Green Week at LCC: Hopeful Monsters / Worldbuilding Tarot / Reverse Archeology

On Thursday Justin Pickard and I ran a workshop as part of London College of Communication's Green Week. The aim was to help the students to explore alternative narratives of designing for climate change. We began with BERG's / Matt Ward's Hopeful Monsters exercise: taking two objects, examining their properties and then recombining them into new objects. The utility of the objects created is irrelevant so much as a thorough understanding of the objects and their politics.

Secondly, we introduced a worldbuilding exercise using tarot cards. Each group was given a place such as Sub-Saharan Africa or South America as well as four context cards - everything from exoskeletons to flooding, from bugginess to fair wages. Form these contexts and places, the students researched and constructed an a future. The idea here was to get the students into a new context mentally, to try and think about the needs, desires and constraints of people outside of early 21st century Europe.

The third part was the Reverse Archeology workshop. The students took their future and had to design an object from it using archeological principles. We borrowed the core ideas of the exercise from Stuart Candy's Reverse Archeology. The aim is to create diegetic prototypes of their future world that can be used to talk about it.

The groups came up with three outcomes. The first was a neo-leftist religious society based in South America that used domestic algae incubators for the filtration of water and air as well as having a society that worshiped a carrot due to it's symbolism.

The second group devised a solar farm and a telecommunications tourist for the South China Sea where flooding has resulted in a loss of cultivatable land coupled by a collapse in globalisation but a massive rise in telepresence technology.

The third group created an exoskeleton used for mining.

More photos are on my flickr.

Weeknotes er. 16? Critical Exploits at Lighthouse, Lift 14

Critical Exploits 

The talk I gave at Lighthouse's Critical Exploits is now up, along with the one by Julian and Danja on critical engineering. This talk is one I give pretty regularly now, usually to students and there's also a written=up ish version of it here. I also gave the lecture recently to Catharine Rossi's students at Kingston.

Lift 14

I've just got back from Geneva attending Lift 2014 with Justin Pickard, Georgina Voss and I running a fruitful workshop called Future Bodies of Work. While there, we hung out with some good friends and met some new ones too, all round good fun. Justin may well publish something about the results on his blog at some point.

I was supposed to attend Lift last year but couldn't find the time while finishing off Mercenary Cubiclists, from a lot of the conversations I had with veterans, this one was curious in the concentration of VC and startups in attendance. There were points of truly staggering ignorance among a minority of the speakers as well as poe-faced profit mongering resulting in confused and belligerent Twitter outbursts. On the other side were some genuinely fascinating people and discussions that'll probably stick with me for some time.

Green Week

If you're a UAL person, Justin and I are running another workshop using some of Stuart Candy's stuff on Reverse Archeology in tandem with our own thinking around 'appropriate technologies' at LCC for Green Week on Thursday. Pretty sure you can just sign on up, but you need to bring stuff.

Coming up is some news about a new film I'm going to be making for May, a load of essays due for publication and an event I might organise if I can find the time.