Module 1, Week 12

Week 12 : Paradigm Shifts

Our final week for this module – terrifying and exciting!

The subject this week is so open ended and flexible I have a feeling we’re going to see some really different and alternative outcomes. My focus this week has to be wearable technology and the future of tracking implants or devices. It’s something I’ve thought about for a while and with the current crisis, it’s been in my mind about how much different the past month would be if we could all be tracked or tested without leaving our homes…

The main focus is looking at intellectually focused and speculative design – the whole field of design has shifted quite dramatically over the past decade and this module has taught us about the history of the path we are joining.

Aesthaetica magazine is local to York (but is read worldwide) and always covers futuristic, modern designs and art exhibitions. It’s so fascinating to see the shift in our art world and the incorporation of science and technology.

This was an exhibition questioned our views of the physical world. They looked at both the shifts in realities of modern science and how the fundamental research can be explored through physical pieces. (Piece by  Yunchul Kim)
One of my favourite exhibitions – using technology and fairytale storytelling, two artists created pieces that are uncomfortable, compelling and troubling.

Both of the above two exhibitions show how science and technology can run hand in hand with art and design – it can be used to form seamless physical pieces that create a futuristic vibe or they can be used in juxtaposition to each other, to create an uncomfortable and modern take on a traditional story.

Looking back to weeks 2 & 3 and the focus on the change in globalisation of design and how the digital world has created a shift. Manchipp discusses how categorisation no longer necessarily applies and this is very much linked back to Week 3 and the Design Award categories. Now that our skills and branding is getting broader, the more focused and niche design is not so relevant. Regular Practice back this up in saying that people are more versatile and studios can now be smaller with fewer employees. There is a big shift from specialised design to multiskilled – Take Winniw for example, a fellow student; the work she has produced throughout this module is so versatile and reflects how she is always wanting to learn new skills.

Some larger corporations now merge design and marketing within their businesses, choosing not to outsource their design team but have inhouse designers. People are now doing a bit of everything but also their use of collaboration comes in handy to fill in the gaps in their knowledge. Take Susanna and Maziar’s conversation – multidisciplinary practice is so much more common now, and instead of having a person for each stage, it’s easier to do it all yourself and have one extra person you might need to fill the gaps, eg. economist etc.

The future of design is inherently tied to the attention economy. And the future of design is also inherently tied to technology”

Sam Winston

The public are now wanting information faster, it’s far to easy now to become distracted or disassociated to what we are seeing. This attention economy is creating a new shift in the work we produce as designers, and is linked to the rise in the use of the internet to find inspiration. Manchipp highlighted how the channels through which we view our media is changing, and quickly – one month it’s Instagram and the next it’s TikTok, we need to keep abreast of all of this to develop our work.

So, in order to create work that catches people’s attention and doesn’t conform to the homogeneous designs we see, we need designers to break boundaries, to push the limits of what they produce and to not be afraid of the outcomes.

I posted the work of Micheal Takeo Magruder on the Ideas Wall – his work, for me is groundbreaking. Using the latest technology he recreates structures or historical artifacts to fully immerse the viewer.

Take his work on “The Nether” … the environment they have created of this calming floating land is linked in real time to the Twitter hashtag #TheNether.

Every time the hashtag is used on Twitter, life is infused into the world. Architectural ruins and desiccated flora reform and grow, while new elements appear within the virtual land. Yet, as in real life, these synthetic entities are transient, for if use of the hashtag ceases, the realm will begin to slowly decay and thus return to a barren shell.


His work really reminds me of an amalgamation of both Forensic Architecture and the great minds of Dunne and Raby – to use technology in this way really highlights the sheer lack of limits at our disposal!

Should we be limiting the work that is produced because we don’t ethically agree with it? Could speculative design be dangerous in the wrong hands? Should we be pushing the way forwards with futuristic designs? Is it dangerous to our own health to be constantly looking forward and looking at the world around us in a different way?


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