Designing Futures with Thomas Markussen & Eva Knutz
The first pill of this edition has started with Thomas Markussen & Eva Knutz, from the Social Design Unit at the University of Southern Denmark, facing the topic of design futures. Critics of design fiction, critical design, and speculativ edesign have pointed towards the approaches being too much engaged in either distant futuristic technologies or elitist dilemmas with little or no interest for people facing “real” social and environmental problems. In this module, 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 used to design 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.
Students will work with a proposed speculative what-if scenario (in the year 2033) called Energy Ville, a future city where energy is limited, super expensive, and monopolized by the big tech giants running data centers. The overall assignment will be to develop speculative products and services and design a future user scenario that aligns with the (speculative) world of the year 2033, using a method toolbox from design fiction. At the end of the module, students will communicate their projects through a storyboard involving possible user scenarios, a set of techno-material experiments, and a short concept video/video sketch that communicates the experience of the proposal.