Made Up Panel Discussion September 17 at Art Center College of Design

One week from today I’ll have the pleasure of sharing a panel discussion with my old chum Sascha Pohflepp and the eminent Norman Klien as Art Center rounds out its summer “Made Up” residency studio program. Fun. Come out and check it out!

Join the Media Design Program
Friday, September 17, 2010
3:00 to 5:00 pm
Wind Tunnel Gallery, South Campus, Art Center College of Design
950 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105


AS IF: alternate realities

This panel discussion, moderated by MADE UP organizer Tim Durfee, will consider the value (or perhaps merely the appeal) of a methodology that could be characterized as: assume a set of conditions (abitrary, absurd, speculative), play it straight. Historically, alternate realities have been the realm of literature and film but what might be the effects of such an approach within a field (design) that is conventionally concerned with the cold, hard facts of the real world, of the here and now. And importantly, why does this work feel uniquely relevant NOW?

Detail from SUPERCALIFORNIA! by Sascha Pohflepp


Sascha Pohflepp, London-based designer and artist, was one of this summer’s researchers-in-residence. As part of the MADE UP theme, he produced the project “SUPERCALIFORNIA!” which turns the phantom futures of Southern California into compelling design fiction.

Julian Bleecker, a designer and technologist, is a researcher at the Design Strategic Projects studio at Nokia Design, and the co-founder of the Near Future Laboratory, a “design-to-think” studio.

Norman Klein is a cultural historian, critic, and novelist, and the author, with Margo Bistis, of the multi-media database/novel/website/art installation titled “The Imaginary Twentieth Century,” a historical science-fiction novel. His forthcoming book is called The Dismantling of the American Psyche: MediaBuzz, Political Branding, and Collective Amnesia: 1968-Present

“For alternative realities, I see many options in work that I have doing recently: from parallel worlds models to ‘wunder-romans’ (archival/media novels), to the misremembering of the future, and ‘the dismantling of the American psyche’…” —Norman Klein

“I have long been interested in how science fiction has influenced science fact. To me, design fiction encourages peculiar design practices in an attempt to create different sorts of near future worlds. The Made Up project promises to illuminate the future-oriented practice of design and help us understand how design probes imaginatively and materializes ideas, oftentimes through stories.” —Julian Bleecker

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Design Fiction Panel at SXSW 2010

Sunday March 14 21:20

That’ll be from the wonderfully understated Artz Rib House out on the periphery of the SXSW core. Well worth it.

An exceptionally short, late Friday dispatch just as a waypoint on the way to *then — the audio *podcast from the Design Fiction panel with Jennifer Leonard, Sascha Pohflepp, Jake Dunagan, Stuart Candy, Bruce Sterling and myself, she’s available now. As Bruce mentioned — it is missing something without the video, which will hopefully be available soon. In either or anycase — I can’t listen to myself speak, but I gleaned an additional crop of luscious insights from Jennifer and the fellas and dozzled in a glaze from Bruces flash-bangs. Giver a listen and let me know.

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The Week Ahead: SxSW 2010 — Design Fiction Panel

Pervasive Electronic Games Panel

SXSW in 2007. A panel I organized called Pervasive Electronic Games with heroes Dennis Crowley (*Dodgeball!/*Google!?), Aaron Meyers (Mobzombies mad-man), and ultra-hero fron the other planet, Kevin Slavin (Area/Code). That was fun.

So, early heads-up and there’ll be more — if you’re heading to SxSW this year, I’ve organized a panel under the rubric of *Design Fiction. The full title is Design Fiction: Props, Prototypes, Predicaments Communicating New Ideas, and I feel prescient with that title because it captures much of what’s been going on in the studio over the last, like..3 months.

It’s going to be good. It’ll be Jake Dunagan from the Institute for the Future; Sascha Pohflepp from Supercalifornia (whatwha?!), Stuart Candy from The Long Now Foundation and Jennifer Leonard from IDEO, with perhaps a special delta-net guest operator to flash-bang this one all to hell and gone. We’ve actually done planning and have had *skype conference chats to discuss what we’ve been thinking on this one.

Add this to your conference schedule..and see you with a plate of dry rub in front of me.

Design Fiction: Props, Prototypes, Predicaments Communicating New Ideas

BBQ @ Salt Lick

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