The Week Ending 120210

Sunday February 07, 14.59.04

Well, this is getting preposterous, but I’ll keep plugging on in the hope that my weeknotes will be done, at the least, during the week they purport to cover.


A stand-out last week was a second Skype by Southwest chat with Stuart Candy and Jake Dunagen in preparation for our Design Fiction panel at SXSW on March 13th. ((Sascha Pohflepp and Jennifer Leonard couldn’t make the call, but they’ll make the panel!)) In the midst of the organization mishegoss are some very cool discussions as to what *design fiction* might be, thinking about useful and productive distinctions amongst design fiction, science fiction, design — particularly designs’ more speculative aspects. The way the panel looks like it’ll go is that I’ll do a sort of backstory/overview of design fiction via a variety of succinct examples tracing vectors from science fiction ((*props)) and science fact/technology (**prototypes)) into this hybrid of designing things with fiction, which turns out might be a useful way to cohere elements of story telling and the making of things in a tangible way.

Next, there was more poking and prodding at the communication of Trust — the creation of these context movies meant to share-up with out the horrid fat drippings of PowerPoint, Keynote, &c. Further commitment to the things believed rather than just sparkling objects. And the thinking about how repetition can be of service to the communication in this form of visual stories. And — I’m still pondering how to show the way the design works, and how this distinct form of prototyping — making things that are not meant to test out technology, but as a means of thinking and discussing ideas before a conclusion is reached. The prototyping we did is closer to sketching and discussing than it is to testing how to best build *the thing. The conversations that creatively erupt in the midst of making what at first seems a mundane technical discussion indicates how productive prototyping can be — and not just with paper and sock puppets. I’m talking about the pragmatic technical + engineering sort of prototyping. Not to fetishize one form of creative, hands-on thinking over the other — but, rather, if you can’t engage the/we engineers at levels other than requirements specification, and if you can’t expand what prototyping means beyond the more instrumental *lets-just-make-electrical-schematics-and-API-specifications, then you have lost.