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Alien Futuring: Speculative Approaches to More-Than-Human Design

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Alien Futuring is a response to the problematic nature of rhetorical futures devices, such as the futures cone, used in design to help concretise possible futures. In particular I argue that rather than acknowledging the prospect of a plurality of futures the cone embodies a number of problematic attributes most particularly a one-world-world view. Although there are different versions of the futures cone it is generally presented in terms of cones emerging from a single point representing the present defined by qualifiers, the most common being probable, plausible, possible, and in some cases the addition of preferable within any of the other qualifiers. As these qualifications are subjective, they are open to interpretation but could be considered as: possible (might happen), plausible (could happen), and probable (likely to happen). The notion of preferable, which can exist within any of the other qualifiers, has is increasingly contested as it is effectively promoting privileged views leading to the assertion that ‘preferable’ should be a question the designers ask of themselves within the design activity rather than an aim of the design. Further, whilst ‘possible’ encompasses all potentials when addressing particular challenges, it is plausible and probable which are most often utilized by designers although again these are open to individual interpretation. A main problematic aspect of this cone is that it assumes a collective (western) acceptance of a particular historicity and notions of time when developing futures. The single point representing supposed accepted present reality and takes no account how history, beliefs, values, and fiction are all implicated in the cultural construction of past, present, and future realities. The talk will present alternate framings and practical examples developed through a research through design approach of a design fiction practice of world-building to enable “a world in which many world fit”

External organisation (Academic)

NameChung-Ang University
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of