Critical Artifacts – Speculative and Critical Design as a reflective approach towards the design of technology
The design research project extends current design practices that question values and norms embedded in contemporary technology design. In two sub projects it examines approaches of critical-reflective design like Critical and Speculative Design through theoretical as well as practice-based research. It investigates how by means of design (of artifacts, prototypes and scenarios) established paradigms, values and trajectories that are embedded in the design of information technologies can be scrutinized.
Critical and Speculative Design describe more recent approaches that propose the design of provocative and hypothetical artifacts and scenarios as a specific form of technology and cultural critique. The research project investigates these and related positions of criticality within the disciplines of technology design and aims for their theoretical and methodological elaboration. It attempts to further develop and evaluate design approaches that enable to visualize alternative narratives and scenarios of use of technologies by means of design.
In his sub project, Ludwig Zeller investigates historical discurses that have influenced the conception of Critical and Speculative Design but are rarely discussed. He furthermore examines the narrative qualities and epistemological status of artifacts as Dingerzählungen and their incorporation in design approaches of speculation and technology critique. The findings will be applied in a practice-based experiment that focuses on a variation of Speculative Design that concentrates on counter-factual, i.e. historical thought experiments in the context of technology development.
Moritz Greiner-Petter, in his sub project, examines reflective design approaches in the context of interface design and human-machine interaction. The critical and speculative design of interfaces and interaction modalities is probed as a method to scrutinize aspects of the mediality and materiality of digital media. A focus is on the notion of ambiguity as it arises between the poles of formalization and representation, structure and openness as well as appropriation and use.
The project is concluded with a conference on Critical Artifacts in early 2018.