Modes Of Criticism

Everything wrong with Speculative Design

This is the text I’ve been longing to read ever since I encountered speculative design and got to know what it’s about.

I feel like the text speaks on a lot of frustrations I’ve experienced with the field and at the same time the author draws conclusions that speak directly to my chosen direction with our speculative design brief.

It begins by highlighting that the field is fairly new describing it like a teenager in a troubled adolescent stage, one which has a preferable, plausible future which this text will point out. (isnt that Speculative designing about speculative design ?)

The text carries on to define SCD (speculative critical design) as a tool for critique , one that explores the metaphysics of an object with the possibility of becoming a political statement or activist provocation. Design does not only service industry but it can be used to highlight/tackle or provide an alternative form to subjects such as birth, death and social anxieties.

However, despite the growing numbers of practitioners in SCD the debate still remains static as the text defines it as a self centred field that needs to extend itself passed the museum’s and exhibitions to become of political impact. It needs to grow from issues that are privileged to their own audience , avoid appearing superficial and oblivious / ignorant to the real world and try to be plausible if not realistic.

SCD requires the designer to be critical, able to look into not only scientific research but also core morals, culture, religion and society beyond the well established scenarios they are used to. If we do not call out the problematics currently associated with SCD such as, sexism, classism, to name a few, then the field cannot progress to its desired outcome. Their is no room for narrow minded assumptions(all predominantly white future) but we need to look at things from a global scale, with universal and neutral implications.to sum it up real problems.

“Until then (the moment SCD practitioners hold themselves accountable for their political decisions) the field will remain in a vicious cycle of navel-gazing and self appraisal”

This text echoes out many of the conclusions I picked from dunne & rabys speculative everything and it also contained “real life out comes” of designers who went on about their business without taking accountability for their actions and the consequences they had go under take. See below… (screenshots from the design fictions about critical design)