction and speculative design?"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/09/26/ethnographies-from-the-future-what-can-ethnographers-learn-from-science-fiction-and-speculative-design/

"Towards Fantastic Ethnography and Speculative Design"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/09/17/towards-fantastic-ethnography-and-speculative-design/ ]
ethnography  speculativeethnography  2013  annegalloway  lauraforlano  clareanzoleaga  jan-hendrikpassoth  nicholasrowland  nicolasnova  speculativedesign  speculativefiction  fiction  ethnographicfiction  anthropology  visualanthropology  documentary  fantasy  docufictions 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Digital Manifesto Archive: Design Fiction's Odd Present vs. Science Fiction's Near Future
"Julian Bleecker's "Design Fiction's Odd Present vs. Science Fiction's Near Future" proposes that Design Fiction supplant typical Science-Fiction narratives with diegetic prototypes--actual objects that test an idea."



"If there is anything to be gained from these Design Fiction practice it is the playful optimism that comes from "making things up." Making things up is playful and serious at the same time. It's playful in that one can speculate and imagine without the "yeah, but," constraints that often come from the dour sensitivities of the way-too-grown-up pragmatists. It's serious because the ideas that are "made up" as little design fictions - formed into props or little films or speculative objects - are materialized things that hold within them the story of the world they inhabit. There is the kernel of a near future, or a different now, or an un-history that begins the mind reeling at the possibilities of what could be. When an idea is struck into form we have learned to accent that as proof - a demonstration that this could be possible. The translation from an idea into its material form begins the proof of possibility. Props help. Things to think with and things to help us imagine what could be.

This is how the world around us is made, by people who imagine what could be and then go forth and make it material. Wheels did not suddenly appear on luggage, but they are and its hard to imagine that it didn't happen sooner.

Playfully, seriously making things up is how the world around us comes to be. Don't sit around and wait. Make up the world you want. Believe it. Tell its story. Inhabit it and it will become.

Design Fiction strides alongside of Science Fiction, obligating itself to fashion representation of what could be - whether that's a different present, a reassessment of the recent past, or a future likely to be obtained, it may be a reaction to a sense that Science Fiction has given up on the future, or ceded its remit to imagine the future. Perhaps Science Fiction has shifted to envisioning the differently present or the recently past. Ridley Scott recently said, "We have done all we can for Science-Fiction. After 2001 A Space Odyssey, Science-Fiction is dead."

Design Fiction mucks around in this odd present in which we live. Every year the future is held aloft in the hand at widely publicized consumer electronics trade shows. The press eats it up. It's the new science fiction. This is how we imagine the future. Through 100 million dollar trade shows. Through the trade's hand-held technologies and their odd mash-ups of telephone fitness devices brain wave TV remote controls. (No wonder the science-fiction literary has thrown in the towel. They'd do better as consulting engineers. What a great idea.) Our future is shown to use as made things - prototypes, or evocative objects that suggest, MacGuffin like, what they do. Objects that take batteries and have screens that goad us to massage them. Objects that cycle every 12-18 months and thence end up in a discard drawer or in a closet under last year's crap. Or on the Internet's close, Craigslist.

Design Fiction's commitment is to create a legible, tangible, material representation of alternatives. it uses designed objects - props, prototypes, fakes, punks, speculative consumer electronic objects, evocative ingots of color, material and precision manufacturing, prompts, provocations, little films, atmospheres and visual moments - to start conversations about the future. Design Fiction embraces the cycles of obsolescence, that banal next-new-thing - but it does so in order to find chinks in the iron-clad cycle and find innovative alternatives to the mediocre experiences they inevitable deliver.

The emphasis of Design Fiction is on alternative world as represented through the things. These props are called diegetic prototypes." They are objects that test an idea. The fact that they exist as material objects imply their existence in the same way an objects existence in a movie or play makes the object come to life. In some cases, those props spread ideas more effectively than could a laboratory prototype. Diegetic prototypes serve to tell a story about an object and start conversations, sometimes even before technical possibility has been considered. Diegetic prototypes implicate themselves as things that people would live with, rather than operating solely as technological, scientific or engineering possibility. They are designed, evocative, desirable, ineffable and imbued with a sense of imminent possibility, even necessity. They come across as things that actually make sense.

Design Fiction creates these things because they can help tell the stories about the worlds they occupy, without the stories being told in a typical narrative - and because telling good stories is hard. Making suggestive, evocative, compelling, curious objects is a designer's way of telling stories about worlds that could or should become."
manifestos  designfiction  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  design  sciencefiction  scifi  julianbleecker  optimism  making  play  playfulness  prototyping  tinkering  criticalmaking 
february 2016 by robertogreco
INVISIBLE UNIVERSE – a history of blackness in speculative fiction
"In 2003, independent filmmaker, M. Asli Dukan, set out to make a documentary about the 150 year history of Black creators in speculative fiction (SF) books and movies. What she didn’t realize at the time was that she was about to document a major movement in the history of speculative fiction. A movement where a growing number of Black creators were becoming an effective force, creating works that had increasing influence on the traditionally, straight, white, cis-male dominated SF industry. However, while these Black creators imagined better futures for Black people within their fictional works of SF, in reality, the everyday, lived experiences of Black people in the United States – e.g., the rise of massive inequality, the prison industrial complex, and police brutality – stood in stark contrast. She began to wonder if these phenomena were related.

Told through the ever-present lens and off-screen narrator voice of the filmmaker, Invisible Universe will explore this question by examining the work of Black creators of SF through the ideology of the emerging Black Lives Matter movement, which addresses the systematic oppression of Black lives. Since she began the documentary, the filmmaker has compiled an extensive interviewee list of Black writers, artists and filmmakers of SF who have been creating works where Black people not only exist in the future, but are powerful shapers of their own realities, whether in magical lands, dystopian settings, or on distant worlds. In addition, she has documented an ever-increasing number of academic, community and arts events dedicated to the work and critical analysis of Black SF, as well as building connections between the creators, thinkers, organizers and fans. In the past decade, the filmmaker has documented the cultural shift around Black SF and its explicit connections to Black liberation. This documentary explores the idea that in a world of capitalist exploitation, anti-Black oppression and state violence, Black creators are speculating better worlds as a means of resistance and survival.

The documentary will also consider how “Black Speculation” is rooted in the history of “Black Struggle” in the United States by exploring two previous eras of Black creators speculating about Black lives through the genres of SF. The first era occurred during the nadir of African American history in late 19th and early 20th centuries, when slavery, war, lynchings, race riots, disfranchisement and segregation inspired Black writers to pen narratives about international slave rebellions, secret, Black governments and powerful, long lost, African kingdoms. The second era occurred during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, when the work of Black writers of SF seemed to extrapolate on the possible futures that would occur as a result of the successes or failures of the Civil Rights or Black Power struggles. This documentary will explore how this current moment, which the filmmaker considers the third era of Black Speculation, compares and contrasts with the earlier two eras.

This timely documentary includes rare interviews with Black writers of SF like Samuel R. Delany, the late Octavia E. Butler, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson and Nnedi Okorafor, actors like Nichelle Nichols and Wesley Snipes, cultural organizers like Rasheedah Phillips and the AfroFuturist Affair, academics/artists like John Jennings and Nettrice Gaskins, social justice workers/artists like adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha, as well as numerous other filmmakers, artists, academics, archivists, and fans. This one-of-a-kind project is essentially an archive of a “Who’s Who” of Black speculative fiction."
blackness  speculativefiction  sciencefiction  scifi  invisibleuniverse  film  documentary  maslidukan  octaviabutler  stevenbarnes  tananarivedue  nalohopkinson  nnediokorafor  nichellenichols  wesleysnipes  rasheedahphillip  afrofuturism  afrofuturistaffair  adrienne  mareebrown  walidahimarisha  johnjennings  nettricegaskins  history 
january 2016 by robertogreco
New wave of African sci-fi will inspire innovation - SciDev.Net
"• Science fiction allows people to see how science and society interact
• Films and novels already explore pressing problems such as water scarcity
• African sci-fi could help catalyse new models of sustainable growth"

[via: "Leery of European attempts to annex afrofuturism to design, but @afrocyberpunk good here on sf & African innovation: http://www.scidev.net/global/innovation/opinion/wave-african-sci-fi-inspire-innovation.html …"
https://twitter.com/justinpickard/status/682820661622865922 ]
sciencefiction  scifi  innovation  africa  2015  speculativefiction  jonathandotse 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Holo Halo
"Augment Your Emotion

HoloHalo is a holographic communication device that learns and adapts to you. Autonomously project colors and patterns that sync with your mood."

"A speculative science fiction project."
senongoakpem  2015  speculativefiction  webdev  webdesign 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Creating Fictional Data Services and Their Implications — Design Fictions — Medium
"When conceptualizing a service or product based on data, I first transform visions into a tangible visualization, or prototype that anyone in a multi-disciplinary team can feel and understand. Additionally, I generally create Design Fictions that explore possible appropriations of the envisioned data service along its life. Taken together, prototypes and fictions present tangible concepts that help anticipate opportunities and challenges for engineering and user experience before a project gets even founded. These concepts give a clearer direction on what you are planning to build. They are a powerful material to explain the new data service to others and they act as a North Star for a whole team has a shared vision on what they might to want build.

Taken together, prototypes and fictions present tangible concepts that help anticipate opportunities and challenges for engineering and user experience before a project gets even founded.

This is the approach I aimed to communicate last week in a 5-days workshop at HEAD design school in Geneva to an heterogeneous group of students coming from graphic design, engineering, business or art backgrounds.

Part 1: Sketching with Data



Through the manipulation of a real dataset participants apprehended its multiple dimensions: spatial, temporal, quantitative, qualitative, their objectivity, subjectivity, granularity, etc.

Part 2: Creating implications



Writing a fictional press release forces to use precise words to describe a thing and its ecosystem. Quite naturally it leads to listing Frequently Asked Questions with the banal yet key elements that define what the data service is good for.

Take Aways

Data visualizations, prototypes and design fiction are ‘tools’ to experiment with data and project concepts into potential futures. They help uncover the unknown unknowns, the hidden opportunities and unexpected challenges.

Data visualizations help extract insights, and prototypes force to consider the practical uses of those insights. Design fictions put prototypes and visualization in the context of the everyday life. They help form a concept and evaluate its implications. The approach works well for abstract concepts because it forces you to work backward and explore the artifacts or the byproducts linked to your vision (e.g. a user manual, an advertisement, a press release, a negative customer review …). It encourages a global thinking with the ecosystem affected by the presence of a data service: What do people do with it over time? Where are the technical, social, legal boundaries? Some answers to those questions give a clearer direction on the data product or service you are planning to build."
fabiengirardin  speculativefiction  designfiction  data  fictionaldataservices  2015  prototyping  dataviz  datavizualiation  visualization  systemsthinking  ecosystems 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Design Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa: Post-Western Perspectives
"Design Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa: Post-Western Perspectives is a forum for pioneering technologists, curators and scholars from Accra, Nairobi, Cape Town, London and New York to discuss developments in digital design – robotics, gaming and computer imaging - on the African continent.

We tend to think about our world’s future as being discovered in the high-tech laboratories of American scientific research institutes, or debated in elite business and political forums held in the Alps - but less often in the West, do we think about our future as being designed by local tech communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In what is being called a transformative Digital Revolution, the African continent now hosts one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the world (the East African ‘Silicon Savannah’), a Pan-African robotics network (AFRON), burgeoning space programmes and a proliferation of digital innovation hubs.

The symposium analyses two major forces shaping the 21st century – innovations in digital technology and the ‘rise of Africa’ – through the lens of material culture and its interpretation. It also marks the official launch of an international network ‘Design Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa’ lead by Cher Potter, developed through a core partnership between London College of Fashion and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Some of the questions that will be examined are:

• What challenges and opportunities do a ‘digital revolution’ combined with unprecedented city and population growth on the African continent present for designers today?

• How is the combination of computer coding and digital fabrication resulting in new typologies of design in Sub-Saharan Africa?

• What composite communities are organising themselves around these new digital models?

• Are gaming environments based on local history and folklore heralding a wider move from European/US-centric worldviews to local ones?

• How might technology open up new ways for reading and categorising objects, both ancient and contemporary?

• How might we describe and test the term ‘postwestern’ in the context of design and curating?

Speakers:

Cher Potter
Cher Potter is V&A/LCF Senior Research Fellow. Her research interests include contemporary design on the African continent, and ‘post western’ models of curating and research. Prior to joining the V&A, she curated the 2013 European Impakt Arts Festival which explored ‘post western’ futures; and lead global cultural research at WGSN, the world’s largest design and fashion trends bureau, coordinating research into design tendencies across 22 countries including 8 African capitals. She was recognized as one of twelve ‘Future Visionaries’ by the 2013 Wellcome Trust Visioneers series.

Jonathan Ledgard
Jonathan Ledgard is Director of the Afrotech Initiative at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology, Lausanne, established to help pioneer advanced technologies in Africa. He is a leading thinker on risk, nature, and technology in near future Africa and spent the last decade as the Africa correspondent for The Economist, reporting extensively on Africa's mobile phone revolution. A founder of The Economist's Baobab blog, covering politics, economics and culture on the continent of Africa, he continues to contribute to the paper as well as to The New Yorker and other journals.

Ayorkor Korsah
Dr Ayorkor Korsah is Head of the Computer Science Department at Ashesi University College and Co-founder of the African Robotics Network, a community of institutions, organisations and individuals engaged in robotics in Africa. She is also a member of the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute and a TED Global Fellow. Her research interests include design at the intersection of algorithm design, artificial intelligence, and robotics; educating technologists for development in Africa; exploring the potential for participatory design in Africa; information, computing, and communications as keys to sustainable global development.

Kristina Van Dyke
Kristina Van Dyke is an independent scholar and curator. She was Director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis from 2011 to 2015 and Curator for Collections and Research at the Menil Collection in Houston from 2005 to 2011. She curated the exhibition ‘Kota: Digital Excavations in African Art’ currently on display at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, which examines nearly 50 Kota guardian figures using a new digital database created by Belgian computer engineer Frederic Cloth to study and reveal the hidden histories of Kota reliquaries.

Wesley Kirinya
Wesley Kirinya is one of the first games developers in Africa and founder of Leti Arts gaming studio in Nairobi and Accra. As such, he operates within one of the world’s fastest growing tech and design hubs, the East African ‘Silicon Savanah’. He is pioneering the use of local African history in digital gaming environments, and developing a toolbox of African superheroes based on characters from African mythology – heralding a potentially wider move from European/US-centric worldviews to local ones.

Paula Callus
Paula Callus is a Senior Lecturer in Computer Animation at Bournemouth University and is completing her PhD at SOAS on Digital Animation in Sub-Saharan Africa. As an advocate for the role of Sub-Saharan animators within the broader history of ‘moving’ image, she has delivered papers on ‘Reading Animation through the eyes of anthropology’ at the Animation Studies Symposium 2010; ‘Locating Sub-Saharan African Animation within the ‘moving’ image’ at the Film and Television Screen Studies Conference 2013; and curated the Africa in Motion animation programme in Edinburgh.

Mugendi M’Rithaa
Mugendi M’Rithaa is Professor of Industrial Design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the President of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) - the world organisation for Industrial Design. His research interests include Participatory Design which incorporates the needs of end-users/clients; Universal/Inclusive Design; Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability; and design's potential in promoting equity and quality of life in Africa and beyond. He has coordinated workshops on ‘Designing a Prosperous Nation’ (Gaborone, 2004), and ‘Designing for New Realities’ (Helsinki, 2012).

Elvira Ose
Elvira Ose is Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, and curator of the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2015. She was Curator International Art at Tate Modern (2011 – 2014). At Tate, she took a leading role in developing Tate’s holdings of art from Africa and its Diaspora and working closely with the Africa Acquisitions Committee. She was responsible for Across the Board (2012–2014), a two-year interdisciplinary project that took place in London, Accra, Douala and Lagos. She recently co-curated Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist (2013).

Chairs:

David Pratten
Dr David Pratten is a Professor at the University of Oxford, specialising in the Social Anthropology of Africa. He was Director of the African Studies Centre from 2009-2013, one of the world’s leading centres for African Studies. His research interests include West African issues of youth, democracy and disorder; contemporary models of sociality, and colonial history. He is Co-Editor of ‘AFRICA: Journal of the International African Institute’ Cambridge University Press, which is the premier journal devoted to the study of African societies and culture.

Bill Sherman
Professor Bill Sherman is Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of York. He has published widely on the history of books and readers, the interface of word and image, and the relationship between knowledge and power. At the V&A, he is leading the development of the V&A Research Institute (VARI), which is testing new models for collaborative research that draws on history, theory and practice, and new ways of using collections to bring together the museum, the university and the creative industries.

Jane Harris
Dr Jane Harris is Associate Dean of Research at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London and Professor of Digital Design and Innovation. An advocate for the role that creative and transdisciplinary research in HE can play in the development and advance of design, science and industry, her own practice navigates physical material and technology interfaces. A recipient of the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts Fellowship (NESTA) her pioneering CGI work has been internationally exhibited and publications include the co-authored book Digital Visions for Fashion+Textiles: Made In Code. "
designfuturism  speculativedesign  adrica  via:anne  designfiction  africa  2015  cherpotter  jonathanledgard  ayorkorkorash  kristinavandyke  wesleykirinya  paulacallus  mugendim'rithaa  elviraose  davidpratten  billsherman  janeharris  future  speculativefiction  design  robotics  gaming  comuterimaging  digital 
november 2015 by robertogreco
SF: Science Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far - Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology
"The British social anthropologist Marilyn Strathern, who wrote The Gender of the Gift based on her ethnographic work in highland Papua New Guinea (Mt. Hagen), taught me that “It matters what ideas we use to think other ideas (with)” (Reproducing the Future 10). Marilyn embodies for me the practice of feminist speculative fabulation in the scholarly mode. It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories. Marilyn wrote about accepting the risk of relentless contingency; she thinks about anthropology as the knowledge practice that studies relations with relations, that puts relations at risk with other relations, from unexpected other worlds. In 1933 Alfred North Whitehead, the American mathematician and process philosopher who infuses my sense of worlding, wrote The Adventures of Ideas. SF is precisely full of such adventures. Isabelle Stengers, a chemist, scholar of Whitehead, and a seriously quirky Belgian feminist philosopher, gives me “speculative thinking” in spades. Isabelle insists we cannot denounce the world in the name of an ideal world. In the spirit of feminist communitarian anarchism and the idiom of Whitehead’s philosophy, she maintains that decisions must take place somehow in the presence of those who will bear their consequences.[2] In this same virtual sibling set, Marleen Barr morphed Heinlein’s speculative fiction into feminist fabulation for me. In relay and return, SF morphs in my writing and research into speculative fabulation and string figures. Relays, cat’s cradle, passing patterns back and forth, giving and receiving, patterning, holding the unasked-for pattern in one’s hands, response-ability, Octavia Butler’s Patternmaster series. My debts mount. Again and again, SF has given me the ideas, the stories, and the shapes with which I think ideas, shapes, and stories in feminist theory and science studies. There is no way I can name all of my debts to SF’s critters and worlds, human and not, and so I will record only a few and hope for a credit extension for years yet to come. I will enter these debts in a short ledger of my teaching and publishing. I start with Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, a typescript of my curriculum vitae that was part of a file for consideration for promotion in the History of Science Department at Johns Hopkins in 1979-80, and a bottle of chalky white out. I had written an essay review of Woman on the Edge of Time for the activist publication, Women, a Journal of Liberation and duly recorded this little publication on the CV. “The past is the contested zone”—the past that is our thick, not-yet-fixed, present, wherewhen what is yet-to-come is now at stake—is the meme that drew me into Piercy’s story, and I was proud of the review. A senior colleague in History of Science, a supporter of my promotion, came to me with a too-friendly smile and that betraying bottle of white-out, asking me to blot out this publication from the scholarly record, “for my own good.”[3] He also wanted me to expunge “Signs of Dominance,” a long, research-dense essay about the semiotics and sociograms developed in mid-20th-century primate field studies of monkeys and apes.[4] To my shame to this day, I obeyed; to my relief to this day, no one was fooled. Piercy’s temporalities and my growing sense of the SF-structure of primate field work made me write two essays for the brave, new, hyper-footnoted, University of Chicago feminist theory publication, Signs, and to title the essays in recognition of Piercy’s priority and patterned relay to me.[5] I could not forget—or disavow—Piercy’s research for Woman on the Edge of Time, which led her to psychiatrist José Delgado’s Rockland State Hospital experiments with remote-controlled telemetric implants, and my finding in my own archival research Delgado’s National Institutes of Mental Health-funded work applied to gibbon studies in the ape colony on Hall’s Island. The colonial and imperial roots & routes of SF are relentlessly real and inescapably fabulated. Later, living (non-optionally, in really real SF histories) with and as cyborgs, Piercy and I played cat’s cradle again, this time with my “Cyborg Manifesto” and then her He, She, and It. Cyborgs were never just about the interdigitations of humans and information machines; cyborgs were from the get-go the materialization of imploded (not hybridized) human beings-information machines-multispecies organisms. Cyborgs were always simultaneously relentlessly real and inescapably fabulated. Like all good SF, they redid what counts as—what is—real. The obligatory multispecies story-telling script was written in 1960 United States space research, when Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline coined the word “cyborg” in an article about their implanted rats and the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space."
speculativefiction  scifi  sciencefiction  donnaharaway  toread  speculativefabrication  isabellestrengers  alfrednorthwhitehead  knowledge  ideas  philosophy  anarchism  marilynstrathern  octaviabutler  manfredclynes  nathankline  cyborgs  joannaruss  samueldelany  evahayward  katieking  gregorybateson  historyofconsciousness  hiscon  herscam  jamestiptree  suzettehadenelgin  linguists  linguistics  johnvarley  fredjameson  suzymckeecharnass  ursulaleguin  worlding  cat'scradle  anthropology  ethnography  gwynethjones  heidegger  kant  multispecies  sheritepper  laurenoyaolamina  helenmerrick  margaretgrebowicz  dogs  animals  marleenbarr  marilynhacker  sarahlefanu  pamelasargent  viviansobchack  margaretatwood  vondamcintyre  ericrabkin  laurachernaik  sherrylvint  joshualebare  istvancsicsery-ronay  shulamithfirestone  judithmerril  franbartkowsky  2013 
october 2015 by robertogreco
It’s Not Climate Change — It’s Everything Change — Matter — Medium
"Two writers have recently contributed some theorizing about overall social and energy systems and the way they function that may be helpful to us in our slowly unfolding crisis. One is from art historian and energetic social thinker Barry Lord; it’s called Art and Energy (AAM Press). Briefly, Lord’s thesis is that the kind of art a society makes and values is joined at the hip with the kind of energy that society depends on to keep itself going. He traces the various forms of energy we have known as a species throughout our pre-history — our millennia spent in the Pleistocene — and in our recorded history — sexual energy, without which societies can’t continue; the energy of the body while hunting and foraging; wood for fire; slaves; wind and water; coal; oil; and “renewables” — and makes some cogent observations about their relationship to art and culture. In his Prologue, he says:
Everyone knows that all life requires energy. But we rarely consider how dependent art and culture are on the energy that is needed to produce, practice and sustain them. What we fail to see are the usually invisible sources of energy that make our art and culture(s) possible and bring with them fundamental values that we are all constrained to live with (whether we approve of them or not). Coal brought one set of values to all industrialized countries; oil brought a very different set… I may not approve of the culture of consumption that comes with oil… but I must use [it] if I want to do anything at all.

Those living within an energy system, says Lord, may disapprove of certain features, but they can’t question the system itself. Within the culture of slavery, which lasted at least 5,000 years, nobody wanted to be a slave, but nobody said slavery should be abolished, because what else could keep things going?

Coal, says Lord, produced a culture of production: think about those giant steel mills. Oil and gas, once they were up and running, fostered a culture of consumption. Lord cites “the widespread belief of the 1950s and early ’60s in the possibility of continuing indefinitely with unlimited abundance and economic growth, contrasted with the widespread agreement today that both that assumption and the world it predicts are unsustainable.” We’re in a transition phase, he says: the next culture will be a culture of “stewardship,” the energy driving it will be renewables, and the art it produces will be quite different from the art favored by production and consumption cultures.

What are the implications for the way we view both ourselves and the way we live? In brief: in the coal energy culture — a culture of workers and production — you are your job. “I am what I make.” In an oil and gas energy culture — a culture of consumption — you are your possessions. “I am what I buy.” But in a renewable energy culture, you are what you conserve. “I am what I save and protect.” We aren’t used to thinking like this, because we can’t see where the money will come from. But in a culture of renewables, money will not be the only measure of wealth. Well-being will factor as an economic positive, too.

The second book I’ll mention is by anthropologist, classical scholar, and social thinker Ian Morris, whose book, Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve, has just appeared from Princeton University Press. Like Barry Lord, Morris is interested in the link between energy-capture systems and the cultural values associated with them, though in his case it’s the moral values, not only the aesthetic ones — supposing these can be separated — that concern him. Roughly, his argument runs that each form of energy capture favors values that maximize the chance of survival for those using both that energy system and that package of moral values. Hunter-gatherers show more social egalitarianism, wealth-sharing, and more gender equality than do farmer societies, which subordinate women — men are favored, as they must do the upper-body-strength heavy lifting — tend to practice some form of slavery, and support social hierarchies, with peasants at the low end and kings, religious leaders, and army commanders at the high end. Fossil fuel societies start leveling out gender inequalities — you don’t need upper body strength to operate keyboards or push machine buttons — and also social distinctions, though they retain differences in wealth.

The second part of his argument is more pertinent to our subject, for he postulates that each form of energy capture must hit a “hard ceiling,” past which expansion is impossible; people must either die out or convert to a new system and a new set of values, often after a “great collapse” that has involved the same five factors: uncontrolled migration, state failure, food shortages, epidemic disease, and “always in the mix, though contributing in unpredictable ways–- climate change.” Thus, for hunting societies, their way of life is over once there are no longer enough large animals to sustain their numbers. For farmers, arable land is a limiting factor. The five factors of doom combine and augment one another, and people in those periods have a thoroughly miserable time of it, until new societies arise that utilize some not yet exhausted form of energy capture.

And for those who use fossil fuels as their main energy source — that would be us, now — is there also a hard ceiling? Morris says there is. We can’t keep pouring carbon into the air — nearly 40 billion tons of CO2 in 2013 alone — without the consequences being somewhere between “terrible and catastrophic.” Past collapses have been grim, he says, but the possibilities for the next big collapse are much grimmer.

We are all joined together globally in ways we have never been joined before, so if we fail, we all fail together: we have “just one chance to get it right.” This is not the way we will inevitably go, says he, though it is the way we will inevitably go unless we choose to invent and follow some less hazardous road.

But even if we sidestep the big collapse and keep on expanding at our present rate, we will become so numerous and ubiquitous and densely packed that we will transform both ourselves and our planet in ways we can’t begin to imagine. “The 21st century, he says, “shows signs of producing shifts in energy capture and social organization that dwarf anything seen since the evolution of modern humans.”"
climate  climatechange  culture  art  society  margaretatwood  2015  cli-fi  sciefi  speculativefiction  designfiction  capitalism  consumerism  consumption  energy  fossilfuels  canon  barrylord  coal  anthropology  change  changemaking  adaptation  resilience  ianmorris  future  history  industrialization  egalitarianism  collapse  humans  biodiversity  agriculture  emissions  environment  sustainability  stewardship  renewableenergy  making  production  makers  materialism  evolution  values  gender  inequality  migration  food  transitions  hunter-gatherers 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Tomorrow Today: Design, Fiction and Social Responsibility | DisegnoDaily
"Here they seemed to allude to criticisms of critical design – or the acronym SCD (speculative critical design) by which it has also become widely known – in the sixteen years since the term first appeared in Dunne’s 1999 book Hertzian Tales. If at its best, critical design is held to spark public debate about the ramifications of science, technology and policy, the field has also been lambasted for its limited reach and efficacy. John Thackara, for instance, recently mounted an attack on what he termed its “infantile science fictions” and Susan Yelavich, Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design charged it for ‘only preaching to the choir’.

At the symposium, keynote speaker, design curator Paola Antonelli – who has spent much of the past decade promoting Critical Design to a wider audience through exhibitions at MoMA in New York – diagnosed the moment in her presentation. In the evolution of movements she outlined “a tendency where pioneers are doubted; after a period of drunkenness, the boat capsizes and follows with fatigue.” Antonelli used the online exhibition she co-curated on Design and Violence as evidence of critical design’s enduring potential. The website uses both mass-produced and conceptual design artefacts to provoke discussion on issues such as the death penalty and euthanasia. Antonelli then went to on to call for the scrutiny of standards in Critical Design."



"The afternoon ended fittingly with a performance by urbanist, designer and futurist Liam Young. His vision of the future came in the form of a story told against a backdrop of dystopian, computer-rendered urban landscapes.

Such stylistic probing and cross-pollination of genres were evidence of critical design’s constant scrutiny of ever-evolving codes. These are necessary to straddle the present and the future, reality and fantasy, the ordinary and the extraordinary, the feasible and the strange, the negotiation of which, according to Dunne and Raby, is essential to critical design’s power and success. As the pair conclude their 10-year tenure at the Royal College of Art at the end of this academic year, it was clear from Tomorrow Today that the future of both critical design and otherwise rests on a knife edge."
anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  2015  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  designfiction  design  criticaldesign  future  paulgrahamraven  daisyginsberg  liamyoung  onkarkular  johnthackara  susanyelavich  paolaantonelli  catharinerossi  portiaungley  alexandradaisyginsberg  via:anne 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Critical Design Critical Futures - Critical design and the critical social sciences: or why we need to engagem multiple, speculative critical design futures in a post-political and post-utopian era
"We, anxious citizens of the affluent global North have some rather conflicted attitudes to futuring. In the broad realm of culture, "futures" have never been more popular. In the realm of politics, it is widely believed that those who engage in utopian speculations, are "out to lunch or out to kill[1].""



"Thoughtful reflections on widening inequality, class struggle, climate crisis, human-animal-machine relations, trans-humanism, the future of sexuality, surveillance and militarism can all be found in all manner of places. Consider Ronald Moore's Battlestar Galactica, the sci-fi novels of Ursula LeGuin, the Mars trilogy of Kim Stanley Robinson, films such as District 9, Gattica, Elysium or Snowpiercer, the graphic novels of Alan Moore or Hayao Miyazaki's stunning retro-futurist animations. All these currents – and many others – have used futures as a narrative backdrop to open up debate about worlds we might wish to inhabit or avoid.

In the "real world" of contemporary politics, no such breadth of discussion can be tolerated.

"Futures" once played a very significant role in Western political discourse. Western political theory: from Plato onwards can reasonably be read as an argument about optimal forms of institutional configuring.

For much of the twentieth century, different capitalisms confronted different vision of communism, socialism, anarchism, feminism, black liberation, fascism. Rich discussions equally took place as to the possible merits of blended systems: from the mixed economy and the welfare state to "market socialism", mutualism to populism, associationalism to corporatism. Since the end of the Cold War, it would be hardly controversial to observe that the range of debate about political futures that can occur in liberal democracies has dramatically narrowed.

Of course, it would be quite wrong to believe that utopianism has gone away in the contemporary United States. Pax Americana, The Rapture, or a vision of the good life spent pursuing private utopias centered around the consumption-travel-hedonism nexus celebrated by "reality TV" is all alive and well."



"Design is important for thinking about futures simply because it is one of the few remaining spaces in the academy that is completely untroubled by its devotion to futures. Prototyping, prefiguring, speculative thinking, doing things differently, failing… and then starting all over again are all core component of design education. This is perhaps why Jan Michl observed that a kind of dream of functional perfectionism [4] has haunted all matter of design practice and design manifestos in the twentieth century."



""Utopian thought is the only way of speculating concretely about a projective connection between architecture and politics. To design utopias is to enter the laboratory of politics and space, to conduct experiments in their reciprocity. This laboratory – unlike the city itself – is a place in which variables can be selectively and freely controlled. At the point of application of the concrete, utopia ceases to exist". [8]

Moreover, if we think of the utopian imaginary as disposition, as opposed to the blueprint, we might well get a little further in our speculations. Sorkin makes a plausible case for the centrality of a utopian, ecological and political architecture of the future as a kind of materialized political ecology. His intervention can also remind us that hostility to design utopianism or any discussion of embarking on "big moves" in urban planning, public housing, alternative energy provision and the like, can itself function as a kind of "anti-politics". It can merely re-enforce the status quo, ensuring that nothing of substance is ever discussed in the political arena."



"Whilst Wright never actually uses the word design to describe what he is up to in his writings, his demand for concrete programmatic thinking resonates with John Dryzek's call for a critical political science concerned with producing and evaluating discursive institutional designs.

Further points of convergence between design and the critical social sciences open up when we recognize that design is not reducible to the activities of professional designers. As thinkers from Herbert Simon, to Colin Ward have argued, if we see design as a much more generalizable human capacity to act in the world, prefigure and then materialize, the reach and potential of future orientated forms of social design for material politics can be read in much more interesting and expansive ways.

The writings of Colin Ward and Delores Hayden can be fruitfully engaged with here for the manner in which both of these critical figures have drawn productive links between design histories of vernacular architectures and the social histories of self built housing, infrastructure and leisure facilities. Both demonstrate that there is nothing particularly new about the current interest in making, hacking or sharing. There are many "hidden histories" of working men and women embarking on forms of self-management, building co-operative enterprises and networks of mutual aid. In doing so they have turned themselves into designers of their own workplaces, communities and lives [12]. Such experiments in what we might call "worker centred design" continue to resonate. Attempts by trade unionists to define new modes of ownership with socially useful production (as represented by the Lucas plan), and the recent spate of factory takeovers in Argentina, all indicate that workers can be designers[13].

All manner of interesting potential convergences between critical design, futurism and social critique can additionally be found in the many experimental forms that contemporary urban-ecological activism has given rise to. Consider experiments in urban food growing, forms of tactical or pop-up urbanism, guerrilla gardening and open streets, attempts to experiment in solidarity economies, experiments with urban retrofitting or distributed energy systems or experiments with part finished public housing (that can be customized by their residents). All these currents have the potential to draw design activism and design-oriented social movements into direct engagement with critical theory, political economy and the critical social sciences."
damianwhite  2015  design  speculativedesign  speculativefiction  designfiction  futures  future  futurism  socialsciences  colinward  deloreshayden  herbertsimon  criticaldesign  designcriticism  kimstanleyrobinson  ursulaleguin  hayaomiyazaki  achigram  ronherron  utopia  utopianism  capitalism  communism  socialism  anarchism  feminism  sociology  politics  policy  maxweber  emiledurkheim  patrickgeddes  designfuturism  anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  tonyfry  erikolinwright 
may 2015 by robertogreco
For the Walker Art Center, a Shop That Peddles Evanescence - NYTimes.com
"Visitors to the gift shop at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis will soon be able to buy something a little more esoteric, alongside their Chuck Close posters and Pantone mugs. “On Mother’s Day,” the promotion might go, “how about a new ringtone calibrated by the composer Nico Muhly, just for stressful family calls?”

Maybe Dad or Sis would enjoy an instruction manual for a technology that has yet to be invented — or, to unwind, a vacation property with a short commute, on the virtual network Second Life. Even more accessible is a series of images from the photographer Alec Soth, sent via Snapchat and meant to disappear moments later.

These items are all wares from Intangibles, a conceptual art pop-up store that the Walker, the contemporary-art and performance center, plans to unveil on Thursday. Created by Michele Tobin, the retail director of its gift shop, and Emmet Byrne, the museum’s design director, it is in equal parts a digital bazaar with pieces priced to sell, and an exhibition, of sorts, with curated original artworks.

It upends the logic of a regular shop. “The priority isn’t ‘get as much as you can for that item in the marketplace,’ ” Ms. Tobin said. “The priority becomes the artist’s intention and what we all think is right for that work.”

Sam Green, an innovative documentary filmmaker, will charge $2,500 to create a hybrid video-performance piece specific to the buyer. The ringtone compositions by Mr. Muhly, the modern classical arranger and musician, are $150 each. The Snapchat photos by Mr. Soth, the recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim fellowship, are priced low at his request — $100 for 25 of them.

In the tradition of Conceptual art, documentation of the process is part of the point. “A lot of people won’t be purchasing actual products,” Mr. Byrne said, so “we want the online representation to be just as compelling as the objects themselves.”

The Walker sees Intangibles as blurring the boundaries between art, shopping and media. It’s hardly the first such effort: Eliding commerce and art, mass and high culture, was in vogue long before the advent of Keith Haring’s Pop Shop, the SoHo store that sold clothing and other items with his work from 1986 to 2005. (It still operates online.) This month, Red Bull Studios, a gallery and performance space in Chelsea, opened the Gift Shop, its own artist-led store. But to have a museum shop peddle ideas, rather than artsy T-shirts or coveted décor, is a digital-age twist.

The experiment is also an acknowledgment that artists, especially those well versed in technology, are more comfortable in entrepreneurial roles. Where it once might have been anathema, or at least deeply uncool, for an artist to consider marketing and audience engagement — let alone inventory codes — salability and consumer savvy are now frequently embedded in original work. And not necessarily at the behest of art dealers or curators; as artists engage with potential collectors via Instagram or YouTube, they are becoming shrewd digital marketers and self-promoters. And there seems to be no shame in that.



The work of Martine Syms, a multimedia artist based in Los Angeles who explores identity, race and communication, is exhibited more often than sold; she refers to herself as “a conceptual entrepreneur” who creates “machines for ideas,” a riff on Sol LeWitt’s vision of Conceptual art. “I think of entrepreneurship as a way of creating value,” she said.

That sentiment was echoed in a more alarmist tone by the critic William Deresiewicz in a recent essay in The Atlantic titled “The Death of the Artist.” It’s no wonder, he suggests, that so many “creators” these days work in multimedia. “The point is versatility,” he wrote. “Like any good business, you try to diversify.”

For Ms. Syms, 26, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who supports herself through freelance graphic design work, multimedia is simply a language she grew up speaking, and digital tools are a source of freedom. She has worked with galleries but is happy to showcase her work online or in do-it-yourself publications. The traditional gallery system “doesn’t give you a lot of control over your work or your audience,” she said.

“Especially for myself, a woman of color, I think that a lot of times, these systems aren’t really interested in what I’m doing or what I’m saying,” Ms. Syms added. “A lot of times, I would rather create my own world.”

For Intangibles, Ms. Syms will perform in the guise of her fictional one-woman band, Maya Angelou, on the voice mail of her buying public; the piece will be accompanied by an online blurb about the so-called band, which has yet to record a note. Ms. Syms said she didn’t want to deal directly with her customers — “I feel I’m already bad enough on the phone” — and that she likes the evanescence of voice mail, which is often automatically deleted after a certain period. (In “Surround Audience,” the current New Museum Triennial, she also has a room-size installation dealing with the shifting norms of sitcoms.)

That many of the items for sale in Intangibles are interactions rather than objects does not surprise Christine Kuan, chief curator for Artsy, the online art platform. With the growing commercialization of the art world and daily life ever more tethered to devices, “people want life experiences and memories that aren’t mass-produced for consumption, that are special and created by an artist,” she said. “It’s a kind of consumerism that is a little bit of anti-consumerism.”

Mr. Soth, whose photojournalism has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, views Snapchat as a way to engage with the changes in photography as a medium. “For me, it’s about stopping time, documenting the world, preserving it,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Minneapolis. His 12-year-old daughter was nearby, glued to her cellphone and, he said, “communicating, as we speak, in pictures.”

For her, photography is “simply conversation,” Mr. Soth said. “And I think that’s fascinating and terrifying.”

An early adopter of many new technologies who has also started a small publishing imprint — “I either dabble with these things or I just say, ‘My time’s over’ ”— Mr. Soth, 45, explained why he didn’t want his work for Intangibles, called “Disappear With Me,” to be expensive. “When it’s less about economics, I feel freer to experiment,” he said.

Proceeds from the projects will be split between the artists and the museum. A few artists, like Ms. Syms, deferred to the Walker on pricing, which in some cases gave the organizers pause: how to assign a monetary figure to a brief message from the ersatz singer of a fake band? Ultimately, said Mr. Byrne, the design director, “we really thought that sticking to the logic of the marketplace would add some rigor. And we also knew that we are giving a better profit-share rate than galleries.” (The voice mail messages are $10 each.) Many of the artists involved said they were in it less for the money — though they viewed that exchange as a necessary part of the deal — than for the creative inspiration. The designer and engineer Julian Bleecker and the Near Future Laboratory, a research company that typically charges thousands of dollars for corporate consultations, will produce briefs on items that do not yet exist (some future antibiotic’s warning label, for example, for $19.99) — what he called “design fiction.”

There are a few literal objects, like the extra parts and doohickeys that end up in a junk drawer, marketed as “Box of Evocative Stuff,” but Mr. Bleecker said the project was mostly a conceptual provocation “to get a larger public audience to think more deeply about the implications and conveniences of new technology.”

“I’m hoping that, with a commitment of $19, we’ll have a conversation,” he said."
walkerartcenter  nearfuturelaboratory  alecsoth  2015  designfiction  art  design  intangibles  emmetbyrne  micheletobin  martinesyms  entrepreneurship  museums  museumshops  shopping  commerce  media  culture  highbrow  lowbrow  andreasangelidakis  architecture  julianbleecker  adamharvey  speculativefiction  criticaldesign  conversation  newinc  snapchat  performance  interaction  christinekuan  artsy  identity 
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
Fruit - Words Without Borders
"Through testing, we learned that the fruit has no brainwaves. We were quickly running out of ideas, but we simply couldn’t tolerate rogue fruit infiltrating Tokyo and corrupting public morals. It threatened everything the agency stood for. But the fruit was ultimately too fruitlike…"

[via: “a lovely example of more-than-human speculative ethnography” http://morethanhumanlab.tumblr.com/post/112580088180/through-testing-we-learned-that-the-fruit-has-no ]
via:anne  hideofurukawa  fruit  speculativeethnography  speculativefiction  designfiction 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Anab Jain, “Design for Anxious Times” on Vimeo
"As 2014 rushes past us, a venture capital firm appoints a computer algorithm to its board of directors, robots report news events such as earthquakes before any human can, fully functioning 3D printed ears, bones and guns are in use, the world’s biggest search company acquires large scale, fully autonomous military robots, six-year old children create genetically modified glow fish and an online community of 50,000 amateurs build drones. All this whilst extreme weather events and political unrest continue to pervade. This is just a glimpse of the increased state of technological acceleration and cultural turbulence we experience today. How do we make sense of this? What can designers do? Dissecting through her studio Superflux’s projects, research practice and approach, Anab will make a persuasive case for designers to adopt new roles as sense-makers, translators and agent provocateurs of the 21st century. Designers with the conceptual toolkits that can create a visceral connection with the complexity and plurality of the worlds we live in, and open up an informed dialogue that help shape better futures for all."
anabjain  superflux  2014  design  future  futures  via:steelemaley  criticaldesign  speculativedesign  speculativefiction  designfiction  designdiscourse  film  filmmaking  technology  interaction  documentary  uncertainty  reality  complexity  algorithms  data  society  surveillance  cloud  edwardsnowden  chelseamanning  julianassange  whistleblowing  science  bentobox  genecoin  bitcoin  cryptocurrency  internet  online  jugaad  war  warfare  information  politics  drones  software  adamcurtis  isolation  anxiety  capitalism  quantification  williamgibson  art  prototyping  present 
february 2015 by robertogreco
JosieHolford on Twitter: "It's a way - an expanding set of thinking practices @MrBlendy for getting from where we are now to where we want to be. #dtk12chat"
“[Design thinking] It's a way - an expanding set of thinking practices @MrBlendy for getting from where we are now to where we want to be.”

“So basically - is design thinking about strategizing our collective futures? #dtk12chat”
https://twitter.com/JosieHolford/status/553016235374686208
josieholford  designthinking  utopia  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  future  futures  2015  howwethink  education  learning  schools  design  thinking 
january 2015 by robertogreco
NEW SURVIVALISM: Alternative 'Bug Out Bags' - Parsons & Charlesworth
"New Survivalism: Six Alternative 'Bug Out Bags' commissioned for Istanbul Design Biennial, 2014

Parsons & Charlesworth present a new body of work entitled New Survivalism - a speculative design approach to survivalism that asks “what alternative scenarios of survival are there that avoid the bunker mentality and respond to currently emerging research into technological change, environmental conditions and belief systems?”

Exhibited as a range of six mini-manifestos, New Survivalism uses designed objects and storytelling to explore the survival strategies of a disparate set of protagonists, each with a very different take on what they “need”. The projects consist of six fictional protagonists and their six alternative survival kits alongside six story texts. Each one contains a mixture of found and designed objects that suggest what each protagonist would have in their kit.

To accompany the bug-out bags, New Survivalism includes a tool for assessing what might be valuable to us in the not-too-distant future. A choose-your-own-adventure-style questionnaire, (designed with Christopher Roeleveld) this adaptive manifesto guides us to reflect on who we are as individuals and what a crisis might mean for our interests.

Commissioned by the Istanbul Foundation For Culture and the Arts(IKSV) for the 2nd Istanbul Design Biennial and curated by Zoë Ryan and associate curator Meredith Carruthers, the biennial entitled “The Future Is Not What It Used To Be”, hosts 53 projects that ask: “What is the future now?” By rethinking the manifesto as a platform to frame pertinent questions, the projects question the role of design, its relationship to society, and its ability to be an active agent for change.

2nd Istanbul Design Biennial
The Future Is Not What It Used To Be
1 November - 14 December

-----------------

“We see that the world is entering an age of ecological collapse, material contraction and social and political unraveling. We don’t believe that responses to this global reality can be confined, as they currently are, to the political, scientific or technological: they need to be cultural too.“
-The Dark Mountain Project

Since the threat of nuclear cataclysm in the mid twentieth century “survivalism” has embedded itself in the public consciousness as an attitude and a body of knowledge for those intent on planning for the worst-case scenario. Typically survivalists pursue extreme self-sufficiency, squirreling food, medical supplies and weapons, undertaking related training and identifying safe havens. The focus is on reverting to tried and tested means, and as such, it is anything but progressive.

Conventional survival kits address only the bottom of Abraham Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs (the physiological and safety needs of food, water, shelter etc.). Rather than replacing such kits, the alternatives proposed here represent the higher concerns of our protagonists; the protection of culture, the ability to make good decisions, the facility to plan and dream, the provision of access to cheap power, among other things.

As thought experiments intended to broaden debate about how we approach the concept of post-disaster scenarios in our culture, these alternative survival kits are intended as a starting point for you to engage with the question “what would you pack for the future?""

[See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENNalkIV_IE
http://parsonscharlesworth.com/NEW-SURVIVALISM-What-s-In-Your-Bug-Out-Bag ]
2014  timparsons  jessicacharlesworth  speculativefiction  designfiction  speculativedesign  survivalism  future 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Ursula K Le Guin's speech at National Book Awards: 'Books aren't just commodities' | Books | The Guardian
[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et9Nf-rsALk ]

"To the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks, from the heart. My family, my agents, my editors, know that my being here is their doing as well as my own, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as mine. And I rejoice in accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who’ve been excluded from literature for so long – my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for 50 years have watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists.

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.

Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers, in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an e-book six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this – letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good company. Here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom."
ursulaleguin  2014  invention  sciencefiction  fiction  speculativefiction  future  creativity  whywewrite  writing  imagination  capitalism  economics  publishing  genre  visionaries  freedom  alternatives  books  fear  diversity  hope  optimism  paradigmshifts  transcontextextualism 
november 2014 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
Improving Reality 2013 - Paul Graham Raven - YouTube
"Paul is going to talk about infrastructure, about what we mean (or think we mean) when we say that word, and about why infrastructure is not so much invisible as illegible: omnipresent, ubiquitous, but almost always Someone Else's Problem. He will compare the Someone Else's Problem problem to the "hypnosis of normality" which Anab Jain (designer at Superflux) suggests design fiction is intended to dispel. Paul proposes that the tools of design fiction and critical theory can, and should, be turned outward upon the complex, interdependent and surprisingly fragile metasystems on which our lived reality is utterly dependent."

[See also: http://arcfinity.tumblr.com/post/60164228912/paul-graham-raven-someone-elses-problem ]
2013  paulgrahamraven  infrastructure  designfiction  speculativedesign  speculativefiction  criticaltheory 
october 2014 by robertogreco
IFTF: Artifact from the Future: Energy Wants To Be Free
"The UN has teamed up with the global Pirate Party, a political party with a platform of open intellectual property (IP), to provide new disaster relief kits that use open-source components to build ad hoc infrastructures for everything from power to water to Internet access. At the core of the relief kit is the now famous Tesla Box—a 10-foot shipping container that can power a neighborhood by harnessing the sub-atomic Casimir Effect. What else will you find in the open-source kit? Wireless lightbulbs, mobile device chargers, rechargeable desalination straws, and an Internet-in-a-suitcase."
pirateparty  iftf  speculativefiction  infrastructure  mesh  meshnetworks  enelctricity  robots  drones  construction  resilience  2013  solarpunk 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Future Fictions | z33
"With Future Fictions, Z33 continues the debate about our future, exploring how contemporary artists, designers and architects relate to future thinking and imaging: from mapping, questioning and criticizing, to developing complex visions about the structures and systems that may shape our life in the future.

Z33 wishes to draw attention to what future thinking and imaging can be. Not pretending to know what our future will be, nor which inventive solutions will solve our present-day problems, we rather aim to explore a set of different visions/fictions that artists, designers and architects put forward using different methods and tools for future thinking and visualizing.

In doing so, Z33 wishes to shift the debate away from what is possible, plausible and probable towards what is preferable: Future Fictions therefore is essentially a project about ideas and ideals, about dreams beyond hope and fear.

Can we learn to critically assess the future visions presented? Which criteria would be valid in doing so? In other words, can we learn to become ‘future literate’?

The proposed visions/fictions presented aim to engage us both intellectually as well as emotionally in a quest to consider exactly what kind of future we might want. In this, we all have a role to play: ‘After all, the future still has to be made today.’  - Anne Galloway*

The proposed visions/fictions presented aim to engage us both intellectually as well as emotionally in a quest to consider exactly what kind of future we might want. In this, we all have a role to play: ‘After all, the future still has to be made today.’ - Anne Galloway*

With: Neïl Beloufa (FR), Nelly Ben Hayoun (FR), Blueprints for the Unknown (UK), Bureau Europa (NL) / Lara Schrijver (NL), Dept. Architectuur UHasselt (B), Theo Deutinger (AT), Dunne & Raby (UK), FoAM (BE), El Ultimo Grito (ES), Arne Hendriks (NL) / Monnik (NL), Shane Hope (US), Speedism (B/DE), Near Future Laboratory (CH/SP/US), Hans Op de Beeck (B), Pantopicon (B), The Extrapolation Factory (DE/US), Atelier Van Lieshout (NL), Chris Woebken (DE), The Xijing Men (JP/CN/KR), Liam Young (AU)

Curator: Karen Verschooren, Z33

Quote *Anne Galloway in Sentient City. Ubiquitous computing, architecture, and the future of urban space, p.223"
speculativefiction  speculativedesign  future  designfiction  annegalloay  2014  karenverschooren 
september 2014 by robertogreco
The Novel and the Future of the Near Future | Hazlitt Magazine | Hazlitt
"Writers hoping to transport readers only a short distance into the future are in danger of being outfutured by reality itself. So-called “design fiction” may present creators with a more viable alternative."



"Of course, in the world of fiction a “minimum viable future” is more commonly referred to as a “shitty first draft.” It’s no surprise that Bruce Sterling is a fan of design fiction, and I can easily picture digitally-savvy Margaret Atwood hunched over a 3D printer. But an iterative approach to the future is often at odds with the slow, deliberate process of creating and populating a fictional universe. And given the clumsiness of the physical world, it’s easy to understand why writers would prefer to craft perfect sentences instead of generate imperfect vending machine novelties.

Still, if you want to see what happens when design fiction gets a bigger budget and a mass audience, check out the uncanny and discomforting BBC show Black Mirror. Featuring glimpses of our terrible (and terribly plausible) near future(s), it’s not a show that lends itself to binge watching, even with only two seasons, at three episodes per.

That’s because each episode of Black Mirror hits the reset button, taking place in a unique future universe with a fresh set of actors. Creator Charlie Brooker likes to start with a provocative but recognizable piece of design fiction and then guides the viewer toward a trapdoor labeled unintended consequences. In the episode “The Entire History of You” we watch a jealous husband unable to stop himself from discovering a secret he might be better off not knowing. It’s an effective critique of where lifelogging and Facebook might take us, in part because Brooker is able to make such a vivid emotional argument. Meanwhile, in “Be Right Back,” the dead are able to speak with the living thanks to an artificial intelligence service that scrapes the emails, tweets and Facebook posts of the deceased.

Instead of the overbearing technological determinism common to many speculative novels, Black Mirror tends to favour “slight futures”—the term Wired recently used to describe the film Her. As in, “technology hasn’t disappeared … it’s dissolved into everyday life.”

I acknowledge there’s a danger that design fiction could become another buzzword ruined by overzealous ad agencies. And by its very format, design fiction subconsciously reinforces the object fetish of the Kickstarter generation. It’s hard to attack the pernicious logic of planned obsolescence when your critique is delivered in the form of yet another gadget.

But I would insist that any novelist contemplating the near future invest in some foamcore and Post-it Notes. Because I refuse to wait another half-decade for the definitive novel about the Oculus Rift."
ryanbigge  designfiction  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  blackmirror  2014  brucesterling  charliebrooker 
september 2014 by robertogreco
The Extrapolation Factory
"The Extrapolation Factory is an imagination-based studio for design-led futures studies. We focus on developing future scenarios, embodied as artifacts in familiar, present-day contexts. The studio proposes a method for collaboratively envisioning possible futures with diverse participants, experts and non-experts, and doing so in a variety of accessible ways. With this work, the Extrapolation Factory is exploring the value of rapidly imagined, prototyped, deployed and evaluated visions of possible futures on an extended time scale.

Co-founded by Elliott P. Montgomery and Chris Woebken"
hriswoebken  elliottmontgomery  extrapolationfactory  designfiction  design  futures  future  speculativedesign  speculativefiction 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Cheat Sheet for a Non (or Less) Colonialist Speculative Design — Medium
"Earlier this year Luiza and I published a text here on Medium where we, apparently, said a few things that resonated quite well among design practitioners and researchers alike. In that text, we pointed out a general disregard for issues of race, class and gender privilege within Speculative and Critical Design projects and publications. For us, it was a serious problem we felt the need to call out.

Naturally, a good number of other design practitioners and researchers claimed we were exaggerating, being unfair or “augmenting” the facts so as to fit our own purposes, whatever they were. However, questions very similar to ours were raised by others during this year’s Design Research Society Conference in Umeå, Sweden, and we were also invited to speak about our positions in July at the Open Design Conference in Barcelona, Spain. In the meantime, other essays that echoed our concerns showed up, mostly from other designers that were actually catalysts of the discussion that originated our text in the first place. All in all, there is an elephant in the room that demands some attention, and these texts elaborate and expand considerably what our own writing left off.

Still, those texts and the subsequent reactions to them only showed us what we expected: (1) these are issues that are still in need to be acknowledged and dealt with as serious concerns and (2) what we initially set off to challenge lies well beyond “representation” or the danger of tropes and tokenism – unlike most of the criticism we received seem to think. Notwithstanding, SCD projects and publications are still letting plenty of “narrow assumptions” sneak in, and they will only continue to reinforce the status quo of colonialism and imperialism rather than effectively challenging it.

To try to make things a bit easier, we developed this very simple and straightforward “Cheat Sheet” you, Speculative and/or Critical Designer, should consult when developing new projects. This is (very) loosely based on Sandrine Micossé-Aikins’ “7 Things You Can do To Make Your Art Less Racist” – which is a strongly recommended read for before and after you get through this cheat sheet of ours – as well as María del Carmen Lamadrid’s “Social Design Toolkit”, also a mandatory read. Ready?

Cheat-Sheet for a Non (or Less) Colonialist Speculative Design

1. Acknowledge the Truth. This one we’ll borrow straight from Sandrine. If you were born in Europe, there is a good chance your country had (or has) colonies and gave (or gives) them a very, very bad time. It is not your fault, and no, #NotAllEuropeans are like that. We also know that the USA, though a former British colony on its own, has given itself the task to treat other parts of the world as if its own backyard, something we call imperialism. Indeed we all know this, but so should you – it is a fact you cannot and will not change. So acknowledge that part of your privilege comes from the very fact that your society has built – and still builds – its wealth upon the disaster of others.

2. Check Your Facts: ask yourself “does my dystopia happen already in other ‘invisible’ (sic) places of the World?” It is good to know if what would be terrible for you and your audience isn’t already reality for others. Before asking “what if…?” ask “is there…?” Particularly if you consider how colonialism helped shape the power inequalities and uneven economic relations we currently live in.
(Tip: Wikipedia is a good starting point, but be creative and don’t stop there.)

3. “Am I developing more ‘civilised’, ‘highbrow’ or ‘educated’ solutions for ‘endangered’ places in the world?” It might be that you already know the answer to this, but double-check it. Constantly challenge your design decisions and see if they do not reflect narrow-minded views of how aesthetics could or should be. Minimalism and clinical asepsis are not the only aesthetically pleasant values of design.

4. “Is my scenario/story/object somewhere else’s local aspect/culture, appropriated as to fit my own?” If yes, please refer to point 2 and check if your culture/country did not already do that a few years ago by the use of violence and other less friendly means.
(Tip: start from the basics of Cultural Appropriation. Yes, it is a very controversial topic and there is no consensus about it. Yes, you have to read it anyway.)

5. “Does my dystopian scenario contain the following:”
a) Slaves or any depiction of middle-class (white) people suddenly turned into slaves;
b) People of Color in the role of Robots, Subaltern or others in general;
c) Objects coming from places that are or were colonies, whose aesthetics look invariably “recycled” or “kitsch”.

6. Is my research biased by my own privileged views of how society could or should be? Or in other terms, “am I b(i)asing my research exclusively on authors and references that come exclusively from colonialist countries?” This is very important, because as Raewyn Connell explains in her Southern Theory (2007), much of the so-called “canons” of social sciences come from northern, metropolitan authors whose work inquiries the “primitiveness” of the colonies.

7. “Does my textual production contain any of the following words:”
a) “global” for economic models;
b) “neutral” for cultural models;
c) “universal” for theoretical models;

8. In case you succeed on all of the above and will most definitely go on portraying your dystopia, the final question is: “have I consulted myself with other people, designers or not, from other places of the world to check if this is not a #firstworldproblem?”

We strongly believe that following these simple steps may positively contribute to not only Speculative and Critical Design projects becoming more powerful in their line of questioning, but also avoiding the mishaps it sets itself up so boldly to criticise.

To be once again very clear, we are also not advocating that every single SCD Project should talk about, tackle or depict issues of colonialism and imperialism. Rather, we say “know where you come from and know where your privileges are.” If “all design is ideological”, as Dunne says, do take that statement seriously.

Giving yourself the task to stop navel-gazing and to always second-guess your own decisions is not a shame. It is for the better, trust us."

[See also: https://medium.com/@luizaprado/questioning-the-critical-in-speculative-critical-design-5a355cac2ca4 ]
speculativedesign  criticaldesign  luizaprado  pedrooliveira  2014  colonialism  designcolonialism  imperialism  dunne&raby  designfiction  speculativefiction  fionaraby 
september 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
Dream thieves: inside America's ban on sleep | The Verge
"Tim Stoker remembers perfectly the last time he slept. “I was out for seven hours straight,” he says, shaking his head. “I didn’t even dream, at least not that I can remember. And when I got into rehab, I thought about it for weeks. I was obsessed. Sometimes I wanted to die but... it’s not that I was suicidal, right? I just thought it might be kind of the same.”

When I meet Stoker, the stocky 23-year-old has spent two months in an Amazon work-release program, fulfilling orders in one of the company’s subcontracted warehouses outside Atlanta. The money is minimal, but so are his living expenses -- and it’s a far cry from the fines and jail time he could have received for violating the recently tightened, near-total national ban on sleep. His thin neon polo shirt clashes dubiously with a pair of fresh jeans and $200 Nikes, proudly bought with his first steady paycheck in years. “I want a TV, one of the big ones,” he says, standing in the bare company cafeteria during a 15-minute break. “But I don’t really have a place yet — just family.”

Stoker credits his family with turning his life around. An admitted academic underachiever, he struggled with high-school classes and was prescribed sleeping medication after a series of panic attacks. But with more pills easily available from friends, he quickly began spending hours in a state that he now sees as tantamount to living death. In the end, it took an impaired driving charge, a year of parental support, and thousands of dollars to get him to his current cold-turkey state. And along the way, he's become one of the millions of casualties in what some pundits have wryly termed the “War on Dreams.”"



""I don't regret making them," says Lanier. "But I might regret ever showing them to anybody. I thought we might learn a whole new way of thinking. We could have used that extra time to understand ourselves, to figure out a new way to relate to reality. But everyone just pushed their noses closer to the grindstone. I mean, years back I told people they weren't a gadget," he says, referencing the title of his 2010 bestseller. "But even gadgets sleep. Even your iPhone needs to recharge sometime. Maybe I should have changed the name.""
sleep  scifi  sciencefiction  speculativefiction  productivity  us  economics  capitalism  work  labor  dreams  slow  control  adirobertson  2014 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The Nightmare on Connected Home Street | Gadget Lab | WIRED
"I wake up at four to some old-timey dubstep spewing from my pillows. The lights are flashing. My alarm clock is blasting Skrillex or Deadmau5 or something, I don’t know. I never listened to dubstep, and in fact the entire genre is on my banned list. You see, my house has a virus again.

Technically it’s malware. But there’s no patch yet, and pretty much everyone’s got it. Homes up and down the block are lit up, even at this early hour. Thankfully this one is fairly benign. It sets off the alarm with music I blacklisted decades ago on Pandora. It takes a picture of me as I get out of the shower every morning and uploads it to Facebook. No big deal.

I don’t sleep well anyway, and already had my Dropcam Total Home Immersion account hacked, so I’m basically embarrassment-proof. And anyway, who doesn’t have nudes online? Now, Wat3ryWorm, that was nasty. That was the one with the 0-day that set off everyone’s sprinkler systems on Christmas morning back in ’22. It did billions of dollars in damage.

Going back to sleep would be impossible at this point, so I drag myself into the kitchen to make coffee. I know this sounds weird, but I actually brew coffee with a real kettle. The automatic coffee machine is offline. I had to pull its plug because it was DDOSing a gaming server in Singapore. Basically, my home is a botnet. The whole situation makes me regret the operating system I installed years ago, but there’s not much I can do. I’m pretty much stuck with it.



I sit down with my coffee and fire up the short throw projector embedded in the kitchen table. The news is depressing, so I flip through a Redfin search I started last night in bed. There are these houses up in Humboldt County that are listed in the inundation zone, so they were never required to upgrade. That was a cartography error; even if sea levels go up another 20 feet they would still be above the water line. They’re rustic, and don’t even have high energy automobile docks. But the idea of getting off the grid really appeals to me, even if it’s just a fantasy.

The skylights open up. The toaster switches on. I hear the shower kick in from the other room. It’s morning."
automation  iot  mathonan  2014  speculativefiction  smarthomes  malware  technology  caution  internetofthings 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Donna Haraway, "Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble", 5/9/14 on Vimeo
[transcript: http://opentranscripts.org/transcript/anthropocene-capitalocene-chthulucene/ ]

"Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble

Sympoiesis, not autopoiesis, threads the string figure game played by Terran critters. Always many-stranded, SF is spun from science fact, speculative fabulation, science fiction, and, in French, soin de ficelles (care of/for the threads). The sciences of the mid-20th-century “new evolutionary synthesis” shaped approaches to human-induced mass extinctions and reworldings later named the Anthropocene. Rooted in units and relations, especially competitive relations, these sciences have a hard time with three key biological domains: embryology and development, symbiosis and collaborative entanglements, and the vast worlds of microbes. Approaches tuned to “multi-species becoming with” better sustain us in staying with the trouble on Terra. An emerging “new new synthesis” in trans-disciplinary biologies and arts proposes string figures tying together human and nonhuman ecologies, evolution, development, history, technology, and more. Corals, microbes, robotic and fleshly geese, artists, and scientists are the dramatis personae in this talk’s SF game."
donnaharaway  2014  anthropocene  capitalocene  chthulucene  lichen  ursulaleguin  sciencefiction  multispecies  symbiosis  life  biology  collaboration  reworlding  speculativefiction  soindeficelles  sympoiesis  autopoiesis  synthesus  transdisciplinary  art  arts  glvo  ecologies  ecology  evolution  development  history  technology  humans  coral  corals  microbes  robots  animals  scottgilbert 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Reflections on the Utility of the Poetic Imagination — Medium
"The key in using and adapting methods like Design Fiction and Science Fiction Prototyping is to keep in mind that what appears to be a final product-a story, video, object-is actually a step in a process, it is not the end. “Prototypes are not the thing, they are the story or the fiction about the thing that we hope to build.” And it is not just about technology or creating products, it is also about generating insights into the human experience, leadership, strategy, institutional innovation, the experience of coming home from war, civil-military relations and more. In fact, it’s probably more important to apply the poetic imagination to these areas than to technology.

Certainly this isn’t this only way to approach this. It leads me to a lot of questions that I don’t yet have answers for. With these ideas in mind can we think of the development and updating of the color-coded war plans in the decades leading up to WW2 as a form of “strategy fiction prototyping”? Can you teach people to tap in to the poetic imagination? How do you create an environment within an organization that is open to this kind of playful, hypothetical thinking? The next step is to go deeper into the poetic or aesthetic imagination and try to develop some of these techniques in a practical way and see whether or not this is indeed a job for poets."
designfiction  speculativedesign  criticaldesign  speculativefiction  2014  prbeckman  process  imagination  creativity  prototyping  sciencefictionprototyping 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Designing the Future — Medium
"Posts on Design Fiction, Critical Design, and Speculative Design"
designfiction  criticaldesign  speculativefiction  speculativedesign 
june 2014 by robertogreco
The future of ed tech is here, it’s just not evenly distributed — Futures Exchange — Medium
"Using design fiction to cut through the relentless TEDTalk-like optimism of ed tech marketing"



"People talk about the future of technology in education as though it’s right around the corner, but for most of us we get to that corner and see it disappearing around the next. This innovation-obsessed cycle continues as we are endlessly dissatisfied with how little difference these promises make to the people implicated in these futures. These products and practices, cloaked in the latest buzzwords and jargon, often trickle down to non-western geographic regions after they’ve been tried and rejected, yet still adopted as the new and advanced “western” methodology that will solve the “problem” of education.

In an attempt to cut through the relentless TED Talk-like optimism of ed tech marketing, this year at the HASTAC conference in Peru we presented a series of fictional case studies. These four design fiction based personas aimed to illustrate the possible impact on society and education, in both positive and negative ways, of not just emerging technologies but also global social and economic trends. They give brief snapshots of the lives of individuals in imagined futures from different geographic, ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds, illustrating how each of them might interface and interact with the different technologies."

[See also: http://www.hastac.org/blogs/savasavasava/2014/06/19/hastac-2014-future-ed-tech-here-it%E2%80%99s-just-not-evenly-distributed
Wayback: https://web.archive.org/web/20150630153225/http://www.hastac.org/blogs/savasavasava/2014/06/19/hastac-2014-future-ed-tech-here-it%E2%80%99s-just-not-evenly-distributed ]
savasahelisingh  timmaughan  designfiction  edtech  technology  education  dystopia  marketing  optimism  pessimism  2014  williamgibson  speculativefiction  futures  future  innovation  buzzwords  hastac  casestudies 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Failed States: A Tactical Design Workshop | superflux
"In early May, Jon and I were invited by the HEAD MEDIA DESIGN faculty in Geneva to lead a week long design futurescaping workshop for the first-year students on their postgraduate Media Design programme. Having not previously encountered speculative design, futurescaping, or design fiction, we were tasked with finding a way to drag this bundle of themes and techniques into the participants’ familiar everyday lives. We could easily have spent a week exploring different processes and methods, but, instead, we chose to develop a challenging context-specific brief, through which the HEAD students could start to grapple with some of the questions we ourselves have been exploring through our lab and studio activities.

Drawing on our recent work, talks, and ongoing personal encounters with immigration and the contemporary nation-state, we were drawn to a central theme of political complexity – challenging students to probe notions of borders, territories, and the fragile, increasingly precarious relationship between people and their governments. Developing the brief in collaboration with Justin Pickard, our spooky, mostly virtual studio associate, we wanted to leave workshop participants fully primed and poised, ready to develop their own original work on these and similar issues."



"We kicked off the workshop with a presentation expanding on the initial brief, describing how the workshop would use the notion of ‘failed states’ to ‘explore how political visions of the future fail to account for the complexity of the world, and in doing so, struggle to consider unforeseen events and uncertainty.’ We showed real-world examples of the ways in which unanticipated events – the collapse of the USSR, the Great Depression, etc. – have triggered paradigm shifts in national and international politics, the consequences of which we continue to experience in our everyday lives today, in 2014.

With this as background and context, we confronted the workshop participants with a future Switzerland of the mid-2020s; a small, federal state in a world where an increasingly powerful Chinese state holds controlling shares in a number of critical Swiss infrastructure projects, a network of surveillance UAVs have been deployed to monitor and pre-empt civil unrest, widespread food shortages have been met by the nationalisation of many Swiss food companies, and the persistent overuse of antibiotics has led the world into an era in which even minor infections can prove terminal.

Sharing our timeline of events from 2013-2025 based on current trends and weak signals, we tasked participants with digesting the interplay of a range of future developments, considering their implications for the everyday experience of future Swiss citizens and inhabitants, and designing a response to the challenges and consequences of this future world. We asked them to engage, critique and infiltrate the dominant political and economic order through a proposed service, product, experience, movement, campaign, or anything else that felt appropriate.

After the initial splash presentation, participants ran through a series of discussions and initial brainstorms, touching on the recent immigration referendum, the incipient anxieties of French students, and the visual language of Swiss political propaganda. The students were asked to consider the elements of this future world that resonated with their own passions and personal politics; what their own lives – and those of their friends and family – might look like in this proximate future; and alternative roles for their own design practice in an unexpected or divergent environment. Over the first few days, participants made extensive use of mapping and fiction and they sought to orient themselves in relation to a series of much larger, interlocking social and technical systems.

After a round of early brainstorms we suggested the students write short stories, that situate them or their loved ones, within this world. This became a great mechanism to create deeper connections with the things that they otherwise did not consider.



Participants’ work explored the various ways in which they might be able to either infiltrate the system, or design for it from within it. As workshop convenors, we found it emotionally and personally challenging to see how far they were willing to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, in order to explore new thematic and design territories.



The set of final presentations was inspiring and rewarding, and the students who took the opportunity to engage with this complex and chaotic bundle of issues did remarkably well in such a short period of time. "We learnt how to ask questions" was possibly one of the best feedback we could have asked for. Many thanks to Daniel Schiboz, Nicolas Nova and Marion Schmidt for the hospitality, we hope to be back at HEAD soon. "
superflux  anabjain  failedstates  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  designfiction  speculativecriticaldesign  criticaldesign  justinpickard  immigration  migration  future  government  switzerland  design  complexity  uncertainty  prediction  2014  surveillance  networks  danielschiboz  nicolasnova  marionschmidt 
june 2014 by robertogreco
DRS 2014: Privilege and Oppression: Towards an Intersectional Critical Design
"Though critical and speculative design have been increasingly relevant in discussing the social and cultural role of design, there has been a distinct lack of both theory and praxis aimed at questioning gender oppression. Departing from an intersectional feminist analysis of the influences and origins of speculative and critical design, this essay questions the underlying privilege that has been hindering the discussion on gender within the discipline and its role in propagating oppression; it then goes on to propose the concept of a "feminist speculative design" as an approach aimed at questioning the complex relationships between gender, technology and social and cultural oppression."
luizaprado  speculativefiction  designfiction  criticaldesign  speculativedesign  design  2014  privilege  oppression  gender  technology  culture 
june 2014 by robertogreco
SOPHIA AZEB /// The “No-State Solution”: Power of Imagination for the Palestinian Struggle « ARCHIPELAGO | The Podcast Platform of the Funambulist
"This conversation with Sophia Azeb is the first of a series recorded along the American and Canadian West Coast. Sophia and I talk about our frustrations to see the lack of imagination offered by the “solutions” (a highly problematic term) often given to end what remains problematic to call “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” In opposition to the traditional “two-state solution” and “one-state solution,” Sophia proposes a “no-state solution,” that refuses the recognition of any property on the land and thus, state-sovereignty. We talk about the land being practiced by the bodies, and the bodies being fragments of the land, through a corpus of anti-colonial poetry. Finally we address science-fiction as a provider of narratives whose imaginative power can have important political impact in the construction of a collective future.

Sophia Azeb is a PhD Candidate in the Department of American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Her dissertation project, Ceci (n’)est (pas) une Arabe: Cultural Explorations of Blackness in the North African Diaspora, 1952-1979, explores articulations of blackness within multilingual and transnational anti-colonial cultural practices of expatriate African Americans, Algerians, and Egyptians during the Cold War era. She writes on these and related topics for Africa Is A Country, The Feminist Wire, and KCET Artbound. Sophia is an ardent Gooner, and can be found on Twitter: @brownisthecolor.

WEBSITES:

- http://africasacountry.com/author/smallsilence/
- http://thefeministwire.com/2012/09/introducing-sophia-azeb/
- http://www.kcet.org/arts/artbound/columnists/sophia-azeb/

REFERENCE BOOKS:

- Mahmoud Darwish, “Ana Atin ila Zit ‘aynaki (I am coming to the shadows of your eyes).”
- Mike Krebs and Dana M. Olwan. “‘From Jerusalem to the Grand River, Our Struggles are One’: Challenging Canadian and Israeli Settler Color Colonial Studies 2:2, 2012.
- Achille Mbembe. De La Postcolonie, essai sur l’imagination politique dans l’Afrique contemporaine. Éditions Karthala, 2000.
- Joe Sacco. Palestine. Fantagraphics, 2001.
- Raja Shehadeh, Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape, Scribner, 2008.
- Raja Shehadeh, 2037: Le Grand Bouleversement, Galaade, 2011.

REFERENCE ART WORK:

- Larissa Sansour, “Nation Estate” (2012): [image]

- Larissa Sansour, “A Space Exodus” (2009): [image]

REFERENCE PHOTOGRAPHS:

- Israeli settlement of Kochav Ya’akov near Qalandiya checkpoint (West Bank) /// Photograph by Léopold Lambert (2010): [image]

- Palestinian settlement in the North of Ramallah on the road to Birzeit University /// Photograph by Léopold Lambert (2010): [image]"
sophiaazeb  via:javierarbona  2014  palestine  israel  colonialism  decolonization  collectivism  property  indigeneity  history  sciencefiction  scifi  sovereignty  land  borders  border  settlements  culture  postcolonialism  maps  mapping  ownership  mobility  speculativefiction  poetry 
april 2014 by robertogreco
A Whole New World — Destroy All Software Talks
"This talk announces the most ambitious software project I've ever undertaken, then considers why its existence is so surprising (and in some cases frustrating) to people."
presentation  programming  software  speculativefiction  garybernhardt  strangeloop  infrastructure  slow  shipping  sethgodin  business  2013  howtolie  keynote  thinking  terminal 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Design fiction: a bibliography — pasta and vinegar
"Some resources about design fiction I'm use to share with students. Note that the term itself is polysemic and covers different perceptions about its meaning."
designfiction  speculativefiction  2014  booklists  bibligraphies  nicolasnova 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Design Futurescaping | superflux
"We presented our work on 'Design Futurescaping' at the Yeditepe International Conference on Futures & Foresight and Rotterdam's V2_Institute for Unstable Media.

'Complexity, Narrative, Participation, and Images of the Future'
What opportunities do traditional arts, digital media, and social networks create for foresight and futures? What new approaches do these media and digital platforms provide for engaging people in creating and exploring alternative images of the future? How can group-sourced futures creation and exploration put chaos and complexity theories in service to basic futures theory? How can they enhance experiential engagement in the futures dialogue?

These questions set the premise for the Poster Session at the Yeditepe International Conference on Foresight and Futures, Istanbul, Turkey. Curated by Dr. Wendy Schultz, the poster session included contributions from Wendy Schultz, Noah Raford, Justin Pickard and Jake Dunagan. 

We presented a poster outlining some of our work on 'Design Futurescaping', describing some our tools and methods, grounded in examples from 'Little Brinkland' and 'Power of 8'."

"Expanding on this poster, our short essay 'Design Futurescaping' appeared in the free e-reader Blowup: The Era of Objects, published by Rotterdam's V2_ Institute for Unstable Media."

[PDF: http://v2.nl/files/2011/events/blowup-readers/the-era-of-objects-pdf ]
superflux  toolkit  futurescaping  design  designfuturescaping  process  digitalmedia  art  socialnetworks  powerof8  littlebrinkland  future  speculativedesign  speculativefiction  designfiction 
march 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
Questioning the “critical” in Speculative & Critical Design — Designing the Future — Medium
"In the past few days I’ve been following this excellent and profoundly enlightening discussion [http://designandviolence.moma.org/republic-of-salivation-michael-burton-and-michiko-nitta/ ] on MoMA’s Design and Violence page. The conversation, initiated by John Thackara’s comments on Burton Nitta’s project “Republic of Salivation” [http://www.burtonnitta.co.uk/repubicofsalivation.html ], was further developed in the comment section. The issue at stake was the presumed naivety of the project while dealing with a subject that might be dystopian to some, but in some other parts of the world it has been the reality for decades. During the — still ongoing — debate, one of the most pressing issues to emerge was the political accountability of Speculative and Critical Design (from now on, referred to as SCD) or its lack thereof.

When questioned on the validity of a discipline that consistently dismisses and willingly ignores struggles other than those that concern the intellectual white middle classes — precisely the environment where SCD comes from — designer James Auger [http://www.auger-loizeau.com/ ] responded:
What is this obsession with class systems? The UK may have its financial problems but most of us stopped obsessing about these divides in the distant past.

As a brazilian designer based in Germany struggling to understand her position in the blindly privileged environment of SCD, Auger’s reaction sounds all too familiar. Being able to ignore things like class, gender and race is the clearest demonstration of privilege: you don’t notice it (or rather, sometimes knowingly choose not to) precisely because it doesn’t affect you. As a discipline theorised within the safe confines of developed, northern european countries and practiced largely within an overwhelmingly white, male, middle class academic environment, SCD has successfully managed to ignore, or at best only vaguely acknowledge, issues of class, race and gender (with few [http://superflux.in/ ] exceptions [http://sputniko.com/ ]). Instead, the vast majority of the body of work currently available in the field has concentrated its efforts on envisioning near futures that deal with issues that seem much more tangible to their own privileged crowd. Projects that clearly reflect the fear of losing first-world privileges — gastronomical, civil or cultural — in a bleak, dystopic future abound, while practitioners seem to be blissfully unaware (or unwilling to acknowledge, in some cases) of other realities.

The visual discourse of SCD also seems interestingly devoid of people of color, who rarely (if ever) make an appearance in the clean, perfectly squared, aseptic world imagined by these designers-researchers. Couples depicted in these near-future scenarios seem to be consistently heterosexual; there is no poverty, there are no noticeable power structures that divide the wealthy and the poor, or the colonialist and the colonised; gender seems to be an immutable, black-and-white truth, clearly defined between men and women, with virtually no space for trans* and queer identities (let alone queer and trans* voices speaking for themselves). From its visual discourse to its formulations of near-future scenarios, SCD seems to be curiously apathetic and apolitical for a discipline that strives to be a critical response to mainstream perceptions of what design is, and what it should do.

So answering Auger’s pressing question — “What is this obsession with class systems?” —, well: we are obsessed with class systems because we can’t help it. Because, in contrast to most of the practitioners in the field of SCD, we do not have the privilege of not thinking about issues of race, class and gender. Because your dystopia is happening to us right now. It’s happening when we get harassed because of our gender, our class or our ethnicity. It’s happening when a brazilian citizen is killed by british police with no explanation, apology or reason other than being a foreigner [http://www.theguardian.com/uk/menezes ]. It’s happening because where I come from, the reality suggested by The Republic of Salivation isn’t so far-fetched [http://thebrazilbusiness.com/article/cost-of-living-in-brazil-ndash-cesta-basica ]. And because if we don’t call out your privilege — though you dismiss it as “misguided suggestions of privilege” — this is what will keep on happening: SCD will never evolve past a discipline stuck in its own little universe of weather forecasts and smart fridges, incapable of seeing how shallow its own speculations are, and how much more relevant and inclusive they could be.

Right now, SCD’s preoccupations are directed towards nothing more than an alleged “lack of poetic dimensions” in our relationship with electronic objects. The “social narratives” and “criticism” so advertised by the great majority of its practitioners seem to only apply to the aesthetic concerns of the intellectual northern european middle classes. Those dystopian “critical futures” forget (or oversee it for a lack of empathy toward the subject matter) that the very electronic objects that they are talking about not only are — and will continue to be — accessible to a minimum percentage of the world’s population, but also that those who won’t have access to it will likely be exploited to make that reality happen, one way or another. It is extremely frustrating to observe how SCD practitioners depict a dystopian universe where technology comes to paint a world in which their own privileges of their own reality are at stake, while at the same time failing to properly acknowledge that design is a strong contributor to the complete denial of basic human rights to minorities, right here, right now. Those sleek, shiny gadgets and sentient objects and robots SCD designers are keen to portray come only to the aid of white, middle class, cisgendered heterosexual citizens. But no SCD dystopian scenario takes into account that this pervasive “technological menace” will most probably be manufactured in China, Indonesia or Bangladesh (as suggested by Ahmed Ansari [https://twitter.com/aansari86 ] in the comments section in the original post). And I cannot help but reinforce that SCD is a practice whose origins and current developments, so far, happen within colonialist countries.

Despite all of its shortcomings, I do believe that SCD has something necessary and valid to offer to society. I do believe that design is a powerful language, one that it is perfectly positioned to provide relevant social and cultural critique, and that envisioning near future scenarios might just help us reflect on the paths we want to take as a society. In order to truly achieve these goals, however, SCD needs to be held accountable for its political and social positions; it urgently needs to escape its narrow northern european middle class confines; it needs to talk about social change; it needs more diversity, both in its visual representations and in the practitioners in the field. A first step, perhaps, would be to acknowledge that these issues are at stake instead of just dismissing them as useless concerns. Speculative Design can only earn its “Critical” name once it leaves its own comfort zone and start looking beyond privilege, for real.

After all, as brilliantly described by Ahmed in the thread:
The political, economic, social and cultural implications of technologies are never local but always global and systemic — they ripple out and affect people you may never know or see in your lifetime. It’s great to believe in the promise of technological progress when you belong to a class and a society that will directly get to reap its benefits in the end.
via:anne  2014  luizaprado  pedrooliveira  criticaldesign  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  designfiction  priviilege  designimperialism  criticism  design  art  johnthackara  burtonnitta  class  gender  race  speculation  ahmedansari  jamesauger  michaelburton  michikonitta  humanitariandesign 
february 2014 by robertogreco
CHUPAN CHUPAI on Vimeo
"In a near future heavily influenced by the imminent boom of the Indian subcontinent, an emerging technology and economic superpower a new digital city has developed. The film follows a group of young children as they play a game of hide and seek (Chupan Chupai) in the bustling streets of this smart city. Through their play the children discover how to hack the city, opening up a cavernous network of hidden and forgotten spaces, behind the scenes of everyday streets.

The narrative of piece focuses on how the children interact with their built environment, we explore the smart city through the device of the classic children's game. The design of the future city fuses technology and built matter as one programmable environment. Using gestures and signs as a language, the project takes the concept of gesture based control to the level where we can interact and control all elements of the built environment, creating a symbiosis between technology and the city. The film splits the physical architecture of the city into two categories; the synthesised lived in city, and its organic wild undergrowth.

The project was shot on location in India and uses a mixture of animation and visual effects to embellish the design of the city and locations that are pictured.

Based on a short story by Tim Maly
Directed by FACTORY FIFTEEN
Produced by Liam Young"

[See also: http://www.factoryfifteen.com/ ]
[Interview: http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/17980/1/factory-fifteens-futureworlds-dazed-visionaries ]
timmaly  sciencefiction  scifi  2014  film  video  jodhpur  india  hideandseek  children  interface  design  technology  play  gestures  cities  cityasclassroom  thecityishereforyoutouse  architecture  ux  smartcity  smartcities  urban  urbanism  streets  streetgames  games  builtenvironment  liamyoung  factoryfifteen  speculativefiction  jaipur  cherrapunjee 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Why Her Will Dominate UI Design Even More Than Minority Report | Wired Design | Wired.com
"In Her, the future almost looks more like the past."



"Jonze had help in finding the contours of this slight future, including conversations with designers from New York-based studio Sagmeister & Walsh and an early meeting with Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, principals at architecture firm DS+R. As the film’s production designer, Barrett was responsible for making it a reality.

Throughout that process, he drew inspiration from one of his favorite books, a visual compendium of futuristic predictions from various points in history. Basically, the book reminded Barrett what not to do. “It shows a lot of things and it makes you laugh instantly, because you say, ‘those things never came to pass!’” he explains. “But often times, it’s just because they over-thought it. The future is much simpler than you think.”

That’s easy to say in retrospect, looking at images of Rube Goldbergian kitchens and scenes of commute by jet pack. But Jonze and Barrett had the difficult task of extrapolating that simplification forward from today’s technological moment.

Theo’s home gives us one concise example. You could call it a “smart house,” but there’s little outward evidence of it. What makes it intelligent isn’t the whizbang technology but rather simple, understated utility. Lights, for example, turn off and on as Theo moves from room to room. There’s no app for controlling them from the couch; no control panel on the wall. It’s all automatic. Why? “It’s just a smart and efficient way to live in a house,” says Barrett.

Today’s smartphones were another object of Barrett’s scrutiny. “They’re advanced, but in some ways they’re not advanced whatsoever,” he says. “They need too much attention. You don’t really want to be stuck engaging them. You want to be free.” In Barrett’s estimation, the smartphones just around the corner aren’t much better. “Everyone says we’re supposed to have a curved piece of flexible glass. Why do we need that? Let’s make it more substantial. Let’s make it something that feels nice in the hand.”"
her  spikejonze  design  ai  film  technology  ui  future  minorityreport  diller+scofidio  elizabethdiller  lizdiller  dillerscofidio  designfiction  speculativedesign  speculativefiction 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Delineating the Future – an interview with N O R M A L S / @lab_normals
"In recent years, the speculative design arms race has accelerated to a dizzying blur. In taking stock of the provocative fictions like those exhibited by Dunne & Raby, augmented by Keiichi Matsuda, or broadcast on Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, one can’t help but wonder: how do weird hyper-mediated futures translate into print? I’m happy to report that N O R M A L S new eponymous graphic novel series picks up where the 2011 Warren Ellis, Matt “D’Israeli” Brooker, and BERG comic SVK left off and really answers that question with gusto. For the past few months, I’ve been flipping through creative duo Cedric Flazinksi and Aurélien Michon’s three 80-page self-described ‘design research journals’ and I’ve been simultaneously awed by the gritty clarity of the near-future scenarios they delineate, and floored by the interlocking networks of ideas that are at play. This work is a strange combination of vital, sardonic, disturbing, and brilliant, and has some meaningful contributions to offer to conversations about representation and prototyping in design fiction-related practices. In celebration of the forthcoming release of a limited-edition 500 copy run box set of the first three books in the series (which just became available for pre-order), Cedric and Aurélien have participated in a super-detailed interview about the graphic novels and their broader practice. We’re really excited to have N O R M A L S contributing to the first issue of HOLO and I strongly advise that you don’t sleep on this publication."
futurism  speculativefiction  designfiction  future  futures  comics  blackmirror  normals  gregsmith  cedricflazinski  aurélienmichon  glvo  interviews 
december 2013 by robertogreco
normalfutu.re
"N O R M A L S is an independent creative group devoted to the practice of 'anticipation.' As of February 2012, the group is active producing speculative designs and exhibiting them in an epic piece of fiction.

After spending a few years researching and conceiving an entire portrait of future society, we are finally publishing our first three issues, comprising everything ranging from hair-plucking technology to automatic circumstantial social responses. The last two years, we have been working on it full-time, on our own, just like crazed and solitary monks. From a blank slate and a little wishful thinking, we've eventually come up with thick research folders, custom-coded tools, isbn numbers, but most importantly: an uncompromised object. This is probably the most meaningful thing we've ever done. Studied in its every detail, beyond our own limits. And it was fun as hell.

Of course, we couldn't have made it without the help and support of our friends, families, and the awesome people we've met along the way. So thank you, and enjoy!

N O R M A L S
Cedric Flazinski — design
Aurélien R. Michon — stories"

[See also: http://www.creativeapplications.net/theory/delineating-the-future-an-interview-with-n-o-r-m-a-l-s/ and http://mixtur.es/normalshop/ ]
normals  futurism  speculativefiction  designfiction  future  futures  comics  cedricflazinski  aurélienmichon  glvo  france 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Workalong: Critical Design / Design Fiction lecture finally written up. (loooooong)
[A very thorough catalog of "design fiction" examples]

"So futures. Design fiction, critical design, speculative design and all that stuff tends to be based in the future, or a futures, or futures. Why? Because it's a fertile playground and fair game. We're open to the suggestion of future images. It's how advertising works. It's evocative, it compounds hopes and fears and it's malleable. Most work isn't about the future, it's about now, but you can explode the now into the future to make it much more visible and understandable.

The archetypal quote. [WILLIAM GIBSON] This is one of the cornerstones of futures work. Somewhere, someone else has your future, and right now, your iPhone is someone else's future.We have to understand there's no kind of absolute rule for 'the' future. There is no 'the' future. There's just a bubbling and propagating mess of technologies and hopes and fears that sometimes arrange themselves into 'a' future.

So this is kind of where you aim at when thinking about the future. This is the futures cone, another one of those tools or symbols that comes up and over and over again. Uncertainty tells us that the future opens up to possibilities. The Google Glass future vision sits in that green preferable part but is unlikely to happen. Where it becomes interesting is exploring some of those wild cards that sit right on the outside. You lend that perspective to people and you can blow their minds. 'Hey there's this new technology and they say it'll do this, but what if it did this instead.'"



"Right, so this is the end and I want to leave you with some questions that I don't have answers to, having seen all of that stuff.

First up, 'Yes, but is it art?' Most of the projects I showed end up in a gallery. They're not sold in shops or made into real products, so how is this not art? There are cleverer people than I that could answer that question. I believe on some fundamental level that it's design because it uses the language of design to try and attract an audience. Because like I said earlier, it rearranges existing phenomena we can understand to give them new meaning and because it's for other people, not for the creator.

Secondly 'What if? ... Then what?' Critical design poses difficult questions and forces us to confront them, but then what? Once we have the questions and we have the provocation how do we deal with it, individually and societally? I don't know, I'm trying to figure that out.

'How do you measure success?' A question that is coming up more and more. You can measure the success of a normal design project by it's kickstarter funding or by units sold, but here we're not selling units or launching startups, we're trying to get people to deal with difficult things so how do you measure if that works? Well, there's a good spread of projects that get a lot of media attention so I guess that's a success, but is it enough?"
tobiasrevell  designfiction  speculativefiction  criticaldesign  design  futurism  2013  fionaraby  hertziantales  robots  superstudio  williamgibson  bigdog  saschapohflepp  goldeninstitute  power  normalcy  venkateshrao  anabjain  superflux  nickfoster  brucesterling  stanleykubrick  childrenofmen  diegetics  diegeticdesign  davidkirby  revitalcohen  prophecyprogram  stanleymilgram  phillippronnenburg  jamesbridle  berg  berglondon  littleprinter  newaesthetic  liamyoung  vincentfournier  josephpopper  larissasansour  peckhamouterspaceinitiative  cristinademiddel  hefinjones  welshspaceprogram  materials  3dprinting  markuskayser  thomasthwaites  toasterproject  jeremyhutchinson  cohenvanbalen  stelarc  choykafai  sputniko  agathahaines  unnaturalhistory  aihasegawa  synthetics  georgetremmel  shihofukuhara  art  canon  davidbenque  geopolitics  yosukeushigome  zoepapadopoulou  stacktivism  julianoliver  dunne&raby  anthonydunne  posthumanism 
december 2013 by robertogreco
End | misanthropology
"Nearly all the concepts of the modern social sciences and humanities found their genesis in the early modern period. There is widespread belief that these concepts are becoming worn out, stale, and obsolete. They not longer have the explanatory force they once did—if they ever hand any broad explanatory force at all. What connects the present to the seventeenth century, beyond a genealogy of concepts, is a shared context of radical scientific, technological, and social change. Just as medieval concepts were not adequate in early modernity, modern concepts may not—likely are not—adequate to the present and whatever comes next.

These early modern concepts rested upon a new understanding of the relation between the human and the non-human. I have used the term speculative anthropology to designate the attempt to situate beings into their proper domains. I have claimed that this is a speculative activity closer to science fiction, fantasy and horror than it is to science or philosophy. Lacking an adequate knowledge of reality, but wanting to have knowledge of that reality, we are forced to speculate—to project an image of the world on to the world. Of course, the image can never do justice to the world just as the world can never do justice to the image. This is where philosophical (or scientific) anthropology comes into play: given the speculative imagining of the world, how can a coherent system or framework be guaranteed? How, if the world is imagined to be causally determined matter in motion, can there be freedom? How can societies and social relations be voluntary?



Contemporary speculative anthropology has not yet solidified into a coherent whole, but its contours are gradually coming into view—a gene centred account of life, a neuron centred account of the mind, and that these can be combined like bits of computer code to produce synthetic forms of life. The speculative co-ordinates established in early modernity are rapidly decomposing, but have not yet been replaced. Now is an important time for social scientists—and humanists—to intervene, just as our forebears did in the seventeenth century. In order to do this, we must embrace speculation because speculation is unavoidable; the question is not “Should we have speculative anthropology?” but how will we imagine ourselves and our relation to the world around us?

Today I read that a scientist believes he has convincing evidence that life on Earth began on Mars. “We are all Martians” the newspaper headlines read. That “life here began out there” has been a science fiction trope for a long time, ranging from H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness to Ronald D. Moore’s “re-imagining” of the “Battlestar Galactica” television series to the recent movie “Prometheus.” Speculative fiction has already beat science and this speculation is already armed with a great deal of cultural currency.

The social sciences and humanities are always being asked to justify their existence. Why should sociology departments receive funding when engineers are making space probes and business schools are finding ways to monetize your social media accounts? This is why sociologists and philosophers and science fiction authors are necessary. An astrobiologist can determine if life here came from out there, but only speculative anthropologists can make sense of this. What if our home—Earth—is not our home? What if there is no difference between synthetic life and “natural” life? What if the processing powers of computers exceed that of brains? Charles Butler, Thomas Hobbes, Samuel Pufendorf, and John Locke were addressing the seventeenth century version of this problem. This speculative anthropology shaped modernity, but that era is passing. Speculative anthropology cannot be avoided—we must take up this challenge and, with it, attempt to address and correct the horrors early modern speculative anthropology unleashed upon the world: vivisection, factory farms, genocide, the commodification of life, the wholesale extinction of entire ecosystems, and the destruction of the global environment."
socialsciences  speculativefiction  science  anthropology  sociology  fiction  designfiection  sciencefiction  scifi  2013  craigmcfarlane  via:annegalloway 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Counting Sheep
"Counting Sheep: NZ Merino in an Internet of Things is a three-year research project (2011-2014) based in the School of Design, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Led by Dr Anne Galloway, our work explores the role that cultural studies and design research can play in supporting public engagement with the development and use of science and technology.

The Internet of Things is a vision for computing that uses a variety of wireless identification, location, and sensor technologies to collect information about people, places and things - and make it available via the internet. Today's farms generate and collect enormous amounts of data, and we're interested in what people can do with this information - as well as what we might do with related science and technology in the future.

Over the past two years we've travelled around the country, visiting merino stations, going to A&P shows and shearing competitions, and spending time in offices and labs, talking with breeders, growers, shearers, wool shandlers, scientists, industry representatives, government policy makers and others - all so that we could learn as much as possible about NZ merino. Then we took what we learned and we started to imagine possible uses for these technologies in the future production and consumption of merino sheep and products.

This website showcases our fictional scenarios and we want to know what you think!"

[See also: http://www.designculturelab.org/projects/counting-sheep-project-overview/
http://www.designculturelab.org/projects/counting-sheep-research-outputs/ ]
annegalloway  design  research  sheep  animals  merino  newzealand  speculativefiction  internetofthings  technology  science  computing  sensors  spimes  designfiction  countingsheep  boneknitter  permalamb  growyourownlamb  iot 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Anab Jain: Designing the future
"Anab Jain talks about design in a future world of insect cyborgs, mass surveillance, DNA monetization and guerilla infrastructure. "This sort of speculative work explores the remarkable potential of technology and its new experiential aesthetics.""

[See also: http://www.superflux.in/work/staying-with-the-trouble ]

[Alt video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-stunrZcB24 ]
anabjain  superflux  design  future  cyborgs  surveillance  infrastructure  speculativedesign  designfiction  biotech  biotechnology  genetics  science  nearfuture  robots  bostondynamics  23andme  2013  drones  jugaad  thenewnormal  bees  humanism  bodies  humans  vision  blind  prosthetics  memory  consciousness  supervision  film  storytelling  speculativefiction  shanzai  china  innovation  resilience  ingenuity  poptech  body 
november 2013 by robertogreco
The Future Mundane - Core77
[Also posted here: http://hellofosta.com/2013/10/07/the-future-mundane/ ]

1. The Future Mundane is filled with background talent. …

When designing for the future, designers regularly design for the hero, a trickle-down aspirational super-user intended to give us all something to hope for. But perhaps we could, for once, design for those innumerable, un-named characters of Hollywood, the extras or 'background talent.' Perhaps we should look past Bruce Willis and design for the 'man at bus stop', 'girl at bar' or 'taxi driver.' While this approach is less aspirational or sexy, these characters are much closer to the humans to whom you are telling your story. When your goal isn't entertainment, you don't need a hero. …

2. The Future Mundane is an accretive space…

When we render the future as a unique visual singularity, we remove from it any contemporary hooks. When designing a new screwdriver, it's important to remember that it will probably sit in a toolbox filled with other tools, perhaps inherited from a previous generation. …

3. The Future Mundane is a partly broken space. …

We often assume that the world of today would stun a visitor from fifty years ago. In truth, for every miraculous iPad there are countless partly broken realities: WiFi passwords, connectivity, battery life, privacy and compatibility amongst others. The real skill of creating a compelling and engaging view of the future lies not in designing the gloss, but in seeing beyond the gloss to the truths behind it. As Frederik Pohl famously said, "a good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam. …

Counter one: What about visionary projects which act as a north star, an unattainable but exciting future? …

Counter two: By assuming that the future will proceed as today, we won't embrace anything out of the ordinary. …

Counter three: Not all design needs to so pragmatic. …"
designfiction  future  futurism  design  2013  nickfoster  speculativefiction  technology  futuremundane 
october 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
Hope, Or Where Other People May Live Another Kind Of Life | Design Culture Lab
"“In reinventing the world of intense, unreproducible, local knowledge, seemingly by a denial or evasion of current reality, fantasists are perhaps trying to assert and explore a larger reality than we now allow ourselves. They are trying to restore the sense — to regain the knowledge — that there is somewhere else, anywhere else, where other people may live another kind of life.

The literature of imagination, even when tragic, is reassuring, not necessarily in the sense of offering nostalgic comfort, but because it offers a world large enough to contain alternatives and therefore offers hope.”

~ Ursula K. Le Guin, Cheek by Jowl: Talks & Essays on How & Why Fantasy Matters

Quotes like this remind me of Le Guin’s anthropological approach to storytelling. Hope, for me, has always been most easily grasped through cultural diversity. Somewhere, sometime, there have been people who lived differently–and it worked."
culture  diversity  culturaldiversity  storytelling  alternatives  imagination  reality  anthropology  writing  fantasy  fiction  2012  annegalloway  ursualeguin  designfiction  speculativefiction  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
A Networked Learning Project: The Connected Day
[Broken link, alternative refs here:
https://steelemaley.io/2014/03/06/a-networked-learning-ecology/
http://www.networkedresearch.net/index.php/Networked_Learning_Ecology_Design
http://steelemaley.io/2015/10/25/the-rise-of-micro-schools/ ]

"Piper is a 15 year old who lives in Midcoast Maine, US. A year ago, Piper heard about a new way to learn, and decided to take part in a new learning experience called the Maine Networked Learning Project. Known as “the Mesh” to participants, this learning ecology offered Piper the chance to apply her passion for learning in highly experiential and collaborative ways with groups of young people of varied ages, adult and youth mentors with knowledge territory specialties and organizations focused on ensuring sustainable and resilient societies, economies, and the environment. This is a snapshot of her day…"
connectivism  cck11  thomassteele-maley  maine  mlearning  mobilelearning  mobile  networks  netoworking  lcproject  bighere  longhere  bignow  elearning  self-organizedlearning  self-organizedlearningenvironment  self-organization  sugatamitra  mesh  meshnetworks  twitter  googlereader  projectbasedlearning  realworld  farming  sustainability  ecology  projects  local  glocalism  experientiallearning  meetups  education  speculativefiction  designfiction  pbl  agriculture  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco

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