20.03.2017 – Cyborgs

this weeks readings:

  • “Speculative design: The products that technology could become”, Auger, James, 2012, In Why Robot? Speculative Design, the domestication of technology and the considered future. PhD Thesis. RCA, London.
  • “Delusions of Dialogue: Control and Choice in Interactive Art”, Campbell, Jim, 2000, In Leonardo. 33:2. 133-136.
  • “Design Noir: The Secret Life of Electronic Objects“, Dunne, Anthony and Raby, F. 2001,  August / Birkhäuser.

Design of „What if?“ – Ju Young Yi

speculative design presentation – Summary

Ju discussed three main questions:

  • The difference between a true interaction and a Mimicry?
  • The border between speculative design, art and insanity?
  • Interaction with the objects, another form of life?

These questions weren’t easy to clarify. They mainly created even more questions then answers!
Do we only fake a shiny video, or make a functioning prototype – concept vs. execution?

In my opinion it is depending on the project that the designer is working on and his resources. It may not always be possible to create a fully functional object within the time that is given to the designer. And sometimes a project doesn’t need to be a finished product. The main goal of a designer should be to inspire the market and present an idea. Despite that I personally prefer presenting something that actually works, since I am interested in the engineering part aswell.

Ju showed us the example of Stelarc, an artist from Australia who implanted an ear into his arm. Most people react shocked, and are disgusted by his „art“. But the question here is how strange his ideas are? We implant technology into our body (heart pacemakers, metal joints etc.). But is there a border to when we become cyborgs? And if yes, where is it?


  • nice animations / illustrations
  • examples nicely chosen

Art, fiction and speculative design – Carlo Natter

versions of the future – Summary

Carlo started his presentation with a summary of the placebo project, which is described in Dunne, Anthony and Rabys text.

One of these objects is the Electro-draught excluder. While most of their objects look like furniture, this one seems more like a sound insulator. It is created to make the user feel more comfortable at home by creating a protection barrier from electronic devices.

To the topic of design fiction Carlo presented us the United micro kingdoms.
The idea of four communities: digitarians, anarcho-evolutionists, bioliberals and the communo-nuclearists.
Communo-nuclearists is a society living on a constantly moving train. The train is powered by nuclear powerplants and has a limited population living on it. The state provides everything they need, in return for their limitless energy resources.

In my eyes a rather sorrowful vision of the future. Nevertheless a very interesting topic, which is nicely illustrated and discussed on their website.


  • great examples & presentation style
  • presentation rather long

In one of the readings the japanese asthetic concept Wabi Sabi is mentioned, which has three main arguments:

  • Never finished
  • Never perfect
  • Nothing lasts

Design fiction is very close to this concept. Since the future is never-ending, so are the speculations and the design ideas about it.