Design Fictions: Imaging Sustainable Futures as Design Practice


Design practices like Architecture and Landscape Architecture rely heavily on images to demonstrate agency through the re-contextualization of spaces, the transformation of environments, and hybridization of ecologies. Unlike earlier design agendas, sustainable practices face the challenge of quantifying proposals using scientific models (performance) in addition to qualifying them with cultural conventions (image).

Given that these are proposals for the future, older modes of representation like drawing and painting are not as effective. These images are referential, referencing the past to communicate. Photo collage and digital rendering also rely upon historical precedent. These images are constrained by historic perceptions and do not inform the audience of the future.

Given this, the author intends to establish a case for television production as a speculative practice, or design fiction. Unlike static imagery, design fictions will enable the audience to experience in the story and environment. In contrast to film, television allows the for a long story arc of ecology and culture to evolve with complexity and nuance. In short, design fictions reveal future environments and model possible behaviors within these futures.

Referencing worldbuilding and existing television series the author will describe a framework for television as a popular design media capable of revealing the agency of landscape architecture. The outcome will be an explanation as to how design fiction is a practice that involves the making of clients and patrons in response to future concerns and needs.

Author Information
Marc Miller, Penn State, United States

Paper Information
Conference: EuroMedia2019
Stream: Visual Communication

This paper is part of the EuroMedia2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon