Fundamentals of Immersion

May 11

Annotated Bibliography

Coulton, P., Lindley, J., Sturdee, M., & Stead, M. 2017. ‘Design Fiction as World Building’. In: Proceedings of the 3rd Biennial Research Through Design Conference, 22-24 March 2017, Edinburgh, UK, Article 11, pp. 163-179. DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.4746964.

  • worldbuilding
  • Bruce Sterling: Design fiction is more “practical” than science fiction
  • “Design Fiction is the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change”
  • There is a diversity of mediums in which to create design fictions
  • What is the diegesis?
  • what is the “story” in “story world”?
  • “It tells worlds not stories”
  • “The creation of rhetoric within a world rather than through a story allows those interacting with the world to explore the rhetoric of that world rather than being forced down a prescribed path”
  • Diegetic prototypes that exist within the story world are part of everyday life and are real in that world
  • The world is the principle task of the designer when creating a design fiction
  • they propose a framework where the design fiction world is a distinct entity, with a distinct shape, but with a complex hidden inner structure
    • a series of “entry points” are visible
    • this is an artefact that contributes to making up the design fiction and can be extrapolated from (see Figure 1)
  • “Powers of 10” inspired by the film of the same name
  • start with an entry point and increase the “visible area”
  • world building applied to design fiction moves the focus away from storytelling and instead it is placed on the cohesion of the world – how things and people interact
  • Design fictions are “collections of artefacts, that, when viewed together build a fictional world”
  • “The artificially built world is a prototyping platform for the very designs that define it, meanwhile these designs reciprocate in kind and prototype the world”

Dunne, Anthony, and Fiona Raby. Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming. MIT Press, 2013. pp 69 -100

  • Chapter 5 – A Methodological Playground: Fictional Worlds and Thought Experiments
    • Shift the focus from how the world is now to how the world could be
    • Lubomir Dolezel: speculative design is “experimental laboratory of the world-constructing enterprise”
    • Speculation = imagining other worlds and alternatives
    • tools for reflection, critique, provocation, inspiration
    • build a whole world rather than traditional starting points
    • actual vs fictional is key distinction
    • literature & fine art offer the best sources of inspiration
    • a fictional world can be impossible; a possible world needs to be plausible
    • examples of non-fictional worlds in fashion, fine art Crewmaster Cycle and The Fantasy Collection
    • Game design is the area where fictional worlds is most developed
    • Utopia: literary utopia, utopian practice, utopian social theory
    • Nazism, Fascism, Stalinism are said to be the fruits of utopian thinking <- attempts to realize utopias from the top-down
    • utopia is “far more interesting when used as a stimulus to keep idealism alive” “something to aim for rather than build”
    • cognitive estrangement, a development of Brecht’s Alienation Effect, describes how alternate realities can aid critique of our world through contrast
    • Limitation of cinema: can deliver a powerful story and immersive experience but “requires a degree of passivity in the viewer reinforced by easily recognized and understood visual cues”
    • As designers we are between literature and cinema
    • start with designs that the viewer can use to imagine the society/world that would have produced them
    • China Mieville’s The City and the City is poli-science fiction, everything is familiar; the reconceptualizing of the common concept “the border” is the crux of the fictional world (and “makes it relevant to design”)
    • Reducto Ad Absurdum thought experiment: take one argument to the extreme
    • Counterfactual thought experiment: change a historical fact and consider what might have happened
    • What-ifs thought experiment: what might happen in a society of extreme circumstances
    • Speculative design is fictional, disconnected from industry and market
    • Speculation & imagination is a part of everyday design
    • The purpose of speculation is to “unsettle the present rather than predict the future”
  • Chapter 6 – Physical Fictions: Invitations of Make-Believe
    • Fictional objects exist outside of art and design; such as patents and failed inventions. Fictional objects but accidental fictions
    • Film props and design speculations have different requirements; film props must be legible and serve a greater purpose & use a visual language
    • functions in design speculations can be wider and more varied
    • Kendall L Walton: props are objects that “prescribe imaginings” and “generate fictional truths”
    • Being “caught up in a story” means “to participate psychologically in a game in which the story is a prop”
    • Speculative design props do not carry a behavioral schema with predetermined roles to fill
    • A Prop’s purpose is to “facilitate imagining”
    • Props are synecdoches of the fictional world, designed to elicit a response to the world the prop belongs to
    • Suspension of disbelief = asking people to participate in make-believe, not belief
    • belief leads to fakery, trickery, hoaxes
    • for Dunne & Raby “fooling the viewer into believing something is real is cheating”
    • A speculative object does not have to be realistic, just plausible
    • Objects must appear real but subtly signal that they are not
    • Differences between design fiction and speculative design, including that design fiction is intended mostly for video & internet

Von Stackelberg, Peter, and Alex McDowell. “What in the World? Storyworlds, Science Fiction, and Futures Studies.” Journal of Futures Studies, 20 Dec. 2015, pp. 25–46.

  • Universes provide rulesets that develop larger realities
  • Theories have found their way into foresight methodologies
  • Foresight professionals should understand storyworlds
  • Also read: Floyd (2008), Fuller and Loogma (2009), Inayatullah (2010), Slaughter (2011) for analyses of foresight methods
  • Causal Layered Analysis (CLA): delve into subjectivity, interpretation, and cultural context. Multiple levels to make sense of reality and the future
  • Social Constructionism: Whenever we employ words or symbols to refer to objects we are constructing them. Re: Future Studies, each member of a group contributes to the development of a world using currently available information.
  • Integral Theory: Subjective Perspective (individuals interior world), Objective Perspective (individual’s exterior world), Interobjective Perspective (collective exterior world or physical world), Intersubjective Perspective (collective interior world or shared meaning of groups as expressed in culture)
  • Critical Futures Studies (CFS) and Integral Futures (IF): examines “social interiors” (language, worldviews, paradigms, values) of the future (equivalent to Intersubjective Perspective of Integral Theory)
  • Sense-Making: Social activity where plausible stories are shared, retained, and preserved. Vital to the processing of information.
  • Storytelling exists to help us make sense of the world around us
  • Narratives support strategic decision making and critical reflection, help comprehend uncertainties
  • Futures narrative creative process by Schultz, Crews, and Lum (2012)
    • 1) Create a participatory, integrated futures process that digs into organizational cultural assumptions and blind spots
    • 2) produce scenarios inductively by interconnecting impacts of multiple variables to mimic more closely the turbulence of real-world change
    • 3) engage participants in creating their own richly detailed, vivid, dramatic stories about possible futures
  • Design fiction prototypes possible future outcomes of contemporary life
  • science fiction and future studies can be confused and “each side worries about being confused with one another”
  • Emotional processes can affect attention and information processing, which science fiction provides
    • “the future is felt as well as imagined and considered”
  • Literary metaphors of future-oriented science fiction (Levin, 2010)
    • Cautionary Tales
    • Thought Experiments
    • Literalized Metaphors
    • Explorations of new science and technology
  • A formal framework for science fiction prototyping (Graham, Greenhill, Dymski, Coles, & Hennelly 2015)
    • narratives based on facts as a design tool in the development of a technology
  • Storyworld: “The place and time in which a narrative happens”
    • or Chronotope (“time-space”)
  • This ability to immerse participants in a persistent coherent storyworld is one of the key strengths of the worldbuilding process and is one that holds promise for futures oriented projects”
  • Future Reality as opposed to science fiction in Minority Report
  • Alex McDowell’s Mandala as a world building process framework
    • First stage: “What If And Why Not”mandala
  • organic evolutionary collaborative process centred in storytelling allowed the emergence of the holistic fictional world (called “precognitive”) of Minority Report
  • Foresight professionals should “set the future in a story” so the audience is better able to experience it
  • Peter von Stackelberg Alfred State College of Technology (SUNY) USA E-mail: pvonstackelberg@stny.rr.com
  • Alex McDowellSchool of Cinematic Arts Media Arts + Practice University of Southern California USA E-mail: amcdowell@cinema.usc.edu

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