Design Provocations: new perspectives on design

On Tuesday night I was kindly invited to an event organized by Ludic Group as part of their Creative Capital series of events hosted by the Hospital Club.

Entitled “DESIGN PROVOCATIONS: DEBATING DESIGN & DESIGN FOR DEBATE” the evening was a great opportunity to bring together those who design alternative futures to discuss the implications of emerging technologies in our lives. Obviously this is a topic close to my heart being as I am a graduate of the Design Interactions course at the RCA. I will always be someone who is investigating the bigger picture and the wider impact of this approach; applying the skills of the designer with art, science and technology as a way to discuss the continuation of now, the preferable, the probable, the potential.
The one thing I have felt since graduating is that there is no opportunity to actually discuss and debate what it is that we are doing, there is no obvious path for this way of working yet there has always been a way for people to express their ideas of speculative futures by telling stories.
Not that I feel that there is only one way to be a designer, but there could be a 3rd way, a pluralistic approach that applies design as a tool to highlight the importance of the complexity of humanity and the normative social and political systems we live in that we fit into or try to mashup or destroy.

Speakers included James King, Anab Jain, James Auger, Jack Mama, Dr.Marcos Cruz, and each were depicting their own way whether using objects, film, animation, architecture photography or ethnofictions to deal with the possibilities the impact of new and emerging technologies will and do have on our everyday lives and enforce us to reinterpret our social and political structures.

As quoted by Paola Antonelli design is evolving in response to the hugely complex changes in the world ..“Is the recent dialogue between designers and other disciplines mutating design and therefore mutating our world?”…and in doing so the audience and the facilitators to this approach in design is also changing.

Is this kind of design and futures thinking futile? Who should it be addressing, where can this way of working be most affective? Is it design to facilitate? How will it change public engagement and our individual understanding of how our futures could go? Does anyone care about the future or should we stick to designing new FMCG and ways to solve current misunderstandings of our world from a ‘social’ design perspective and deal with the now?

Anyway, just some thoughts…

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