Extend the Future- By Jacqueline Briggs

Critical Design is critical thought translated into materiality.[1]

Dunne and Raby are two designers who use design to evoke discussion and debate amongst designers and the general public about societal, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies. [2]

robotallgirlcopyDunne and Raby,Technological Dreams Series: No.1, Robots, 2007.

huggablemushroomTechnological Dreams Series: No.1, Robots, 2007.

0meat_portrait_400aIS THIS YOUR FUTURE? 2004

These two designers instill critical and speculative design within their practice. When developing further research into our scenario design to ultimately create a designed product, Dunne and Raby’s views were potent in understanding how to design into the future.

Tonkinwise’s anaylsis of Dunne and Raby’s ‘Speculative Everything’[3] gave some insight on how we should effectively ‘future.’ Dunne and Raby’s main point that resonated with my train of thought was their notion of speculative and critical design. Both design notions are ultimately to make us think, raise awareness, exposing assumptions, provoking action and sparking debate. This is fundamentally what our future design would want to aim to achieve. Wouldn’t everyones?

To know more about critical design and Dunne and Raby this is a great interview.

The Cone of Futures[4] is also discussed which provides a template to understand that different futuring can be probable, plausible and deliberately implausible. Dunne and Raby state that they prefer to work in a space between possible and plausible rather than plausible and probable as it opens up more imaginative and thought provoking futures. This changed the pattern of our thoughts when designing. Our future, centered around an OS system which enhances our communication seems like a highly plausible future as deemed by many examples already shown in the western world,[5] such as Siri on Apple Iphones.

Futures_cone-GIFCone of Futures

It only seems logical to push the scenario, which was originally based thirty years from now to a hundred. By extending the length of time[6] it irrationally gives a designer more freedom of expression and imagination. Our design went from an artificial intelligence system to a full embodied, personalized system that can be injected into each of our bodies. Once we had come up with this design idea it felt as though the ideas relating to this system could be endless and this happened just by pushing the envelope a little more to a design which takes a little more time for our brains to comprehend.

Dunne and Raby have an important final point within their book Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction and Social Dreaming. They insist that there is no alternative to consumerism, which is a statement widely up for debate.[7] While designing an object in relation to our future scenario I realized that Dunne and Raby were entirely right. Designing an object for the future essentially comes back to consumerism, who will buy the design and on what scale. Subconsciously the notion of consumerism affects most designer’s processes. In our final future scenario the company who develops this design will become a leader of the world, becoming so powerful from this notion of consumerism that it has over ruled the conventional beliefs of a government.

[1] Tonkinwise, C. 2014, How we Future, Cambridge: MIT Press.

[2] Dunne and Raby, A, F. Critical Design FAQ, < http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/content/bydandr/13/0&gt;.

[3] Dunne, A, Raby, F. 2013, Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction and Social Dreaming. The MIT Press.

[4] Voros, J. 2001. A Primer of Future Studies, Foresight and the Use of Scenarios. Foresight Bulletin, Swinburne University of Technology.

[5] 2014. List of Operating Systems, Wikipedia, < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_operating_systems&gt;.

[6] Carlson, D. 2006. Design (In) Future, David Report. < http://davidreport.com/the-report/issue-3-2006-design-in-the-futu/&gt;.

[7] Heinberg, R. 2013, The Brief, Tragic Regin of Consumerism- and the birth of a happy alternative, Post Carbon Institute, < http://www.postcarbon.org/the-brief-tragic-reign-of-consumerism-and-the-birth-of-a-happy-alternative/&gt;.


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