Futures studies—also known as futurology—has been used by businesses and the military as part of a strategic planning toolkit. This framework of speculating about the future in systemic ways has been adopted by many contemporary artist collectives, in order to challenge assumptions of the present about outcomes in the future. These futuristic models are based on constraints—design limitations— that can spark wild imaginaries liberated from business-as- usual predictions. In this 7-week workshop we will create possible future scenarios in the forms of invented artifacts, writing, and framing devices. The features of these futures will draw from Investing in Futures, the artist-created constraint-design card deck (Mattu/Rothberg/Zurkow) which explores topics such as governance, living conditions, food, climate, technology, and range from possible to absurd.
In weeks 1-5, students in group collaborations will design and prototype pieces of specific future scenarios. In weeks 6-7 students will focus on collectively designing a futuristic EPCOT- like exhibit, which will be open to the community.
References and readings about future scenario design thinking, speculative design, and design fiction will also be explored in class. Learning outcomes: Introduction to futurology, speculative design, and systems thinking. Students will participate across media in constraint-based design, writing, and prototyping in a variety of media in rotating groups.