Once Upon A Place.. Architecture + Fiction Event

Once Upon A Place

Matthew Malpass turned me onto this curious sounding and intriguing event Once Upon A Place (haunted houses & imaginary cities) — the 1st International Conference on Architecture and Fiction, which might count as a “that’s weird” / “plate of shrimp” moment because I was just describing to Jeffrey Paffendorf, who I just met, why I was interested in architecture — and the answer is because, from my still-limited insights, most architects construct quite lovely fictions of things in the sense that these ideas of theirs will likely be materialized only in imagery and stories and renderings, which I think is a powerful skill and ability.


I love the sound of this event and what it might actually contain. And I’m sure Portugal is lovely in the Fall..

6th Swiss Design Network Conference – "Negotiating futures. Design fiction."


From the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition at MoMA (NYC) in 2008.

negotiating futures. design fiction.
6th Swiss Design Network Conference
October 28 – 30 2010 in Basel, Switzerland

It’s super far off (but not the calls for stuff), but this upcoming event next year looks intriguing!

Designers see the world not simply as it is, but rather as it could be. In this perspective, the world is a laboratory to explore the contingency of the existing and the thinking in options. Imaginations of the contra factual are a key source for the creation of alternative political, technological, social, or economic constellations of artefacts, interfaces, signs, actors, and spaces. At the same time, strategies of materialization are pivotal to shift the boundary between the fictional and the real and to finally bring possible new realities into being. The conference addresses the questions of how fictions are designed and how the multiplicity of possible new futures is negotiated and realized.

Important dates 2010

March 08th – Call for papers
April 18th – Deadline paper abstracts
June 3rd – Notification of acceptance
July 18th – Deadline papers
July 18th – Call for workshops
September 27th – Registration
Oktober 28th – Conference opens

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Mobile Media 09 at UCLA D|MA

Short note to call your attention to an event at UCLA’s Design Media Arts department beginning this Thursday evening, November 12 with a keynote by the barely containable Kevin Slavin (area/code), following on with three panels on Friday November 13th (damnit..) beginning at 10:30a and some workshops (all listed here) — as of this writing, there will be an iPhone SDK workshop, a workshop on Python + Arduino + Nokia N900, and a OpenGL ES Primer workshop, all held on Saturday run through the wonderfully grassroot-y LA Public Schools.

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SXSW 2010 Design Fiction Panel

Saturday September 05, 18.51.47

Bird Puppet, in Linz, Austria.

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.

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Upcoming Talks, Crits, Lectures

A quick dispatch to mention a few upcoming events at which I will be sharing thoughts, new materials and so forth.

On October 15th and 16th I’ll be at the University of Michigan’s School of Art & Design, hosted John Marshall who is running an excellent recession-proof studio called Smart Surfaces. (John and I have been nattering like a couple of old hens about interdisciplinary work practices and have a short essay on this topic appearing in a forthcoming book called Digital Blur: Creative Practices at the Boundaries of Architecture, Design and Art which will presumably be available at some point this fall.) I’m just really curious how to teach design that is more congruent with innovation than styling and I think John has that bit all figured out. My cost of entry is a lecture or two and crits, which seems a bargain to me.

On November 6th and 7th and 8th I’ll be at Carnegie Mellon University, hosted by Golan Levin to participate in the Mobile Art & Code Symposium and Workshop that he and his colleagues have organized. I’ll be doing a workshop on concept tactics and technical strategies for designing experiences for mobile contexts.

On November 13th I’ll be moderating a panel for the Mobile Symposium organized by UCLA’s Design Media Arts. This day of presentations and panel discussions will explore how emerging networked devices are changing the ways we communicate, entertain ourselves, and explore the city. They day will feature nine presentations grouped around three themes: new interface concepts, networked games, and geospatial media. (Along with this, on November 12th, Kevin Slavin will be launching the symposium with a lecture at 6pm. On November 14th there will be workshops all day — check it out.)

And then over the United States Thanksgiving weekend — November 26th ’til the 29thish — I’ll be in Paris (along with Adam and Nicolas) at this curious sounding New Industrial World Forum, which sounds like either an overconfident workers’ revolution or the semantically gaffed name of a Hong Kong shoelace manufacturer. In either case, or if it is in fact a forum for the new industrial world, I’ll be describing the 7 corners of an evolved networked episteme. Just to be a bit numerico-biblico and Francomantic about it all.
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Lift Asia 09 Jeju Korea, Sept 17-18

Lift Asia 09, Jeju Korea, Sept 17-18 2009

Just a short note about the Lift Asia 09 conference in a month, September 17-18 2009. I’ll be speaking on something to do with either minor undesired paternity notoriety or, perhaps more likely — building your own world to get the future you deserve.

Either way, I am looking forward to once again sluicing into a Lift conference. Parenthetically, the last Lift Asia I went (I guess this is only the 3rd one) way too long ago was in Seoul and was the inaugural “Asia” edition of Lift and I had a terrific time, although through a fantastic bit of misunderstanding, I thought the conference was two days, rather than two hours.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

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Sorry displaced atmospheric molecules for traveling so far for a two hour event. Ah, but the time to connect face-to-face with friends was well worth the time. And, I forbade myself from too many epic trips for a good bit this year, despite the temptation for such.

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