Design and Futures
Design is future-oriented in very practical ways, but I’m even more interested in forms of design that approach the future as a space for rethinking and challenging existing eco-socio-technical conditions. I’m curious about speculative design, ontological approaches to futuring, thinking counterfactually, and about the cultural circulation of concepts such as future-proofing.
I served as a guest editor for the journal Futures‘ 50th Anniversary special issue, and wrote the chapter on speculative design in the revised edition of the Delft Design Guide. Spending time with my Disruptive Imaginings friends helps me think about how the arts, design and strategic foresight can create a more sustainable world.
Interactive Media and Sustainability
In my book, Interactive Media for Sustainability (Palgrave, 2018), as the editor of the Sustainability in (Inter)action forum in the ACM magazine, Interactions (between 2018 and 2021), and through my involvement with the HCI and Sustainability interest group, I am exploring the role interactive media can play in promoting sustainability. I approach design as a form of worldmaking, and ask how it may provide users with the means to rediscover and develop their capacity to affect the deep cultural structures that influence how they perceive and act on sustainability.
Similar questions motivated my postdoctoral research, where I was involved in Sustainability in an Imaginary World: a project and multimedia experience that reconsider the potentiality implied in sustainability in ways that get ‘behind the science’ and are imaginative and meaningful. Read more about it in the article published in Ecology & Society.
Civic Media, Smart Cities and Urban Imaginaries
Smart cities are one of the most visible terrains upon which contemporary technopolitics are waged. In my research I approach smart city technologies as models of future urban governance and expressions of competing urban imaginaries. I have written about the smart city as a sociotechnical imaginary in Science, Technology, & Human Values, and work with students on speculative design projects that question modes of citizenship implied by the smart city.
I have recently completed a small project titled How to Trip Over Data (in collaboration with Richard Vijgen) that sought to render smart city technologies more visible. Richard developed it into an exhibition for Dutch Design Week (2017). In a follow-up project in collaboration with V2_Lab for Unstable Media and the City of Rotterdam, I am looking for new foundations for the design of urban sensors more sensitive to local urban imaginaries.
You can find a list of my publications here.