LANGUAGE, DISPLAYS AND SCENARIOS
LANGUAGE, DISPLAYS AND SCENARIOS
This unit aims to:
- look at the display and presentation of visual posters
- learn how to annotate and orient a futures design poster
- consider the importance of gestures in communicating futures design
- explore futures design scenarios and their time and place relations
- review scenarios paying attention to their visual and verbal textures
1. BETWEEN WORDS, DISPLAYS AND GESTURES
The word ‘design poster’ is commonly understood as a representational device used specifically for display and presentation purposes. Here, presenters point to the poster and describe the contents, using verbal and gestural mode of communication. However, for us posters are not just representational material. They are a mode of visual communication that is connected to different modes of visualisation, not all mometic or corresponding to reality. It may also not be depicted in a photorealist mode of picturing a situation, setting, persons, activity or artifact.
A FUTURES DESIGN poster may contain a clear legend, and a set of annotation and orientations that are conveyed in related body text. However, this does not mean the chunking of text from a report, thesis or academic related paper.
Many design-research posters are far too a matter of cut and paste overly dense chunks of written journal type writing into a medium that is not designed for long form expository writing. A good poster ought to be connected to a clear presentation In and of itself), accompanied by a spoken talk or orientation, often with Q&A, and perhaps a longer academic research document, and related website or report.
A good poster presentation pays attention to orienting and annotating visual material with related and clear verbal expression. Part of the success of this is the visual work that gestures do. Gestures are non verbal and we use them to convey a mix of sense and feelings, places and items. Yet they are also a strong part of the interplay of visual and verbal modes of communication. This is as equally important to how we convey futures design work, including posters.
We lean in or turn towards the poster when making key points. We gesture towards specific items, elements, processes and results, using a range of signals, using our hands, arms, eyes and heads. Visually, these serve to identify, support, accentuate and direct our attention, our gaze and connections made between the visual and the verbal in the presentation. At times, gestures are non-verbal, at other times that are merged with the visual and verbal in providing integrated annotations, description, explanations and prospects in futures design.
2. MEDIATING THE VERBAL-VISUAL IN FUTURES DESIGN SCENARIOS
Future scenarios can only exist because they are mediated verbally and visually. We can imagine them in our minds perhaps but they need to be made material for others to access and think with them. In this sense FUTURES DESIGN scenarios are performative: they enact options, alternatives, visions and versions of futures. In FUTURES DESIGN terms, if a scenario or setting and its activities and actors do not perform roles and engage us, then the future does not exist.
Download this UNIT in printable format:
Bleecker, Julian. 2010. “Fiction: from props to prototypes.” Proceedings of the 6th Swiss Design Network Conference: Negotiating Futures – Design Fiction, 58-67. Basel: Swiss Design Network.
Candy, Stuart. 2018. “Gaming futures literacy: The Thing From The Future.” In Transforming the Future: Anticipation in the 21st Century, edited by Riel Miller, 233-246. New York, NY: Routledge.
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