Speculative Critical Design Summer school

Limits to Growth? Speculative and Critical Design Summer School 2017 at LCC, London

I written my experiences of the summer school on Medium here with other student's written experiences. Here is mine below...

After a month off in holiday mode, my brain is forming ideas from the fun and rigorous 6 days of SCD Summer School. is bobbing up into my consciousness. The techniques that I was new to such as quick and dirty rapid prototyping, future visualisations and futures poker. The latter Futures Poker, a set of cards developed by Strange Telemetry, 5 of which were dealt to each team and we had to create a scenario around them. They forced several conditions, places in time, locations upon us. Imagine being in 2100, a pandemic of Hikikomori exists and all machines have emotions and feelings?

I only heard about Speculative design as a methodology at the beginning of my MA last year, when I was asked to frame my work in a critical space. As for illustration being a practice that is mainly brief led, but many practitioners now are using research through design I can see the value that SCD had in interrogating the practice of illustration and pushing it to its boundaries in fine art and design space. My MA sits in this boundary and I find it problematic sometimes where sometimes fall down the crack between disciplines.

I my work I develop narratives for illustrations, think about characters, composition, symbols, objects and how they play against and or complement. our Limits To Growth brief led myself and my other teammate, Ania to develop our story The Measured Energy Initiative. A ‘quick and dirty’ almost two day turnaround got us making, thinking and filming. About the same time as an editorial illustration is made in. Communication and simplicity in colour, line and character.

My assumptions and idea of SCD had expanded and changed for me. I initially thought that I would need some science knowledge as I recently finished a project where biological principles were important. But I am surprised by how illustration is a bedfellow for this way of working. Base your ideas from what is happening now. In the news. In illustration draw from life. Because a speculative fiction pack so much more punch if it is from the seed of reality. Then extrapolate out possible truths.

I think that the quote at the top of the course resonates with me, SCD is a “way of thinking through the world”. We as designers have positions, rather than simply answering briefs, we have the ability to be illustrators as well as commentators. With filmmaking, with politics.

Fictional data vis workshop with David Benque and Ben Stopher

Fictional data vis workshop with David Benque and Ben Stopher