Designing Desireable Futures
An important skillset for designers is the ability to develop scenarios and formulate futures in which their own designs are located. This is just as important in traditional areas of product design as it is in the broader fields of social design and critical design.
In this design project, the students dealt with methods and strategies as well as the necessary hands-on skills for designing feasible future scenarios. The spectrum of formulated futures is broadly defined, ranging from applicable to speculative, yet deliberately avoiding cautionary tales.
The examination of existing narratives and models of the future and present played just as important a role as that of current cultural, scientific and political developments.
The protopian differs from the naively utopian and the desperately dystopian in that it is oriented towards action. Protopian visions and representations of the future empower users and viewers. They empower and motivate. They open up spaces of possibility for concrete action.
The projects developed during the semester are based on these methodological principles. And develop them further individually. They use a variety of classical to experimental design strategies to stimulate their own progressive action. Sometimes these suggestions are abstract and subliminal, in other projects they are visualised quite concretely by means of models, visualisations or animations. This conceptual range leads to a comprehensive and critical examination of one's own and the common future.
The project is a cooperation with Merseburg University of Applied Sciences and was accompanied by lectures and excursions.
Through regular lectures, students were able to gain insights into the fields of strategic foresight and futurology. We paid particular attention to examining the design possibilities in these fields of work and deriving perspectives for our own professional practice.
We used the excursion to Amsterdam to the Droog Gallery to see the first solo exhibition of the London design studio Superflux. In Rotterdam, we visited Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Netherlands’ national museum for architecture, design and digital culture and Blue City, a model city for the circular economy.
In June we attended the re:publica conference for the digital society in Berlin. Here the focus was on the public discourse on current future topics and how they are negotiated linguistically, visually and contextually.
Guests: Johannes Kleske (Third Wave), Dodo Vögler (Ellery Studio), Willy Dumaz (Büro für Sinn und Unsinn), Anne Pinnow (Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie), David Weigend (Futurium Berlin), Julian Bleeker (Near Future Laboratory)
Students: Chenghan Yuan, Daniel Kurt Boehm, Emilia Sonntag, Jiamin Luo, Jonathan Hase, Lisa Schwalbe, Marvin Alexander Robert, Nikolaus Hößle, Theresa Güldenberg, Vincent Kaup, Yanru Chen