Speculative design and Valentine’s Day What a weird day with weird design stuff going on, stepping away from logic. Valentine’s day consumer products feel like a strange non-logical thing. Shows what strange assumptions and meanings we attach to things.
There is no such thing as a bad design, just unsuitable design
What is good deisng, what is bad design in a non-logical context like Valentine’s day?
History of Speculative Design
Interesting time to be thinking about truth, is this a real thing we’re designing. nigel farage european pariament, sign designed to be seen on tv, changing the meaning of a situation. How objects can change the meaning of things. Trustworthyness of objects and images. Fake news etc.
Critical design has a long history of people questioning what art and design means.
Critical design uses speculative design proposals to challene narrow assumptions proconceptions and givvens about the role products play in everyday life
Anthony DUnne and Fiona Raby
Can reflecting on design practice inform work, serve as a teaching tool
Gentlemen’s Valentine Writer Victorian Valentine’s day cheat sheet. Collection of poetry to write on a valentine’s note to someone. Would also give you an idea of what the other person might write back.
Politics, industry get involved in what love history Mechanizing, standardising affection
Donald Rumsfeld Things we know we know, things we don’t know we know. Things we know we don’t know, things we don’t we don’t know.
- Known knowns
- unknown knowns
- known unknowns
- unkown unknowns
The last one is the scariest - there’s stuff in the world you can’t engage with.
Who would take up the internet, what might be possible. Aol ad from the 90s. Get 10 free hours!. Assumptions about how people will use the internet - two white dudes in a standard house with a standard phone line. You get the next iteration of that with Google Glass - small narrow idea of some dude’s boring life. Call me maybe video unknown unkowns - the aol people in the 90s could never have predicted this
waitrose 2 flat iron beef stakes heart butter Meat, food, heart shapes has so much meaning attached to iteration
dressing the meat of tomorrow what happens to the next generation of bioengineered food does it still have to look like meat, what’s our expectation. You can cut things in a way that doesn’t have anything to do with the animal it comes from. If we get engineered food, what is it gonna look like?
Selfmade christina agapakis & sissle thomas whats our gistoric relationship with food, look =ing at early production methods of cheese. How do we spereate things we eat and we find gross gto swipes from peoples armpits, feet and hair and used that to make cheese. Doesn it matter where the bacteria comes from? Raises questions about prodcust around us, who made things why are they There
Nightingale Farms Tomatoes Fake Farms, made up branding by tesco. Way to cover up supply Chains. Make imported food aound more British, make people think they’re buying something local. Again a design intervention changes the product.
Uncertainty in designed objects donal trump inauguration cake cutting - ripped off a washington baker who made it for the Obama inauguration
In the copy the thing wasn’t edible - it was made from polystyrene. It’s signalling to be a cake, it serves a ceremonial function but it’s not actuall the cake.
Trump fake documents, folders with empty paper in it. Very perfomative, theatrical piece that was going on Amy berg tweet as someone who professionallly outsifts fictional universes
Fictional objects are used to make you think something is going on.
Hello, I am from Britain, you know, the one that got tricket by a bus £350 million a week leave campaign bus. A piece of work that is intended to convince people by the text and also by the presenation. Looks solid, but when you ask for details turns out it’s speculative.
Bearina - Ronen Kadushin What if sexual health objects were cheap 3d-printed, can be easily changed. Danger: log history of things that go into the body can have huge bad consequences. Idea of presenting something simply, giving the mode of production is hugely dangerous. Makes it seem like a easy fix, doesn’t really provoke a conversation about health.
Speculative desin can be about reframing cultural perceptiosn of things - artificial wombs (matrix). What would it mean to sperate out childbirth, different parts of family norms etc. What if artificial wombs existed. We create stuff to think things in new ways, not dicate the action
I wanna deliver a dolphin Ai Hasegawas
Seperate out childbirth from the idea of having children Plays with the idea of shock value, what are we shocked by. Unreality prompts you to think about birth etc
Black Mirror antitehsis of the matrix idea of having an online space where people find each other, movign away from cultural expectations of uploading your conciousness etc.
Are there villains in the field of speculative design / People who use the means of speculative design for nefarious purposes?
Theres def propaganda design - soviet russia. Story is baked into posters, books, obects, science your making. Spec design is not one thing, its contested. Spec design asks what if, propaganda says this is. What would the world look like if the carter admin had invested into state of statistics inc china, this is the size of the inauguration crowd propagada aims to shut down conversaiton, spec design broadens it.
Is it okay for your audience to be tricked by your spec design. Are fake memes a legitimate way to change people’s behaviour.
Power dynamics also a part of it - if it’s coming down from the top eg from the state or from the bottom up
How do you practice speculative design?
ocomes from academia, anthropology. Using design, technology to ask questions you would otherwise write a book about. Can do things, materialize things in ways that text cannot. You can write about teh cheese things but it doesn’t have the same audience reaction than doing the real thing. Encourage people to do critical thinking, inform other areas of design.
In our work we try to engage public, policymakers etc in global questions. Hows spec design different to art. A lot of the terminology comee from art.
The way people engage with somehing that is presented as ar vs design is very different. Huge proportion of the work is student projects - not made for the industry or academia. It is about testing boundries and stuff
People are saying we’re living in a spec design project / Stuff that’s happening in the world seems so inconceivable (eg President Trump), what is there left to do for a speculative designer?
Stuff is only unusual in a very small context.