June 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
Addicted Products by TU Delft/ Haque Design Research, the project that won the Best in show award at the IXDA Interaction Awards is a speculation on the future life and use of household consumer goods and the implications of them becoming smart and connected. It follows the life of Brad, the toaster, part of a shared system of household products. It can communicate with other toasters and based on patterns of use deducted from their common intelligence decide to leave its current owner if it’s not being used much.
This project is a great example of the third phase in the history of modern design that Andrew Blauvelt proposed we are moving towards, in the article Towards Relational Design. He asserts that in this phase, constraints are viewed as opportunities to guide development, while also moving away from “the idealized concept of use towards the complex reality of behavior.” Also, he notes a change in the nature of design, going from “giving form to discrete objects to the creation of systems and more open-ended frameworks for engagement.”
This is clearly reflected in this project, through the move from products to services, as a response to the drastic limitation of resources needed to keep creating new products while discarding old ones.
The concept suggests an open ended design that goes further than just deciding the characteristics of the product for one ideal scenario of use, but considers environmental concerns and also the interactions it could have with both user and its own iterations in order to create smart, sustainable systems of use.
June 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
Situated on the thin line between art and design, Sasha Pohflepp’s project entitled Zero Park presents a fictional landscape, in which the flora and fauna have been restored to a natural state of wilderness. The visuals are accompanied by the voice of an unknown narrator. The ambiguous speech progressively reveals the fact that the landscape, which at first seemed natural, may in fact be artificial, hiding its true purpose of private rocket fuel production. This, in turn, casts doubts on the identity of the speaker: a naturalist, a synthetic biologisist or the billionaire owner of a technology corporation with ambitions to reach outerspace. Pohflepp’s intention is to question the role of synthetic biology: i.e what do we consider to be the natural state of an ecosystem or what are the different human agendas at work in the design of nature.
The subject of this work reflects current dominant concerns and general sense of apprehension on the private, hidden applications of emerging practices in science and technology, particularly synthetic biology. But more than just its subject matter, its structure also reflects current views in science that shape our contemporary worldview.
In The open work, Umberto Eco posits that: “In every century, the way that artistic forms are structured reflects the way in which science or contemporary culture views reality.” He then goes on to give examples of this by connecting medieval art, and its closed, single conception to the dominant scientific view at the time: a hierarchy of fixed objects. Baroque art, with its openness and dynamism reflects new scientific awareness, and “by giving up the essential focus of the composition (…) were mirroring the Copernican vision of the universe”. Pohflepp’s work is composed of a myriad of elements: there is a visual component, an audio component and a narrative that unites them in a completely twisted revelatory perception. The interdisciplinary nature of the work mirrors the contemporary world of science where different disciplines combine their specific knowledge (eg. biotechnology) in order to develop hybrid solutions.