Delving into Design fiction with Thomas Markussen

Critics of design fiction, critical design and speculative design have pointed towards the approaches being too much engaged in either distant futuristic technologies or elitist dilemmas with little or no interests for people facing “real” social and environmental problems. In this pill by Thomas Markussen, design fiction will be brought into service design in order to explore how the approach can be a way of addressing critical challenges to our society.

Design fiction can be conceived of as a speculative experimental approach to the design of future scenarios that do not take market-driven values, consumerist ideologies, economical constraints and technological possibilities of the here and now as a starting point. Rather, by using techniques and methods to suspend disbelief of what is possible, plausible and probable, practitioners of design fiction engage in alternative ways of future-making to discover unforeseen potentialities.

As an introduction to the module, lectures will be given on the origins of design fiction and recent developments within the discipline. Although design fiction is often conflated with critical and speculative design there are some significant differences that will be laid out. In addition, key theoretical concepts, tools and methods used in design fiction will be introduced, which the participants will get first-hand experience with through a series of design experiments.

Over the duration of three days participants will be working with these tools and methods to address the aftermath of “the Milano Blackout”, an incident that came as a shock to the people of Milan, and which for ever will change their ways of living, thinking and communicating.

At the end of the module, the projects of the participants will be presented in the form of storyboards, techno-material experiments and concept videos.

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