End of week notes and 3 (approx) interesting things, new or old, found (approx) this week. Also on Powered by Uniform Medium publication.
Past week’s highlight (well, actually the week before - I guess the weeknotes habit didn’t sink in quite yet). We’ve had a workshop with eight 6 to 12 years old kids that Rich Pay organised as part of his Future Agency initiative. I haven’t done any workshop with kids of that age before, and that was a particularly nice experience.
One particular thing struck me. That many ideas were not about new incredible ways to play, but in finding ways to avoid doing all those tasks that prevent them to play, or at least to rethink them to be more fun. A faster way to cook and eat, automatic tooth-brushing, a more playful bath, etc.
In light of what Adam Greenfield argues in the essay I mention below, that as contemporary society has lost the purpose of leisure there’s no longer much use for the time freed by home-automation, is very reassuring to see kids that like Silicon Valley designers, also invent time-saving devices. But the kids have no doubts about their objective: having as much fun as possible, as often as possible.
1. Instant Archetypes (2018)
Speculative design studio Superflux and researcher Paul Graham Raven have created a tarot deck that replaces the traditional Major Arcana cards with the Empress, the Hierophant and the Chariot with contemporary figures such as the Consumer, the Market, the Disruption, the Hacker.
They’ve already successfully reached their funding goal, but it’s still possible to get the cards until 19th November (10:00 am GMT).
2. Home Futures contribution by Adam Greenfield (2018)
Adam Greenfield wrote an essay for the Home Futures catalogue, an exhibition about present and past visions of the home of the future in the Design museum in London (which I’m really hoping to go visit soon).
He has an interesting point in arguing that although the current Smart Home is still aiming to the same objectives of efficiency and labour-saving of the past future homes visions, we might have lost the purpose of these objectives.
Precisely what was it that the proud owners of these gleaming new labor-saving appurtenances were being freed for? For much of the twentieth century, the canonical answer would have been “leisure time”
But for all of that, the leisurely future we were promised failed to arrive on schedule. In fact, it didn’t materialize at all; if anything, “leisure,” in the creaky, Affluent Society sense of the word anyway, is a thing that scarcely exists anymore, for almost any one of us.
For a cohort who experiences even the time spent preparing and enjoying a meal as an intolerable interruption of their availability for work, homelife itself is a burden. [..] And this leads directly to the culmination of this entire line of thinking: the suspicion that the most efficient of all possible homes may very well be no home at all.
3. Forensic Architecture - Design of the Year 2018 (2018)
Design of the year winner is Forensic Architecture’s Counter Investigations exhibition. Brilliant work.
The research agency is based at Goldsmiths University in London, from where it uses a range of research techniques to expose miscarriages of justice by piecing together strands of evidence across various disciplines.
Its work uses footage from news coverage, videos shot on smartphones, satellite images, as well as maps and fragments of other evidence are subject to architectural analysis. From these many strands of data, Forensic Architecture creates detailed 3D reconstructions, to identify a clear picture of events in cases where information is disputed.
The exhibition for which they won the award included investigations into a murder in Kassel, Germany by a member of a far-right group, and the failings of state agencies that contributed to the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean.