FUTURES DESIGN WORDS AND IMAGES
FUTURES DESIGN WORDS AND IMAGES
This activity aims to:
- introduce relations between words, images and futures
- provide connection between futures design words and related imaging
- open out for image annotation, future mapping and multimodality
- suggest strategies and techniques for shaping futures verbal-visual design
While this Lexicon focuses on words and design, relationships between words and images are central to design communication. When we work with futures design and speculative projects there’s also a need to be vigilant about the ways words are used to annotate, describe, explain, interpret and critique visualisations of futures.
Equally, words themselves may be given context, specific character and definition by the styles and types of visualisations produced. It’s important that you recall other classes and projects where you have been involved in building and clarifying relations between visual aspects of design and their spoken and written texts.
2. INTRODUCING RELATIONS BETWEEN WORDS, IMAGES AND FUTURES
In popular culture, future worlds, scenarios and daily life are often materialised in the form of science fiction writing and films. The futures depicted are often technology driven, dystopian and violent conflicts over power, resources and governance. With the odd alien invasion. These works challenge us to think ahead of our current settings but in many instances they reveal a good deal about how we do think and are able to construct worlds beyond those within which we work and play and also design.
For designers and designer-researchers our world making is often connected back to today to address pressing matters; yet it may also seek to break free of these and propose unexpected, surprising and even disruptive alternatives to current conventions and expectations. We need to look into how the future itself may be colonised by interests in the present; we ought to question persuasive technocratic, shiney futures that obscure other dynamics and interests. For design this means casting questioning eyes on the visual-verbal narratives that are presented and marketed and how these mediations are worded and expressed verbally and visually.
3. PROMOTING TECHNO FUTURES
In the previous section you looked at some popular cultural references to futures we all have encountered outside our design professions. That said, while they affect our sensibilities as designers, we also affect these sensibilities in return. When we designers conceive and express ideas about futures, from scenarios to pitches to clients, we are turning our ideas of what future might be, into the reality of what the future will actually be. The following activities will explore this further by taking the topic of ‘smart city’ as an example.
Clarke, Michael. 2007. Verbalising the Visual. Lausanne: AVA Publishing.
Kress, Gunther, and Theo van Leeuwen. 1996. Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. London: Routledge.
MacCabe, Colin, and Holly Yanacek. 2005. Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Morrison, Andrew, Kjetil Nordby, Timo Arnall, and Even Westvang. 2015. “Breathing life into research mediation.” In Performing Digital: Multiple Perspectives on a Living Archive, edited by David Carlin and Laurene Vaughan, 161-184. London: Ashgate.
Tassarini, V. & Staszowski, E. (2020). (Eds.). Designing in Dark Times: An Arendtian Lexicon. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Vervoort, Joost, Roy Bendor, Aisling Kelliher, Oscar Strik, and Ariella Helfgott. 2015. “Scenarios and the art of worldmaking.” Futures 74: 62-70.
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