Reflection on Design Fictions Workshop

Adrienne Cassel
3 min readSep 12, 2017

The workshop with Ahmed Ansari was thought provoking and brought about points that I did not normally think of, when interacting with everyday design objects. Looking into design fictions and the future, I thought the artifice and nature argument was an interesting one. Now, we as humans are dictated by the nature that surrounds us but we create artifices to accommodate our needs, and this is the interface that we interact with daily. The artifice is how we see the world, which is not necessarily congruent with how the world “is” (which we never truly will know, as ultimate truth is subjective). We consume our media and technology on a daily basis as we live in the age of the artifice, the anthropocene. However, thousands of years ago, the outer sphere that dictated human influence and interaction was dependent on nature, and later, culture and religion. Still, the timeless superior force is and will always be nature. Although we live in a world that seems to be heading towards complete technological efficiency, we cannot change how the world works on a global, environmental and climatic scale.

For the diagram exercise (pictured above) we thought it best to include this looming presence of nature on the outside band, since there is nothing any human can do to overcome its influence. We can make technologies to harness its energy, we can pollute bodies of water and the air, changing earth’s biodiversity, but in the end nature will prevail over all beings. It can exist without us. Thus, we are completely dependent on the will of nature. In the near future, say 100 years, we will most likely be developing new technologies to harness the power of natural resources without depleting them. This is quite an optimistic viewpoint, but I believe it can be done. We won’t need fossil fuels or oil, and will employ the use of self-sustaining technologies and renewable energy sources. Examples of this could be biowaste or geographically-specific sources depending on the region. For example, sun, water, wind, for different parts of the earth of which these sources are most prevalent. Inside the nature sphere are the global and cultural artifices that we will create for ourselves, and consequently, surround ourselves in. We had an idea to create two different types of artifice, one that concerns the immediate social and cultural implications of the networks of technology that we create, and a global artifice that would include self-sustaining technology that provides power to the population.

Later, after analysis, we spoke about the possibility of going back to a sacred or religious cultural influence that would be created as an artifice. The revival of a central religion based off of the social artifices created is a foreseeable possibility for different reasons. One, because history repeats itself; history is cyclical. Another is because it is inherent in human nature to search for meaning, and through the exponentially increasing rise of efficient technologies, there will be an innate desire to indulge and revive our spiritual side and to find a purpose in this increasingly complicated world. Just as the foreseeable future awaits a change and revival in the way we interact with nature and its resources, there will be a collective change inherent in ourselves, looking outward for a spiritual revival as well.