One Step Beyond

Critical Design (design fiction) Using design to ask qestions rathe than design answers. Trying to get people to think about things rather than practicality. To think about the form, scale, and interaction. Use design to change the expectation of technology. Want to start dicussions of the future. Present possible futures and ask if this is what we want. Can a small design spin off a larger idea.
Affirmative design=reinforces how things are, power structures at play
vs. Critical design = rejects how things are now and provides critiques and alternative values.
A/B, A Manifesto, Dunne & Raby (2009) questioning how things are and how could things be.

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Should we as designers be concerned with the issues of the world? Produce things that have some market value. Issues with sustainability or furthering capitalism? We are actually part of the problem. With other types of design, their use of materials is critical, is it sustainable. But as interaction designers, we have other things to consider

As members of society, should we be satisfied with how things are? or strive for a better world?

How can we, as designers influence change for the better?

Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby – known for Critical design. They wanted to take industrial design (making money, selling products) and question what it stands for and it’s values. Introspective. Industrial designers critically analysizing the field of industrial design.

Technological Dream Series NO.1, Robots Dunne & Raby (2007):
(purpose, audience, role of designer, techniques)
Focus on the different interactions and what the objects invite us to do. different shapes, form, functions. Behaviors and abilites of the “robots” challenges our ideas of what robots are. Alternative power relations, with the human maid taking care of the robots. Think about if this is art, design, or both?
The conversation is the value of their work. They do use craft making skills to make protoypes but for different ends.

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Critique of critical design . Bardzell et al (2012); Bardzell & Bardzell (2013)
is it critical at all? How do they actually do critical design? What counts as being affirmative? and who decides that, them? Is this actually design or art? could it be both?? Is it needed? are they actually doing what they say they want to do? is a change happening? privilege and disconnect.
Who’s future is this? Western European, American, this doesn’t represent a majority of the world.
They dont present solutions… just raise questions but don’t actually push the change.

Design object as a prototype, design object as installation, design object a a model. Blur the lines of the real and the fiction. (Dunne 1999, p84).

Speculative Approaches : presented as a workbook. concepts, embodied as sketches or protoypes. Not thought through, not viable products. Evocative to break out of frame of reference Provactive, paint a dire dystopian view of things. All the practicalities are passed over and because it is visually pleasing, it can get people on board.
Gaver & Martin (2000) p,215. makes people think of how things might be if these made up products actually existed. Help for brainstorming ideas. Not solving any problems, but just want people to think about values.

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We try to find the things that fall between desirable and profitable.
Future cone= where we are now, over time, the uncertainty. We usually are presented with the probable, but when Speculative design comes into play, you can start thinkin about the plausible and push the limits to possible.


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There was a shift from Critical design to Speculative design.
tendency to focus on science and tech, Implications of emergining technology. Not taking the tech as a starting point. Testing technical possibilities.

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Design Fiction (key players: Bleecker, Kirby, Sterling)
the interplay between science fiction and science fact. Sketching out the future without thinking so much about technological restrictions. Getting people to step into this world because it is somewhat feasible. These ideas come from the world and can open up possibilies.
Design fiction vs. Critical/speculative design = how does this fit into this world (story)? but not fleshed out in speculative design. You can see these objects as normal, rational and not too far out there. Doesn’t try to create change or provoke change.
Many ideas from sci-fi films have come into existence now.

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Notes taken from Clint Heyer’s slides “Beyond the norm”


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