FUTURES DESIGN WORDS AND TIME
FUTURES DESIGN WORDS AND TIME
This unit aims to:
- present basic on time and design and futures
- look into design, histories and time
- explore futures as a space for working with time
- delve into futures contexts and language
Designers and designers researchers working with FUTURES DESIGN are entangled with time as a material and in helping others to appreciate and engage with time. Our work is situated in a future or futures context. It depends on co-design and clients’ perceptions of time in projects. It influences how we can involve participants and users and support motivated influence and impact in the near, middle distance or far flung future.
Time is realised through and makes it possible to realise futures events. Think of the app Snapchat for example and the limited time frames within which it works. How is time used in our designs and in the applications and systems we construct, share and propose. Or how to appreciate time in a future user journey for a service situated in the distant future..
We take part in futures scenarios, meet project strategies and adopt personas and meta-evaluative views of futures designs because we take up performative roles in being in and with time, and design time. Topics, actors, enactment and our reviews of our engagement are all connected to future movement and movement in futures.
Change and transformation, possible and speculative scenarios and storyworlds are possible to imagine, perceive and critique because we also use narrative, dramaturgy and reflexive evaluation as means to track and trace states, actions, shifts and change in and over time.
2. WORDS AND SHAPING TIME
We think we know about language and the future because we use it every day to orient and communicate our thoughts, aspiration and expectations. This LEXICON focuses on English and a western European located and informed project. Many students have other languages as their primary means of work as well as different cultural and geographical backgrounds where time may be differently played out in another language. We encourage you to consider these as part of your cultural resource in learning and to look into how time is conceptualised and formed in that language’s formulations of time.
3. THE FUTURE AS A SPACE FOR WORKING WITH TIME
Time can be understood as sequential, durative, iterative, repetitive and cyclical. Futures time asks that we suspend our disbelief and engage imaginatively with what is proposed, projected, situated and materialised in the future. This may not correspond to our immediate, given or selected reality of today or that of previous times or design trends of movements, marketing or consumption. In working with spaces of futures times, we may not assume the values or practices of today, such as the force and destructive effects on environments and people of extractive economies and design cultures of uncritical consumption and exhaustion of resources and damage to the biosphere.
The future can be seen as a space beyond where we are and what it is constrained by. It has to be imagined, not only planned and expected if we are to work towards alternate and survivable societies and daily lives in an increasingly interlinked global system. So futures are projected or creatively thrown ahead of where we are and where out thinking might be! They may be anticipated, awaited, with hope or apprehension, or they may be characterised in terms of disaster, urgent need or deep thinking and concerted action to effect long lasting change. This all refers to near, distant, and far off futures. When, for how long, in what ways does time work in that future, and within what time do events happen
Time may still have linear elements, but the future may be a place and a space within which time may also be considered as non-linear. Time may work sequentially, but a future scenario may also not map to our current realities and conceptualisation of time in the present and about the past. The future is a space for working with time. There we may shape or meet simultaneous time planes or spaces. Times in which people and objects appear and act may be in key with one another. These may allow us to present parallel dramaturgies with different forces or outcomes that influence or affect them. And time may be split, deliberately, suddenly or unexpectedly and produce divergent realities that serve to accentuate how imagine and design routes and choices may have different effects and outcomes and need different strategies. These times need to be designed, they do not exist, whatever way time is being taken up as a material.
4. FUTURES DESIGN CONTEXTS AND RELATED LANGUAGE
The type of future space or event or world being designed also influences the type of words that are used to imagine, construct and convey it.
Download this UNIT in printable format:
Morrison, Andrew. 2017a. “Design fiction in design education: Urbanism, para-pedagogy and futures literacies.” In Cumulus Working Papers 33/16: Cumulus Hong Kong 2016 – Open Design for E-very-thing, edited by Cecile Kung, Elita Lam and Yanki Lee, 105-112. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Design Institute, Cumulus.
Stibbe, Arran. 2014. “An ecolinguistic approach to critical discourse studies.” Critical Discourse Studies 11(1): 117-128.
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