SxSW 2010 PanelSxSW 2010 The Design Fiction Panel
SxSW 2010 Panel
The Design Fiction Panel
DESIGN FICTIONFACILITATIONPANELPRESENTATION
CONFERENCEDESIGN FICTIONPRESENTATIONSXSWTALKVIDEO
SxSW 2010 Design Fiction Panel
SxSW 2010 Design Fiction Panel

Project Summary

This panel will present and discuss the idea of “design fiction”, a kind of design genre that expresses itself as a kind of science-fiction authoring practice. Design fiction crafts material visions of different kinds of possible worlds. Design’s various ways of articulating ideas in material can be seen as a kind of practice close to writing fiction, creating social objects (like story props) and experiences (like predicaments or scenarios). In this way, design fiction may be a practice for thinking about and constructing and shaping possible near future contexts in which design-led experiences are created that are different from the canonical better-faster-cheaper visions owned by corporate futures.

Client: SxSW

Client URL: https://nearfuturelaboratory.com

Team: Near Future Laboratory

Project Year: 2010

Project Duration: 6 Weeks

Published On: Apr 22, 2024, 23:34

Updated On: Apr 22, 2024, 23:34

Written By: Julian Bleecker

Project Semantic Tags CONFERENCEDESIGN FICTIONPRESENTATIONSXSWTALKVIDEO

The Project

A panel for SxSW to introduce the concept of Design Fiction. This was about a year or two after I wrote the original essay Design Science Fact and Fiction

The Outcomes

Organizing and hosting this panel was a high point as it validated the thesis of Design Fiction as a relevant and complimentary approach, mindset and methodology for doing 'futures work'. Having Stuart Candy, Jake Dunagen, Sascha Pohflepp, Jennifer Leonard and, of course, Bruce Sterling participate further underscored that validation.
SxSW 2010 Design Fiction Panel
SxSW 2010 Design Fiction Panel

Well, last Saturday the SXSW panel I had proposed on Design Fiction presented our stuff. It was 7 minutes each for myself, Sascha Pohflepp, Stuart Candy and Jake Dunagen with Jennifer Leonard doing an excellent job of wrangling and moderating. We invited Bruce Sterling up for the discussion session and he lofted several excellent flash-bangs, many of which are still ringing in the #defi search on Twitter. We’ll have to wait for the video.

There was, of course, so much more to finish and I promised myself I’d put together in a blog post what I had hopelessly hoped I would be able to cram into 7 minutes — but which I quickly realized as I was doing the final assembly would never, ever fit in that short a time. So, I limited myself quite a bit as we had agreed as a panel so that we could have a productive and fruitful presentation.

Thanks to Hugh Forrest and the whole South by Southwest crew for helping make this all go super smooth.

My original post on the proposal:

It’s so far away I can barely see to it, but at SXSW 2010, in March a bunch of us will be doing a panel called Design Fiction:Props, Prototypes, Predicaments Communicating New Ideas. I managed to wrench the longer description I had written into the SXSW panel proposal form with some edits, but I’ll give you the original here, along with the original title, which wouldn’t fit..

Design Fiction: Using Props, Prototypes and Speculation In Design

This panel will present and discuss the idea of “design fiction”, a kind of design genre that expresses itself as a kind of science-fiction authoring practice. Design fiction crafts material visions of different kinds of possible worlds.

Design’s various ways of articulating ideas in material can be seen as a kind of practice close to writing fiction, creating social objects (like story props) and experiences (like predicaments or scenarios). In this way, design fiction may be a practice for thinking about and constructing and shaping possible near future contexts in which design-led experiences are created that are different from the canonical better-faster-cheaper visions owned by corporate futures.

This panel will share design fiction projects and discuss the implications for design, strategy and technology innovation. In particular, how can design fiction bolster bolster the communication of new design concepts by emphasizing rich, people-focused storytelling rather than functionality? How can design fiction become part of a process for exploring speculative near futures in the interests of design innovation? What part can be played in imagining alternative histories to explore what “today” may have become as a way to underscore that there are no inevitabilities — and that the future is made from will and imagination, not determined by an “up-and-to-the-right” graph of better-faster-cheaper technologies.

This panel was especially significant as it included Sascha Pohflepp, a dear friend, very thoughtful, intelligent, funny creative guy who sadly passed away unexpectedly in June of 2019. I had been challenged to obtain the tape recording of this panel from SxSW. Some hassles with permissions from a guy who has passed away. It was weird and frustrating. I don’t remember how I eventually go the tape, but I got it finally.

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