Design Fiction Workshop at UX Week 2011

So — enough yammering. Time for some hammering. It’ll be workshops from here to fore. Getting to work. Shirtsleeves. Lab coats. Smocks. Aprons. Hammers.

I’ll be doing a workshop later this summer — August 24 from 2-5:30, to be precise — at the UX Week week-ish long conference in San Francisco brought to you by the fine folks at Adaptive Path. It’s got the didactic title: How the Practice of Design Can Use Fiction to Create New Things. We’re done with fancy, clever, snarky titles for workshops.

It looks like a swell line-up. Old friends. New ones. Fun sounding workshops and methoducation sessions.

Sign up. It’ll be fun.


From Dick Fosbury to the guy who put wheels on luggage, creating disruptions to convention in positive ways has often meant looking at the world differently. Fiction, especially science fiction, is a way of telling a story about and then forcing one to think about the world by looking at it with a different lens.

Design can approach its creative and conceptual challenges to make things better, or to think differently or to disrupt convention by combining its practice with that of fiction.

In this workshop we will look at the practical ways of employing the rhetorical, creative and cinematic aspects of fiction to help think, act upon, design and create new things.

The principle is simple. If cinematic and literary fiction is able to help imagine and communicate things that may not be possible, how can these same forms of story telling help design practices create disruptive visions of the near future?

In the workshop will share a number of relevant case studies where design and fiction were brought together. The process and outcomes of these case studies will be discussed. Through these case studies we’ll discover approaches, techniques and principles for a pragmatic designing-with-fiction process.

An open mind, notebook, pen. Familiarity with science-fiction film, optional.

A set of tools, approaches and processes for initiating practical design fiction in the studio.

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Art Center Summer Residency: Learning and the New Ecology of Things

Saturday November 28 12:06

Seems Art Center’s Media Design Program has extended its deadline for applicants for a summer residency — learning and pervasive/ubiquitous/thing-y computing.

Learning and the New Ecology of Things

We are particularly interested in projects that explore learning in a context of pervasive computing, including mobile technologies, social networking, online systems and digital media. We will consider projects for all learning situations but are most interested in post-secondary art and design education, as an extension of our New Ecology of Things initiative.

This unique context is best for research that incorporates design and prototyping as a mode of inquiry. Outcomes may include working prototypes, speculative visions, new pedagogical models and new learning contexts.

The project may consider the full spectrum of pervasive computing’s role, from additions to the traditional studio classroom, to supplemental learning outside of the classroom, to distance learning with a teacher, to completely self-directed learning.

Since the project is focused on pervasive computing, traditional browser-based online learning systems should not be central to the project.

* How do the tangible interactions enabled by pervasive computing change the potentials of eLearning for art and design students who are learning how to make physical artifacts?

* How might art/design critique be affected by the use of pervasive computing?

* What role might tablets, smart phones, sensors, or actuators play in learning?

* What role might social networking play in new learning systems integrated with ubiquitous computing?

* How might contemporary educational practices such as project-based learning and collaborative learning change in a context of pervasive computing?

* What role might tangible interaction play in education for non-artifact-based design such as that for experiences, plans, and systems?

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Award Category: Design Fiction

Day of the Figurines

There are a variety of ways to measure the degrees to which an *out there idea becomes somehow normalized and convention: (in no particular order) (1) It becomes bandied about at conferences and lectures and so forth; (2) Someone writes a book about it; (3) It is a canonical hashtag; (4) It is a canonical normal, old fashioned tag, tag; (5) It evolves into its own practice or *proprietary process; (6) Someone is anointed or self-anoints themself as its Guru; (7) A course is offered in it; (8) It becomes a job title or someone in a shitty sitcom has a job doing it; (9) It is blamed for something, or is the death knell of the thing it undoes; (10) It becomes an award category or you can get a medal and a nice dinner for doing it well.

Joseph Binder Award 2010: Graphic Design & Illustration

Summary of the rules & regulations in English

designaustria (DA), the Austrian professional association of graphic designers, illustrators and product designers, organizes a biannual international design competition, the Joseph Binder Award, which for the first time was held in 1996.

Criteria and Categories

Who may enter?
Professional designers or design students, either as individuals or teams.

What to enter?
Projects in the fields of graphic design and illustration that were produced in 2008 and after. The number of entries is not limited. Entrants declare that they are owners of their designs and that no rights of third parties will be infringed by their publication. designaustria declines any responsibility as to the infringements of rights of third parties. Entrants agree that their works will be published by designaustria in connection with the competition and will be shown in Austria and abroad.

Special Category: Design Fiction
unpublished works / independent or non-commercial projects

How to enter:
Entries must be sent by 17 May 2010 to:
designaustria designforum Wien Joseph Binder Award 2010 MuseumsQuartier Museumsplatz 1, Hof 7 A-1070 Vienna, Austria

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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