REFLECTION ON WORKSHOP / MATERIALS RE-IMAGINED (session 7)

In this workshop it was all about design fiction, it was about Testing out future scenarios and playing with ideas and with new technologies. To everyone who does not really know what is the definition of ‘’design fiction’’, Design Fiction uses design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate about the social, cultural and ethical implications of possible futures. Briefly, design fictions often depend on a question: “What if?”

During the workshop, we looked at a variety of materials that are being created in response to real-world problems and we questioned ourselves on how we can re-imagine better futures through materials.  To find the answer we have done a really useful task. The task was about designing a future scenario based on climate changes and imagining a real Persona. This task was consisted out of 4 steps:

  • Reframe: It is the starting point of designing a future scenario. It helps you to choose a circumstance on which your project will be based on.
  • Personas: Identifying a person that is affected by the issue of the scenario
  • Idea generation: By using brainstorm ideas we referred them to our chosen scenario. Imagining that we are living in 2050, we thought of varied materials which do not exist yet and how they can be useful for finding a solution for the issue.
  • Storyboard: Showing the journey of our scenario through drawings.

Our scenario was based on an impact of rising temperatures. We imagined that there is a forest fire and our work was to think of a material that could stop the spread of the fire and to save our persona. Our persona was Henry, who is 35 years old male and who lives in a wooden forest house. His occupation is to look after the forest. (Please see image (1) below)

(1) Persona

During the ”idea generation” step, we came up with different and interesting ideas (some of them could have been a little bit strange but let’s don’t forget that we are thinking in the future). We can leave our brains to invent different weird solutions.  We tough on designing a barrier around the trees that could stop a potential fire, another idea was to construct water wastage that could go into the forest. But our main idea was to create a Fire-retardant cloth ( a loth resistant to fire)  or a damp with water cloth that is placed on the tree and it expands if there is a fire.
On the image below is shown our storyboard, which explains our imagined scenario. It starts with a drawing of Henry, who is sitting under a tree and knitting ( one of his hobbies), after a while the temperature is rising up to 55 degrees. There is a fire and it starts spreading up. The fire-retardant cloth is put to prevent the fire from spreading up. (Please see image (2) below)

(2) Storyboard

I enjoyed this workshop because it challenges you mentally. I imagined that the scenario is happening at the moment, and to save the Persona’s life, it only depends on me and my team. It is based on life or death. I personally took it really seriously, I placed myself in the place of our persona. I think that designing for real people, does really change our vision of designing. When it comes to a real and dangerous situation, you cannot make any mistakes. You have to think precisely and find the best solution for a certain issue, which is actually a good approach to designing materials for the future

The most difficult and challenging part of the workshop was to think of an exact material and how it could stop the fire. We had many ideas but when it comes to the question ‘’ How it does work? / How it could stop the fire?’’, these ideas did not really work. Even after our main idea we still need to make some changes, especially on the way how the cloth will be placed, but I think we still have done a good job. My team was great and I enjoyed every moment of the workshop.

In addition, I learned that thinking of a real Persona does change the thinking about the issue of a scenario. It makes it more realistic and I definitely would use this idea for my own work.

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