Project: Speculative Design

Now here is Nowhere

How should the speculative design work looks like, and is the work result supposed to be functional? I was confused for a long period and being hesitate to the format of this work. Finally, I realised that the function of speculative design itself is not the technical feature, while an arguable conception is conveyed and comes up with the reflection from the audience, it a functional speculative work. In the way of film, which is a commercial trail of amusing attraction, my intention behind is that the seedy past might be recreated ironically in the ideal future someday,… More

Welcome to the deamland

To visualise my idea of diorama: the satire existence between real/nature/past history and fake/artificial/future scene, I ever considered the following materials to produce the prototype: paper model lego miniature digital scene (build in C4D) project with the tangible model But all of these seems not fit to my conception. The diorama should not be a miniature or virtual one, it should be the duplicated reality from the original version, somewhere seems like the old one, but actually not. I was really stuck for a long time but then inspired by the diorama of Kowloon Walled City recreation finally. The format I selected to expressing the diorama is an… More

Developing the idea for speculative work

Before starting to design for the speculative work, I should ask myself, what my interpretation of speculative design? Of course, Dunne and Raby already listed Critical Design FAQ to introduce its principles. Here, I attempt to make a note for my understanding and highlight. “A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam.” American Sci-fi novelist Frederik Pohl stated. For the world which the automobile is invented already, what we need to consider is not merely the design of appearance and features but all the systems. How the automobile affects all the system?… More

Kowloon Walled City recreated in Japan

Kowloon Walled City was a largely ungoverned densely-populated settlement in Hong Kong. Due to the political factors against a specific historical background, the Walled City get into a hotbed of criminal activity. While this region was notorious for its public safety and sanitary problems, the residents here developed the tightly knit community and relationship in overcrowded living conditions. In January 1987, the Hong Kong government announced plans to demolish the Walled City. Before the demolition was completed, Canadian photographer Greg Girard spent five years to know the residents and take pictures here. The photographs, oral histories, maps and essays in Greg’s book recording the daily life, memories and its spirit… More

Speculative design tutorial with Georgina Voss

As the first step to developing my speculative design project, I selected “diorama” as the core idea. The diorama is a cultural reproduction set on the modern visual paradigm of understanding and analysing the world visually, it consolidating a three-dimensional arrangement with its pictorial setting, transcends the boundaries between time and space, fake and reality. If the diorama shows the audience the nonexistent scene, can we regard it as an elaborating reproduction of reality? For the Elephant and Castle shopping centre residents, will the diorama help them to save the memories here after the demolishment? For those who never been to this place,… More

Regeneration of King’s Cross

Before I moved to London and took up residence in King’s Cross, my limited acquaintance to this train station is Harry Potter’s platform 9 ¾ taking Hogwarts Express. Here is a comfortable area to live in, relatively affordable rent, easy commute, lovely bars and stores everywhere and tranquil Regent Canal for strolling along. But just three years ago, Kings Cross underwent one of the largest urban regeneration projects in London, and the street view here was changing because of the project. In the past, King’s Cross was famed for its late night parties, greasy storefront eateries and adult entertainment, it was London’s biggest… More

The uncertainty of Elephant & Castle shopping centre

Will the regeneration programme make Elephant & Castle region closer to “ideal”? Being known for its distinctive name and an important transport interchange, Elephant & Castle is a region far away from a symbol of decent. Quite frankly, the street view here gives people a complicated image- shabby, chaotic, but lively. Actually, the quality of the environment in this region has improved in recent years. According to my friend who has lived opposite the Elephant & Castle tube station, chain stores inside the shopping centre open successively, public security is getting better, and the undergoing regeneration programme might bring more positive effects. In… More

Uncertain around uncertainty

In Georgina Voss’ seminar about uncertainty, we discussed the definition of following items: Known Known Known Unknown Unknown Known Unknown Unknown In my interpretation, it might connect to the points on the timeline. Our present was shaped by the decisions we made in the past, just as our future is shaped by decisions we make now. Known Known: the past decisions and results which we already knew Known Unknown: the unknown present results affected by known present decisions Unknown Known: the known present decisions and unknown future affected results Unknown Unknown: the unknown future decisions and result We already knew the past things which already happened, while… More

Dioramas – Hiroshi Sugimoto

“Dioramas” is the first photo project of Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. In American Natural History Museum, Sugimoto captures his scenes with a large format camera, long exposures time and adjustment of light to present his idealistic vision of nature. His photos brought these dioramas to live, “However fake the subject, once photographed, it’s as good as real.” Sugimoto said. In this moment, the boundary between fake and real get blur. Back to Natural History Museum, to make these three-dimensions dioramas, researchers and photographers are sent to the spots, collected lot amounts of specimens, photos and data from nature, then created the illusion of reality. Sugimoto’s… More

Making Nature

When I was a child, I was really obsessed with the specimens exhibited in the zoo of my city and visited there again and again. The stuffed specimens were positioned in front of the elaborately painted backdrops with the artificial plant, displaying animals in their natural surroundings. My favourite one was a group of wandering wild yak. Every time when I stared at it, I felt crossing the limitation of time and space, and the diorama brought me to the imaginary Tibetan Plateau that I had never seen. Probably we could view diorama as the work result of making nature. Human order everything according to the classified labels we… More