Went to a great alumni event on Thursday night hosted by Design Interactions and Architecture departments at the RCA about speculative storytelling called ‘Parallel Worlds’. An opportunity to see projects that hint at alternative sets of underlying values and alternative political/economic/social situations.
It was a real opportunity to see some graduates and current students work in a 7 minute pecha kucha style presentation format. It had the essence of being in a crit but with beer and without the criticism!
For me it was the first time I had seen architecture student’s work from the platform run by Gerard and previously Fiona. As it was a night of storytelling about possible, preferable, plausible, potential futures each presenter had a particular concern relating to social and cultural implications of technologies/scientific developments ranging from the post-antibiotic era and atavism, nuclear waste and the cyborg self to energy pasts, biometrics and gait analysis at the airport. Each was expressed with an opening question and then a description of a scenario/ investigation using film, montage, design prototypes etc.
The real interesting thing for me that came out of that evening was the chance to see the similarities and differences in how the two courses speculate, communicate and develop projects. There are obviously different guidance curriculums for DI and for ADS4. DI deals in broad scope and in depth but with no direct methodologies or ways of exploring something and not always a defined end point i.e. services, products, films or installation or interventions. I realised the ADS4 have obviously very different end goals to any project explorations, they will inevitably design a building.
Presenters and their project summaries:
DRIVING WITH THE JONES_NICOLA KOLLER (ADS04 2003) Driving with the Jones explores a world in which the English countryside might finally succumb to tragi-pathogens, falling EEC subsides and ever decreasing profits.
THE RACE_ MICHAEL BURTON (DI 2007) www.michael-burton.co.uk Can human metagenomics give us new ideals of health, enhancement and success as a “super-organism”?
THE GREAT INDOORS _ TOMAS KLASSNIK (ADS04 ) _ [www.klassnik.com] Do we still want to participate directly in society? or would we prefer to interact solely through the comforting distance of the internet?
ORGANIC HYBRIDS AND THE POSTBIOLOGICAL WORLD _ REVITAL COHEN (DI 2008) revitalcohen.com Could cross-breeding of the natural kingdoms give birth to new sorts of cyborgs?
THE RADIANCE RESORT _ RACHEL HARDING (ADS04 2009)
Can embracing the health benefits of toxicity persuade society to trust nuclear power?
THE GOLDEN INSTITUTE _ SASCHA POHFLEPP (DI 2009) What would have become of the future of energy if Ronald Reagan had never happened?
ETERNALLY YOURS : HUMAN(ITY) SHIELD _ CLAIRE JAMIESON (ADS04 2009) Can the disposal of nuclear waste be ensured for 10,000 years by the creation of a synthetic mythology?
SELF DEFENSE : BERNHARD HOPFENGAERTNER (DI 2009) How will the disclosure of our private emotions alter the way we see ourselves?
CHAMBERS WHARF _ SAFIA QURESHI (ADS04 2010)
Can a new school typology remove societies fear of children?
THE PHYSICS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE- NELLY BEN HAYOUN (DI 2009) “How can I make a galaxy in my kitchen sink, professor?”
Stuart's Found Futures 'ambient forecasting' postcard
Stuart Candy, a fabulous futurist chap of The Sceptical Futuryst blog fame will be joining the current Design Interactions MA first years in London for several sessions later this month about the future implications of synthetic biology, to help introduce them to futures and its usefulness in supporting design exploration — and vice versa. Im super jealous that I will not be a student during those weeks but am looking forward to being able to attend in a variety of gatherings he will be involved in. Including an event at the RCA between Architecture and Design Interactions focusing on ‘What if’ story telling. ‘Parallel Worlds’: projects that hint at alternative sets of underlying values, alternative political/economic/social situations.e about story telling.
I first met Stuart during the Lancaster University ‘Designing Safe Living’ Conference last July whilst I was the programme rapporteur for the resarch programme. He is a fantastically enthusiastic chap who is currently a researcher at the infamous Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, and research fellow of The Long Now Foundation. A lecturer and PhD student in political science at UH-Manoa, and has worked with Jake Dunagan who is now at the IFTF on a variety of proejcts including FoundFutures, a series of public multimedia interventions that tangibly manifest alternative futures and create meaningful encounters with possibility and installations such as the “Postcards from the Future” project.
He also wrote a really interesting piece on his blog about the Tribal Futures open source design research and commerical partnership project between RCA DI and Vodafone that I was involved in as an embedded reporter. Commenting on the pedagogical approach this project had and its open source design approach the research blog fostered to create a communicaiton platform between students and Vodafone stakeholders: buzz by association it might also be called!
The Jessica Post RCA Adventure Happiness Diagram
A presentation given to the 1st and 2nd years of MA Design Interactions at the RCA about my Post RCA adventures since 2007. A great opportunity for reflecting on my past and deciding on my future. Quite a weird feeling going back to college but was nice to meet with the students especially to also be sharing my presentation time with Anab Jain and Susanna Soares. There was an overall optimistic feeling especially as these students will be graduating smack bang in the middle of credit crunch. There was a group wave of joy as we all decided that these students wil be changing the face of recession and by their very enthusiasm and forward critical thinking approaches they will be creating the new design economy. Design is kicking ass at last!
On Wednesday 17th, the government think tank, FORESIGHT, will be launching its Tackling Obesities report at the RSA, in London. Based on a 2 year project it outlines its investigations into the future of obesity in the UK, including its prediction that half the population could be obese within 25 years.
During summer 2006 I spent two months working as an intern alongside the FORESIGHT team to envision the impact of the predicted obesity epidemic over the next 50 years. I worked in collaboration with Michael Burton in the development of our scenarios which are highlighted in the images above. Each image represents a scenario based on a variety of topics relating to the many factors that contribute to the increase in obesity in the UK including food deserts, individual genetic make up, cultural stigma, built environment, education, choice etc.
Our work considered the evolution of the body in response to an overtly obesogenic environment and some proposals for tackling the problem. Our project aims to be a point of provocation informed by Foresight’s extensive consultation with leading world scientists, experts and other stakeholders in order to stimulate debate in Government as well as the general public.
More information about each scenario can be found at my website>.
Further news links related to the FORESIGHT report can be found here>